Manual Reading, Language, and Literacy: Instruction for the Twenty-first Century

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Or perhaps I did, but not necessarily with the theme of the emails. I asked them what they learned, and they talked about the ways they did not succeed but that they learned about personal growth, understanding their limits, and their need to work on time-management skills. Some talked about how they switched their topics mid-summer and that it was hard to find an accomplishment within two scopes. This, in and of itself, was an accomplishment. She raised over dollars as a part of this organization to help the people in Orlando touched by this tragedy.

These intangibles ranged from overcoming and making progress with personal issues such as anxiety and depression to becoming self-aware of personal stress-relief and time-off needs.

Reading, Language, and Literacy: Instruction for the Twenty-First Century.

I found myself asking why students felt like these were not accomplishments. Sure, products are accomplishments we can touch and feel, but intangibles are not easily forgotten and left to collect dust. I had asked students to blog each week reflecting on their progress.


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Students had less than a week to choose their topics. Perhaps this was a good thing—snap decisions that led students to their passions and interests outside of education. I do think the process of choosing whatever they wanted was overwhelming. Most of the feedback I got from the project was that it was terrifying at first but then ended up being very inspiring, engaging, and fun.

Blogging and sharing their project progress allowed them to nurture cross-cultural communications that are available to them on the Internet. Creating the TED talks got students involved in moviemaking, production, and multimedia. Technology is not the goal—it is the tool used to reach the goal. Ultimately, this is what 21st century literacy is all about.

Would I do this project again? I learned a lot about my own philosophies, my students, and technology skills through this project. In fact, I think it is important to embark on some learning journeys together with students, and this is a great way to do that. I thought about the third-grade classroom I recently left where chalkboards had been replaced ten or more years previously with white boards and dry-erase markers and where I piloted the newer interactive whiteboard two years previous and that were in the process of being installed.

Not my favorite way to spend tech dollars- but more on that for another post. As I continue to explore technology-rich learning environments that mobile technologies afford and that many students access in their lives outside of school, there is often some pushback by both faculty and our preservice teachers such as the one I mentioned above.

We might also hear that if we provide them a good foundation of content and pedagogy, the schools will support their technology integration development. The rub here is that principals expect, or hope, that we will send them new teachers that are comfortable and competent not only with technology tools and applications, but also with pedagogically sound practices in the implementation of technology.

Additionally, practicing teachers say they are given devices with little to no instruction as to how to support high levels of student learning and engagement, and, as always, little time to explore and figure it out. And there is little to no talk about transforming learning. So, what is our responsibility as faculty who prepares future teachers? It continues to look like an add-on if we leave it to someone else. We live in a transitory time in which we strive to prepare teachers for classrooms neither they nor we experienced. The Internet alone has transformed how we access and consider new information, and Web 2.

How is our thinking about teaching and learning changing in light of these new tools? Do we see it as an add-on and siloed- reserved as an event for the computer lab. Mobile means anywhere and anytime.


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What are we doing to rethink what we do in this type of environment? Preservice teachers report that what they see and experience with their university professors in their preparation coursework and mentor teachers in the field have the most influence on their practice Blackboard, We have a responsibility to them to model an explorative, responsive, and inquiry-based stance of teaching while supporting them in content knowledge and concept attainment- just as they will do in their classrooms.

The lecture series began with a graduate student poster presentation and, after Dr. Morrell, Dr. The topic of the lecture series was literacy and urban education in the 21st century. At one point in his keynote address, Dr. Morrell contrasted this posture with what teachers often experience in a classroom — students who learn back in their chairs, complacently unmotivated and disengaged. Students in the tiger crouch, he said, are ready for learning. This idea of the tiger crouch hit a cord with many of the attendees at the lecture series. As I spoke with practicing and preservice teachers afterward, many of them brought up the concept of the tiger crouch.

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I found this interesting because as these current and future teachers began talking about the tiger crouch and about helping their students develop 21st century literacies, I noticed that they began leaning in with excitement and purpose, eager to implement the teaching ideas they had gleaned from the lecture series. These teachers has assumed the tiger crouch position.

As I spoke with attendees, scrolled through the tweets from the lecture series, and read the reflections my students wrote about hearing Dr. Morrell, I continued to see this pattern. Everyone was encouraged, inspired, and excited. Everyone was in the tiger crouch position. Morrell spoke about developing powerful literacies in the 21st century classroom, but his talk did much more than just provide teaching ideas.

His talk brought hope and encouragement to worn-out teachers and inspiration and excitement to students ready to embark on their teaching internships.

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This makes me wonder if 21st century literacies and education are about more than simply literacies, skills, standards, and policies. What if 21st century literacies is about getting both teachers and students into the tiger crouch position — about bringing new life and a new perspective to the concepts of literacy and education and bringing in new subject matter and practices to the classroom?

As I saw at the lecture series, perhaps the first step in motivating students to the tiger crouch position is to make sure that teachers are in this position as well. How can we encourage and motivate the teachers around us? How can we share ideas and collaborate with one another?

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How can we re-invigorate our thinking and our teaching? The lecture series served as one great method for achieving many of these goals. Teachers and students were encourages and excited as they listened to Dr.

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Morrell, spoke with graduate students about their research, and asked questions during the panel discussion. The power of the event, however, lies in not simply these actions but in how the ideas and practices discussed live on in the classroom, in research, and in future professional development events. Furthermore, what ARE activities that can be considered authentic, participatory, and engaging, and how do I anticipate engagement and authenticity that require almost spontaneous exploration of ideas and concepts?

As a 21st century literacy skills researcher, this is a common question that I ask myself. As Morrell et al.

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However, there has to be an element of assignment that initiates a critical activity. I cannot ask my students to engage critically with flipped classrooms, for example, without first assigning them to create one. But by doing that, I am, essentially, asking them to produce a source of media with the anticipation of a critical thinking process behind it, but not necessarily always the outcome.

All I suppose I can ask of myself as a teacher, then, is to provide enough focus as to create a boundary for exploration, and yet enough flexibility to allow for an authentic investigation that has a certain element of intrinsic motivation linked to it; a desire to know without the forcefulness to create without meaning.

Morrell et al. There is one project that I am anticipating this semester that I feel may help me reach this equilibrium between assigning a digital task and students creating an authentic product. This assignment in my methods class this semester is a TED talk in which students are actively engaged in research on a topic of interest to them hence, flexibility and motivation.

Additionally, I anticipate, in conjunction with a colleague here at FSU, to have students engage in a mock interview digitally. This is a different form of digital production that I feel is necessary yet wholly unauthentic. This assignment allows them to reflect on how they did by watching the video themselves, and allows us to watch the video together and discuss suggestions. By using technology in this form as a tool, rather than a literacy practice, which is typically a warning we instructors receive from educational research NOT to do, we harness the vast options that we are given with the use of the tool digitally that we do not have face-to-face.

Perhaps it is important then to identify which purposes and what forms of evaluation we need to keep explorative and authentic, and which forms of evaluation can utilize the uniqueness of a digital tool to add value to a classroom product, even if not an authentic literacy-rich experience for the student. This is one of the questions that I am excited to ask Dr. Morrell about in person, and hope to begin a dialogue on the 21st century initiative about—how do you create an authentic critical media production without, essentially, forcing the matter, and, is there value to using a digital tool for the tool itself?

Kuh, G. Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Land, R. Threshold concepts within the disciplines.