The Evolution of K-12 Media Literacy Education
By Michael Haran 11/18/2014 (This article is an assignment abstract from EDCT 552, Dr. Maryanne Berry, SSU, MA-CTL) The article (Learning, Media and Technology, 2007, Media education goes digital: an introduction, David Buckingham, University of London, UK) is a continuation of the analysis of the evolution of the pedagogy of media literacy. Considering that this book was written in 2007 parts of it should be considered an historic view of not only the concepts of teaching medial literacy but also the practical application of the phenomenon. The introductory statement, “This editorial introduction provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities presented to media educators by the advent of digital technologies,” is, in itself antiquated as the seven years since this article was written leaves the term “advent” far from being an advent. Innovative educators have not only incorporated many of the concepts put forth in this article but have also moved these observations to the next generation of media literacy implementation. The so called “digital divide” does not longer refer to student activities in and out of the classroom but now means access to the internet and the advanced technological tools used in that access. Although some teachers still remain resistant to the technological evolution of the classroom online education is being driven by the “customers” of this product – the students. A “top-down” study of the medial education is useless as the only way to incorporate technological advances in education is from the student’s point of view – that is, from the bottom-up. Although technological access is still evolving as with the federal E-Rate program of providing broadband inclusion in all classrooms, many tech-savvy teachers are moving forward by self-educating themselves (as in self-professional development) about the available free online curriculum and applications that captivate their students in exciting and provocative education ways. I take exception to Buckingham’s assertation “Now that the initial euphoria surrounding computers in schools has begun to wear thin, we need to look more closely at what children need to learn about these digital media.” I agree that we do need to look more closely at what children need to learn about “these” digital media (that is an on-going effort) but the euphoria surrounding computer technology in K-12 is greater than ever. I do agree that media education, as well as technology education should be an educational prerequisite as today’s youth will be navigating their adult world through technological filters. Soon people will not be able to use a public bathroom without having a basic understanding of technological applications. Accordingly, no matter what interest the student has, computer and interactive media literacy should be an educational prerequisite like reading and writing. It’s interesting to read about Buckingham’s advice about “equipping students to understand and to critique these media” and “not simply regard them as neutral means of delivering information.” The High Tech High and Quest to Learn schools must have read his book as they have both implemented this advice. Both school’s philosophy incorporates student critical media literacy that goes well beyond a training in how to operate hardware or software. What Quest to Learn is doing is taking kids “use of computers in the home are massively dominated by video games” and developing a curriculum that channels the addictive nature of these video...read more
Digital Learning in the K-12 Classroom
A Collaborative Paper By: Michael Haran Jennifer Poovey Christine Cook November 17, 2014 (This paper is an assignment from EDCT 552, Dr. Maryanne Berry, SSU, MA – CTL) It may still be developing but K-12 online learning is here to stay. The MacArthur Foundation sponsored “Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project” and Jessica Parker’s “Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids: Bringing Digital Media into the Classroom, Grades 5-12” both take a look at how education technology and media literacy are impacting contemporary K-12 education. The primary focus of both writings is on the comparison of digital learning inside and outside the classroom and how both educators and parents can not only rethink pedagogical applications but also support this new learning methodology as they themselves are coming to grips with the concept of the youth driven participatory culture. The MacArthur Foundation study (http://digitallearning.macfound.org or its YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/macfound) was led by two primary research questions: How are new media being integrated into youth practices and agendas? How do these practices change the dynamics of youth-adult negotiations over literacy, learning, and authoritative knowledge? In Parker’s concluding chapter she again brings up her “Three Tough Questions:” 1. What does learning look like in the 21st century? 2. What does literacy look like in the 21st century? 3. What is knowledge in the 21st century? Although she offers no model or blueprint to answer these questions what she does do is present contemporary environments in K-12 education where these issues are being addressed and dealt with. The MacArthur Foundation Study Contemporary social media, such as social network sites, online games, video-sharing sites, and gadgets such as iPods and mobile phones are now fixtures of youth culture, are becoming one of the primary “institutions” of peer culture for U.S. teens, occupying the role that was previously dominated by the informal hanging out spaces of the school, mall, home, or street. It is critical that schools now look for way to incorporate social media into the formal learning process. Online learning will be the primary form of post-formal education for most people so schools should be obligated to not only teach the proper use of social media but also integrate it into all forms of academic training, This requires a culture shift that allows and encourages experimentation and social exploration that is traditionally not characteristic of educational institutions. It is encouraging to note that the MacArthur study found many instances of media production programs and parents supporting these activities. Since every generation wants to forge their own identity it is important to recognize that any change to K-12 instruction and curriculum has to start with a look at what’s going on at, so to speak, ground zero. Education decision makers which include administrators, teachers and parents, have to work from the “bottom up.” The implementation can be from the “top down” but the instruction materials have to be designed from the bottom up in order for the students to embrace learning as their own. Online networks are now used by kids to extend the relationships established at their school, extracurricular activities and church and to explore interests and find information that goes beyond what they have access to at school or the local and school libraries. Youth...read more
Education Technology – A Primer
This article is an abstract from SSU EDUC 571, Dr. Paula Lane, Capstone Research Assignment Education Technology What is education technology? Quite simply it’s the use of technology to educate. Not to be confused with technology education, which teaches the use of technology, education technology is the infrastructure, both hardware and software, that’s used in today’s modern classroom to facilitate the education of students. This included both in class (synchronistic) and distance (asynchronistic) learning. Any technology cannot be understood apart from the patterns of its use. At first, people thought only of using new technologies for already well-established social purposes. Soon, the interaction of people and technology created new social practices—the telephone, for example, broke down long-established boundaries between the private world of the family and the public world of the community. Examining that moment in history invites us to consider the roles of technologies in public schools today, at a time when digital technologies are still new in teaching and learning and the patterns of their use still tentative and unsettled. (Maloy, R. W., et al 2010) p. 81) Technology should be an everyday tool supporting curricular goals and teachers need to be clear about the fact that they are not “teaching technology.” The best courseware, software designed for educational program use, promotes understanding of curricular concepts and standards and is research-based. Computer-based technology in K-12 education should be used as a means to achieve learning goals and not as goal in itself. Technology is most powerful when students and teachers take advantage of its sophistication and versatility to support higher-order thinking and conceptualizing (Ringstaf, et al., (2002) Pg. 1). Technology also has the ability to enhance administrative, teacher and student capabilities and performance, especially for those students who lack access to technology outside of school (Fox, C., et al. (2009) pg.1). The role of computer and communication technology in education has combined to create a revolution that has touched every aspect of our homes, workplaces, and schools. Technology not only allows us to do old jobs in new ways, but also can be used to do things in education that were until now impossible. We have now the opportunity to use technology in ways that are devoted to the premise that all K-12 students are capable of learning, even using different pathways. The effective use of technology in education requires the time needed to develop and refine strategies until they are proven to work. The key technological element of the past fifty years has been the exponential growth of our access to information. (Thornburg, D. D., 1999). Teachers and students are only beginning to realize how new technologies can transform education. Rapid access to information online creates never-before-possible teaching and learning opportunities. People in every K-12 school can view, hear, and read materials that were previously only available to scholars. Sooner than expected, every teacher and student will be able to be an e-teacher and an e-student, learning with combinations of paper and electronic materials (Maloy, R. W., et al 2010 p. 67. However, many entrepreneurs in K-12 believe technology can solve all education’s problems, but don’t work to understand those problems before prescribing technology to solve them. That frustrates educators and can be a recipe for failure for fledgling K=12 companies (Tomassini, J., 2012 Pg. 1)....