Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Challenge of Applying New Literacies in the Classroom

In A New Literacies Sampler, in the chapter entitled "New Literacies", Cynthia Lewis makes a valid point that I believe supports what we are doing in this class. She says that in "the world of education (policies and systems more than individual teachers) has not shifted mindsets in line with those described in this book’s opening chapter. Through professional development, teachers receive training in curricular uses of technology, but they do not learn about new mindsets, identities, and practices that come with new technologies, forms of communication, and economic flows." I think that is what we are learning in this class; how to use technology in connection with the new mindsets, identities, and practices of our students.

I know that I am hesitant to use a lot of what we have learned with my students. I am likely to infuse technology as a way to present information. However, I rarely allow the students to use the technologies and new literacies that they know and use in their life and work outside of school with the content that we are studying in school. I know that I am wrong for not trying, but I find it hard to incorporate new technologies without having the time to teach the students how to use them. I also find school districts to be hypocritical when they state their support for the use of technology in the classroom. Although they claim to support the use of new technologies, they do not always provide teachers with the means to do so or the time to do so effectively.

Something that I am going to try to do this year is to create a blog for my classes for a midterm exam review. I am going to require that the students post at least one question, suggestion, or fact and respond to at least one post. The purpose of the blog will be to serve as a large study group. Many of my students live far from each other, so it is difficult for them to get together after school. If they are able to study together in the form of a blog they will be able to help each other with content or concepts that they are unsure of. I will also participate in the blog in order to clarify any inaccurate information that is passed along and also to answer any questions that are still unanswered when it gets close to the end of the review period.

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