Saturday, February 28, 2009

Literacy 2.0 (March issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership)

The March issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership magazine is devoted to Literacy in a 2.0 world.

Copyright Lesson Plans (School Library Journal)

School Library Journal reports: a series of five lessons, created by the American Library Association, and specifically designed for media specialists who teach students in grades six to eight is now available online.

Friday, February 27, 2009

E-Readers: Future of Reading & Consuming Books/Magazines/News?

Hearst plans to introduce a large-format device this year based on electronic-ink technology. Hearst exec Kenneth Bronfin says that e-readers "will be a big part of our future." Previously, Amazon released Kindle 2- an update on its original "e reader" device.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writing In The 21st Century

Writing in the 21st Century, is a new report by Kathleen Blake Yancey, NCTE Past President and writing researcher and writing faculty member, Florida State University, which discusses writing in school, the workplace, and civic society (see also the Feb. 17, 2009, press release, Writing Today Is Everybody's Business). eSchool News also reports on its release.

In a related story, this newspaper's copy editor worries that student writing has already been affected by their social networking habits.

Conference Advocates Cell Phone Use In Education

Educators, policymakers and wireless industry leaders are all touting the potential of cell phone's in education as a result of the recently concluded Mobile Learning Conference 2009 (MLC09) in Washington, D.C. Advocates were there to discuss the promising future of educational technology in America and the key role the application of cellular technology and devices can play in helping kids learn in the classroom.

New Study Says Texting Can Help Develop Language Skills

A new study, published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, suggests that "text speak" could have a positive effect on the way children interact with language, rather than harming literacy. The research found that not only are textisms positively associated with word reading ability, it is likely they even contribute to reading development. More details here.

Free Summer Institute for Journalism Educators

ASNE, the American Association of Newspaper Editors, offers two weeks of FREE journalism training for high school teachers that takes place over the summer, with the generous funding of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Even in this wrenching economic climate, there's no cost to teacher or school. The deadline is March 2, so please forward this note and link ( to a teacher whose professional, ethical and technical skills and will be sharpened and shared with thousands of teens.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Helping Teachers Get Up To Speed on Tech/ Ipod Touch in The Classroom

From The New York Times: new-media experts will met with San Francisco Unified School District teachers to train them on the technology offered by Google, MySpace, CNET, YouTube and Technorati -- sites with which their students are already familiar. Officials said the hope is that teachers learn to use more technology in their lessons and provide students with additional opportunities to learn. A North Carolina newspaper reports: Students in the AVID program at Culbreth Middle School are using iPod Touch devices to complete Internet research, take class notes and practice math skills. One teacher said he was skeptical of the 4-ounce devices at first, but then found videos online that he says enhance student learning.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Social websites harm children's brains: Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientist

From the UK comes this story: social networking websites are causing alarming changes in the brains of young users, an eminent scientist has warned. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centred. The claims from neuroscientist Susan Greenfield will make disturbing reading for the millions whose social lives depend on logging on to their favourite websites each day.

Should cell phones replace computers?

Here's another of those headlines that should read "WHEN WILL cell phone replace computers?" This news story, from Dallas Texas, explores one experiment taking place at a local intermediate school. This project was also profiled in this previous blog post.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Seeing Isn't Always Believing (Deconstructing Media)

The March issue of Cable In The Classroom magazine (available now online ) contains the third part of their Media Smart series on deconstructing media. (The previous parts appeared in the January and February issues)

This third part is all about online information and it would be a good one to have students read-- post a link on your own web site---or include in a parent/teacher newsletter.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Inspiring Interest in Literature with Manga

Angela Youngman looks at how Manga novels might be used to inspire children in school towards an interest in literature. See also this previous post on graphica in education.

Learning With Blogs and Wikis (ASCD Educational Leadership)

Web 2.0 and its implications for learning and professional development. An excerpt: "thousands of accomplished educators are now writing blogs about teaching and learning, bringing transparency to both the art and the science of their practice. In every content area and grade level and in schools of varying sizes and from different geographic locations, educators are actively reflecting on instruction, challenging assumptions, questioning policies, offering advice, designing solutions, and learning together. And all this collective knowledge is readily available for free." See previous post about this topic.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Teachers Teaching Teachers (from ASCD)

Led by a group of tech-savvy classroom educators, Teachers Teaching Teachers hosts weekly webcasts focusing on technology and community building. The panel discussions, archived on the site as podcasts, concentrate on online reading and writing, effective classroom strategies, and various new media. Recent conversations tackle subjects like writing in the digital age and classroom blogging. The self-described motto here is "Keep it real!" and the relaxed and collaborative tone makes this down-to-earth blog stand out.

