Phew! Finished chapters one and two of DIGITAL LITERACY last night and my head is full, full, full!
First, I'm thinking about AUTHENTICITY-- the ways I use digital literacy in my life and the opportunities I provide for my students. I am a digital reader, I think, but really only kind of. A typical day for me starts with reading the Bible. I go back and forth between doing reading a plain old-fashioned hard cover Bible and reading online. I really want to be focused on being still before God and quieting myself to go out into the day in a good way. For that reason, and because I have a tendency to be a little distractible, sometimes reading on paper works better. At the same time, there are definite advantages to reading online. I can read in different versions of the Bible. I can check out references to other verses. I can dip into commentaries if I want or need to know or understand more. Sometimes I type out a verse or two, and mess with it almost like I would a found poem, breaking the lines, emphasizing or repeating different words, etc. All of those strategies help me to understand at a much deeper level.
As I head into the day, I'm online constantly. This morning, I read CNN and 9news to see what is going on in the world. I read email. I connected with a friend who is helping her mom move to assisted living. I connected with a colleague about some work we had done together. I read a couple of my favorite blogs. I checked Twitter to see what people were saying the day after Nerd Camp. I did a mapquest search to figure out how to get to a 9:00 appointment. After that meeting, I will head to my school, where we will use google docs to take notes as we interview a couple of teacher candidates I'll read and respond to student work for a class I am teaching this summer. Later on, I will use Duolingo to practice my Spanish. And I'm sure I will spend some time on social media. Basically, I use technology all day every day for connecting with friends, family, and colleagues near and far, to stay current about what's going on in the world, for research, for writing, for learning new things…For me, those are all authentic uses of the computer.
I want my students to have those same authentic opportunities. However, I teach in a large urban district. The free and reduced lunch rate at my school is about 90%. About 50% of my students are English Language Learners. Many of them, however, don't have working computers or internet at home, nor do their families have the funds to procure those resources. We have a computer lab at school (yeah, I know that is a controversial topic) and we also have several carts of Apple laptops, which are used constantly, but we definitely don't have a 1-1 situation. It's a constant battle to get a computer cart. Many, maybe even most of our students do have cell phones and lots of those are smart phones, but at this point, administrators at my school are not open to students having their cell phones in class. Sibberson and Bass suggest that to be digitally literate, our students must have a deep understanding of a variety of tools, as well as understand how the tools work, and what tools might be best for a specific task (6). Later on they assert, "It's about changing the ways we think about interacting with ideas and content. It's about giving students opportunities to use the tools as part of their daily routines and to become independent and flexible in their reading lives (23) and how they can become independent and flexible and develop deep understandings if they don't even have ACCESS to computers.
Finally, I'm thinking about EXPERTISE, or maybe lack of expertise, specifically my own. I'm blown away when I see the things that my professional learning community do with technology- the variety tools they use, the presentations they create, the different formats they employ. While I think I'm reasonably savvy on the computer, I don't do any of those things. I don't own a smart phone or a digital camera. I have an iPad that I hardly ever turn on. I don't use Evernote or Pinterest or Instagram or Haiku Deck. I've never made a book trailer. And it feels really overwhelming to figure out where to start. I wonder, then, how I can give kids expertise that I don't have myself. I love the chart on page 10, and also the chart on page 19-20. I wonder if I could just choose one area as a focus for this year and really work hard to improve in that area. Would that be enough?
I have lots and lots of questions tonight. I'm hoping I will have a few more answers by the end of this study!