Summer Institute in Digital Literacy 2017 - Days 1 & 2

This week I am fortunate to be attending the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy at the University of Rhode Island Media Education Lab.  I have already met so many passionate K-12 educators, librarians, and higher education faculty from around the world. The official description of the six-day institute states,  

This six-day institute focuses on how literacy is changing as a result of emerging media and technologies. We'll consider the implications of this cultural and technological shift for teaching and learning. Join us in exploring innovative approaches now being used by K-12 educators, librarians, and college and university faculty. You will learn how to conduct project-based inquiry using a variety of digital texts, tools and technologies, which will help create challenging and engaging learning opportunities for you and your students.  

Truth be told, it was not that description that convinced me to ask my district to support my attendance, it was my neighbor.  Amanda Murphy was walking her dog one day and we started talking about school.  Amanda is a high school teacher in Westerly, She didn't just mention this program, she raved about it - who raves about 6 summer days at school?   I walked back in to my house and immediately looked up the program.  

So here I am on days 1 & 2 and I hope to post a little each day about what we are learning.

Sunday afternoon, we met at the Hotel Providence for a meet & greet and an overview of the program.  

I thought my first post here would be very savvy definitions of media literacy, information literacy and digital literacy.  I learned in the first 5 minutes there would be no specific definition handed to us.  Literacy refers to competencies - the ability to understand, use dna create.  The list below shows the different types of literacies how literacies have evolved as

Print Literacy
Visual Literacy
Information Literacy
Media Literacy
Computer Literacy
Critical Literacy
News Literacy
Digital Literacy 

There are many components to Digital Literacy which I am excited to learn about this week.

We  also discussed our Digital Literacy Motivation Profile which is an interesting quiz you can take.  I was a DeMystifier, which even without taking the quiz I knew as soon as I saw critical thinking skills in the description. 

Monday morning began with a welcome from Dr. Anthony Rolle the Dean of the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies, University of Rhode Island.  

Commissioner Ken Wagner from the Rhode Island Department of Education spoke about the need to update our education system, to preserve best practices but to find new ways to provide rigor in challenge both related to technology and not.  The biggest challenge is equity.   Teaching students about information, what is information, educational content, resources students are learning from and how to manage information.  He received a round of applause when he stated there is "No such thing as alternative facts."  He stated the need for ambassadors, people with wisdom to help navigate and guide fellow educators, students and families through chartered and unchartered waters of what is real, not real and how to identify perspectives.  

Julie Coiro from the University of Rhode Island and Jill Castek from the University of Arizona provided the keynote with Personal Inquiry and Online Research: Connecting Learners in Ways That Matter.  They made the distinction between Personalized Learning vs Personal Learning.  

Personalized Learning is a top down design tailored or tailored approach, customized for each student but controlled by teacher or system restaurant.  For example, choose from a menu when you got to a restaurant but you cannot choose a menu item from another restaurant.  pick from THAT menu, not from the restaurant next door.  Based on what we think children name.  

Personal Learning is something human where the learner initialed and controls parts or all of the learning process, often emerges from engagement with others about one's personal wonderings and building relationships in the process.

Curiosity & Relationships As educators design inquiry experiences we were reminded that digital literacy sits at core of everything.  The driving questions when creating these learning experiences should include:
  • What will my students know understand and be able to do?
  • How will my students be actively engaged and to what end?
  • Which digital tools work and in what ways?
Coiro described classroom cultures that value curiosity and honors student voices while encouraging choice, collaboration, problem solving, risk taking and reflection as a key to success.

In the presentation, they provided student examples.  One of the practices that I found intriguing was the use of a webcam and Screencasity for students to record their thought process in chooseing keywords and selecting search results.  This may be an interesting way to show growth in lessons about hwo to search, evaluating resources and using databases, recording student before and after lessons.

The breakout sessions were the most useful part of the day for me.  We were given a variedy of choices to learn more about a specif topic.

I chose  has Love Language - The Power of Creativity Under Constraints by Yonty Friesem.
You may purchase these for your students.
I appreciated being on the student side of this conversation as after watching the Love Language video and trying to answer key questions of media literacy.  As a student I found the questions difficult as I did not have them prior to watching.  It reminded me of the importance of providing the students the questions before watching OR watching twice, prior to and after having the questions to look for.  Friesem really dug into this seemingly very simple video as we discussed target audience and unintended audiences and the cultural understandings. 

I appreciate that in Friesem's media creation class he GAVE students the storyboard as students were learning the media creation process based on this video.  This reminded me that while inquiry and personal learning is important, it is critical that we teach students basic skills with a guided process before expecting them to personalize their learning.  

Padlet - More than Just an Online Bulletin Board by Jennifer Robinson.  While I have some experience with Padlet, this gave me ideas about how to include media as well.  I had hoped to incorporate Padlet in to my lessons this year but had focused on the GAFE suite as that was new to us.  I also chose to use PearDeck as an alternative to PearDeck because of its ability to use with Google Slides.  I do plan to utilize Padlet in the year ahead. 

The rest of the afternoon we discussed the Design Studio and our Dyad Projects.  Today we partnered with an educator who wanted to create a similar inquiry based project.  
My hope for tomorrow for more ideas to use with my students.  I also plan to get a SnapChat watch out SnapChatters!


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