The past few weeks have each been marked with really exciting opportunities to work alongside teachers as we consider what new literacies pedagogies mean for our teaching. An exciting month… Toronto, Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, New York, Maine — and in each place, with each group there is something comforting (and, in all honesty, increasingly challenging) in knowing that we’re all thinking deeply and intentionally about how we leverage new tools to help engage the learners with whom we work.
As much as I learn from setting up, facilitating and engaging in the discussion that workshops and face to face sessions open up, my learning jumped into an entirely new place yesterday. And, I get increasingly excited as I continue to think on it…
While preparing my remarks for a literacy institute at Fordham University, I started my computer, fired up my wireless, and, as I do now out of habit, fired up Twitter. I’d known that NECC was this week (as I’m missing being there and have caught more than enough flack that my schedule wouldn’t allow for me to be there), but really “knew” that something was happening as my TweetDeck “overfloweth.”
With a partial eye on what was happening in the room and some attention on the slides I was receiving ahead of my talk, my attention was captivated by the stream of content coming out of the EduBloggerCon 2009.
I was able to attend sessions without ever stepping foot in the room – and it was dizzying. Where I’ve had instances of these experiences in the past, I’ve never had such an onslaught of immersive media and discussions. I found myself viewing a ustream feed, tweeting and receiving tweets, following discussions in coveritlive, viewing pics shared in flickr — and was literally swimming in resources, discussions, perspective, and ideas. As a learner, I found myself “in the zone” or in a state of “flow.”
I “sat in on” three sessions over the course of the day – a couple of hours of content that continued to push and challenge my thinking as I spent subsequent hours making meaning with and exploring what I learned. Robust. I have many, many questions (some that I hope you can help me consider and others that I’m hoping my continued “participation” in the fuller conference this week – while in Maine this time – will begin to explore).
I want my students to be engaged in interest-driven, participatory learning. I want them “immersed” and swimming with the same giddiness and flow that I was feeling. Was my learning a result of the combination of my specific network (of experts), the tools which brought content and the dialogue which wrapped around it straight to me, and the questions/goals that I brought to the interaction — or was it something else? How do I use that experience to inform my pedagogy? What kinds of scaffolds do kids need to be able to move through the multiple data streams (or do they need them at all)? And, the question I’m mulling over now… was I engaging in new literacy practices or simply using familiar literacy practices within a different learning space?
One thing IS certain. I’ll be following closely over the days to come…