Thursday, February 23, 2006

And now for something different......

In an attempt to bridge the digital divide, the 'No Child Left Behind' policy also turned into a campaign for back to basics literacy and standardised testing.

From the Jamie Mckenzie website, with help from Jerry King and

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Supporting Literacy with Technology

In 1995 Nicholas Negroponte (founder and director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab) wrote 'Being Digital', in which he said:
Computing is not about computers. It is about life....... We are discussing a fundamental cultural change: Being digital is not just being a geek or Internet surfer or mathematically savvy child. It is actually a way of living and is going to impact absolutely everything. The way you work, the way you study, the way you amuse yourself, the way you communicate among your friends, with your kids......Personal computers will make our future adult population simultaneously more mathematically able and more visually literate. Ten years from now, teenagers are likely to enjoy a much richer panorama of options because the pursuit of intellectual achievement will not be tilted so much in favor of the bookworm, but instead cater to a wider range of cognitive styles, learning patterns, and expressive behaviors.

In 2006 we are continuing to struggle with what being digital means in terms of education and literacy. Our classrooms have not changed fundamentally for decades but our students and the potential to radically alter our educational approach has. All we need to do is realise this and become aware of the potential of educational technology to support learning.

In an international school such as ours (International School Dhaka, Bangladesh) we also struggle with cultural issues to do with literacy and understanding. We 'deliver' instruction in English to second language learners and search for better and improved ways to integrate digital tools to help us do this.
Here are some tools and online resources that are worth investigating with the purpose of exploring the topic of 21st century literacies and of finding resources to help educators in the classroom.
I encourage all educators to explore the above resources and others as you find them and continue to plan for experiential learning that uses multimedia and online opportunities to improve literacy in all of its facets. It will take creativity and it will take planning on the part of the teachers and there is not a one-size-fits-all solution in the form of a magical computer program that does it all. However, I believe, it is our responsibility.

By the way, you must read what David Warlick has to say in his Act Like a Native post this week. He concludes with:
You may say, “but who’s going to teach me to do that?” That’s an immigrant question. Natives teach themselves. They work with each other to grow their knowledge and skills. We’ve got to figure this out!


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Digital Literacy: The discussion continues

At our Secondary School teaching staff meeting this week discussion became lively concerning the topic of Prensky's notion of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. We started to look at the implications for educators, the responsibility we have to adjust, as necessary, our content and methodology to cater for the digital literacy needs of the 21st century. We listened to a podcast between myself and Sam about teaching and what teachers could be aiming for.

We considered the need to not overlook basic literacies and to develop awareness and integration of information literacies using digital technologies in the teaching and learning process. We do not have the answers to all of the questions posed at this meeting, we are already struggling with time constraints and other daily issues in a school that are not conducive to exploring new territories and ideas in education, particularly if they threaten our comfort zone. Despite the words 'digital' and 'technology' still continuing to be alien to many educators in terms of how to create a curriculum focused but integrated program that enhances learning outcomes for all, as a teaching faculty it is encouraging that we do set aside time to explore and develop our 21st century approach.

The following resources provide further reading and exploration on this topic. I challenge all educators to keep exploring, pondering and discussing this vital topic as it is not going to go away and we will see major changes in education as the digital natives start to become more powerful as adults.

Just to get you started.........
The enGauge website states:
The following skill clusters, when considered within the context of rigorous academic standards, are intended to provide the public, business and industry, and educators with a common understanding of—and language for discussing—what is needed by students, citizens, and workers in the Digital Age.

Digital-Age Literacy

  • Basic, scientific, economic, and technological literacies
  • Visual and information literacies
  • Multicultural literacy and global awareness

Inventive Thinking

  • Adaptability and managing complexity
  • Self-direction
  • Curiosity, creativity, and risk taking
  • Higher-order thinking and sound reasoning

Effective Communication

  • Teaming, collaboration, and interpersonal skills
  • Personal, social, and civic responsibility
  • Interactive communication

High Productivity

  • Prioritizing, planning, and managing for results
  • Effective use of real-world tools
  • Ability to produce relevant, high-quality product
Finally, have at look at this great blog for teachers and blogging and education called Blogging Ballet
I look forward, as usual, to your comments on this eLearning blog.