Video Games in Education (Three Stories)

Three separate entries here. First: AP reports that Microsoft is studying the reactions of avid gamers to see whether video gaming can promote learning skills that carry over to the classroom. Second: Michael Dezuanni is a media literacy educator at Australia's Queensland University of Technology. On his blog he writes about video games as another multi-modal text that teachers should consider using. Last, a related story, a community college associate professor is developing an online program that keeps students engaged while they are learning -- similar to what they experience while playing video games.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Call for proposals: International Visual Literacy Association

Critically Engaging the 21st Century Learner in Visual Worlds and Virtual Environments 41st Annual Conference
International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA)

CALL for PROPOSALS Proposals due: March 21st 2009
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois- USA October 6-9, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Webinar: PBS & Classroom 2.0

PBS Teachers® and Classroom 2.0, with support from Elluminate, are partnering on a series of free monthly webinars designed to help preK-12 educators learn new ways to integrate online instructional resources in the classroom and engage students in curriculum lessons. Coming up February 26: John Palfrey on his book Born Digital. We'll discuss the first generation of “Digital Natives” – children who were born into and raised in the digital world – who are coming of age, and soon our world will be reshaped in their image. More information and how to attend.

Middle School Animation Club Provides Students With Marketable Skills

The St. Petersburg (FL) Times reports on an area middle school where students are getting hands-on animation experience. "The club is making a movie using some of the most advanced animation software around....Indeed, even as the economy struggles, demand is strong for people who can use Flash, 3D Studio Max and other programs that help Web sites, cartoons and movies like Shrek come alive. It's practically college-level material, something rarely offered in high schools, much less middle schools."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Project Uses Cell Phones As Computers in the Classroom

Researchers have developed a software suite that a Texas elementary school is testing that transforms smartphones into virtual PCs. Details here. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports the cellphone industry is supporting increased used of cell phones by students as one way to improve math. But THE Journal reports there is still some resistance to cell phone use in education.

The Drama Will Be Televised

"Theater in the 21st century is not 'To be or not to be,'" said Hamish Tyler , program coordinator for the instructional support and technology department of the Monterey County (CA) Office of Education. "It's television, it's theater, it's film. It's iTunes, it's Vimeo, it's YouTube. And we need to give that opportunity to our kids," he said. Details in this news story.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Learning With Wikis and Blogs

From February's Educational Leadership (ASCD publication): Digital tools, such as blogs and wikis, now make it easy for educators to embrace continual learning. Thousands of accomplished educators are now writing blogs in which they reflect on instruction, challenge assumptions, question policies, offer advice, design solutions, and learn together. All this collective knowledge is readily available for free. Feed readers, also known as aggregators, can automatically check nearly any Web site for new content dozens of times each day, limiting the amount of time spent browsing and customizing learning experiences. Those new to the technology should start by using a feed reader as a learning tool for a few weeks and encourage peers to come on board. Those confident in their writing ability can easily start their own blog using such services as Typepad and Edublogs. And those who want to transition to writing blogs can start by writing wikis using such services as Wikispaces and Wet Paint. A new book by Professor Richard Beach (and others) Teaching Writing Using Blogs, Wikis, and Other Digital Tools is one worth considering for your classroom or school library collection.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Graphica: An Untapped Resource for Media Literacy Education

Commission on Media member Peter Guiterrez presented on this topic at the Comic con meeting. Read more in this School Library Journal blog post. Education Week reports on the recent "Graphica in Education" event at Fordham University and posted a story here (subscription required)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Call for Nominations: NCTE National Media Literacy Teacher Award

The NCTE Commission on Media is proud to announce that it will award the fourth annual Media Literacy Award at the NCTE Annual Convention in Philadelphia. Previous award winners are profiled here. The deadline for applications for the 2009 award is Monday, June 15, 2009. The award winner will be notified by the end of August. The award will be presented at the Assembly of Media Arts Sharing Session at the November NCTE Annual Convention in Philadelphia. To read the submission critieria and other details, click here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

More book titles coming to cell phones

The New York Times reports that in a move that could bolster the growing popularity of e-books, Google said Thursday that the 1.5 million public domain books it had scanned and made available free on PCs were now accessible on mobile devices like the iPhone and the T-Mobile G1. Also Thursday, Amazon said that it was working on making the titles for its popular e-book reader, the Kindle, available on a variety of mobile phones.

Stony Brook (NY) Summer HS News Literacy Institute

The Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy is seeking applications from high school teachers for an innovative two week summer program in News Literacy. News Literacy is an emerging discipline designed to teach students how to use their critical thinking skills to judge the reliability of news reports. Funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation, the Center will select up to 50 fellows for the summer of 2009 to participate in a two-week program that will include a condensed version of the university’s pioneering course in News Literacy, colloquia and interaction with journalism school lecturers and professional journalists. To learn more about the program check the School of Journalism website at:

Candidates must have an interest in the subject, a letter of interest from their school district to develop and teach a News Literacy course and possess strong communication skills. The program will run for two weeks from July 13 to July 24 at the main campus of Stony Brook University. The program will provide lodging and meals, but not transportation costs. On the application indicate whether you are interested in in-house credit for the course or graduate credit. Application and other details posted:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Students shape critical thinking skills with media literacy and media production

In an age becoming increasingly dominated by high technology, students in kindergarten through 12th grade are expected to use emerging technologies as part of their curriculum, according to Cable In The Classroom. A Yuma, Arizona newspaper reports that a middle school video production course is providing the impetus for 21st century learning.

Writing About Media: A Justified Film Lesson Using Ferris Bueller's Day Off

This teacher's blog post explores how using a popular culture text (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) can connect with students and help teach the "language of film." I recently taught some of the "languages of film" when I conducted a workshop at the South Carolina Council of Teachers of English (SCCTE) annual conference: Using Film in The Literature Classroom.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Digital Bookmobile Proves To Be A Hit

In Pasadena, California, the new digital bookmobile is demonstrating how to use the library's online resources, as well as introducing digital immigrants to Web 2.0--giving more people access to resources. Details here.

Hip-Hop Curriculum

Art Sanctuary, a non-profit organization out of North Philadelphia, has compiled an excellent Hip-Hop Curriculum Guide to teach students about writing, reading and critical thinking through an analysis on hip-hop culture. With units on language in context, genre, identity and media literacy, this is one of the most thorough and unique academic approaches to studying hip-hop. Best of all, it’s aligned to standards for language arts and social studies. Read through it and give it a try with your students. Kudos to the folks at Arts Sanctuary for developing this insightful program. Click here to download the PDF.

Create, Collaborate, Communicate: Empowering Students With 21st Century Skills

Speaking at the recent Florida Ed Tech Conference, a noted tech evangelist told participants that if schools are going to be competitive they need to change their curriculum so that it embraces the development and use of 21st century skills. "We need to move away from the traditional classroom, and into an environment where the students are at the center of the stage."
Details in this
THE Journal story.

Top 10 Web 2.0 Tools for Young Learners

Gail Lovely is adamant about the nature and potential of Web-based learning tools. "Web 2.0 is about trust," she said at a recent talk. "It's about sharing and collaborating." And, she insisted, it's about putting the power to learn and create in the hands of the students. Read the list here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Video games lose 'brain drain' stigma in schools

As a coordinator for the Madison County, Mo., truancy program, Brad Paschal doesn't seem like the type of guy who thinks more kids should be playing video games. But recently Paschal had a revelation, reports the North County Journal: Why not embrace the technology and create after-school video game clubs to draw kids to tutoring sessions?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Educators Advocate for Graphic Novels in Class

Jon Sciezska, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for the Library of Congress, promoted the use of educational comics at “Graphica in Education: Graphic Novels Come Out from Under the Desk,” the first academic conference examining graphic novels, co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Education (GSE) and Diamond Distributors.

News Literacy Project Kicks Off

The News Literacy Project, an innovative national program that is bringing journalists into middle schools and high schools to help students learn to sort fact from fiction in the digital age, kicked off Monday with an event featuring CNN’s Soledad O’Brien at the Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn, N.Y. The project will launch additional pilot programs later in February at the Facing History School on Manhattan’s West Side and Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Md.

The New York Times, ABC News, USA Today and the CBS News program “60 Minutes” have enlisted with the project as participating news organizations. Reporters, editors, producers and correspondents from each organization are among more than 75 prominent journalists, including winners of print and broadcast journalism’s most prestigious awards, who have volunteered to serve as fellows. They are listed in the project’s online directory on the project's website.

The journalists will help give students the tools to appreciate the value of quality news coverage and to encourage them to consume and create credible information across all media. Students will learn how to distinguish verified information from unfiltered messages, opinion, advertising and propaganda — whether they are using search engines to find websites on a particular topic, assessing a viral e-mail, watching television news or reading a newspaper.
The project is forging partnerships between active and retired journalists and social studies, history and English teachers. It will focus on the importance of news to young people, the role of the First Amendment and a free media in a democracy and the tools needed to discern reliable information. The project has developed original curriculum materials based on engaging activities and student projects that will build and reflect understanding and critical thinking skills.

Additional details here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Big Tech Companies Get Behind Assessment Changes

Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco--three technology giants that last year vowed to increase their efforts aimed at global education reform--have banded together to develop the next generation of assessments: tests that measure 21st-century skills and provide a global framework for excellence. Details in this eSchool News story.