Thanks to the gentle pushing and suggestions from my National Writing Project friend, Christina Cantrill, I made my first curated collection over at the NWP Digital Is site. I’ve created a handful of resources, but never a collection that pulls resources together under one “big idea.” My new collection — Making and Creating — was an adaption of a post I had put up during an inquiry study group with the P2PU open university system, and my lens (suggested by Christina) was looking at how to connect the “make movement” with writing in digital spaces.
I was recently interviewed by Erin Wilkey Oh for the National Writing Project’s Digital Is site about our science-based game design unit. It’s always nice to reflect a bit on a project that seemed to have struck a chord with students. You can see Erin’s write-up here, and then follow her links to a transcript of our chat.
I am taking part in an online study group over at P2PU (with friend Paul Oh, of the National Writing Project) around the idea of “curation” of our digital lives. Here is an introduction that I created for our first activity, using Bitstrips to create a webcomic intro. The comic is embedded down below as a flash comic but you can also access it over at Flickr:
I am looking forward to talking with National Writing Project friend Paul Allison and others on tonight’s webcast episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers. Paul asked if I would join him to chat about some of the projects and work and play that my students did over the course of the school year, so I am going to focus a bit on our research essay/multimedia project, and then shift into video game design in the classroom. I also hope to discuss a summer reading project that I am doing in Edmodo with a new teacher colleague out in Texas, where our students are using (sort of) a shared Edmodo space for book talk. And then who knows where the conversation might end up.
The livestream of the discussion will be over at EdTechTalk: http://edtechtalk.com/ttt tonight (Wednesday) at 9PM ET / 6PM PT. If you can join us in the chat room there, that would be cool. If not, I will post the archived video discussion that Paul creates over here when it is live and ready.
I am aiming to participate with these two study groups this summer at the P2PU (Peer to Peer University) open course site. You come, too. Both are being coordinated with friends in the National Writing Project.
Curating Our Digital Lives - Register Now — July 9-23rd
How do you curate the huge volume of information that comprises our daily lives, particularly as it relates to professional knowledge? And how do we help youth do the same for the purpose of personal and academic growth? Join this three-week conversation to share your experiences as we consider curation as an opportunity to gather and annotate as well as publish and share as part of a knowledge-building network.
Making Writing and Literacy Learning Connections - Register Now — July 9-23rd
If “digital” is how we write, share, and participate today and into the future, what does that mean for the teaching of writing and for learning? Join a National Writing Project study group as we explore these questions together through our own experiences and those of the NWP Digital Is community. Each week we’ll focus on a different aspect of inquiry and practice related to writing, teaching and connected learning
Our inquiry theme of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project in the coming year will be “digital composition” and yesterday, our leadership board and assorted members (including our WMWP Technology Team) began mapping out some ideas to keep that theme working throughout the year. Our hope is to highlight the ways that technology is impacting or changing our perceptions of writing, and how to help teachers see the change and be part of it. Here are some of the ideas we are chatting about and planning for:
We’ll be using the National Writing Project’s Digital Is site as our “text” for the year, using pieces there for inquiry reading and reflections;
One of our possible goals as a board is to develop and publish our own “resource” at Digital Is by the end of the year — this will help our board members experience the shift from users to producers of content, with a real audience;
Our annual conference in the fall will feature a keynote address around digital literacies, and connections to the Common Core curriculum;
We’re considering ways to support teachers around place-based digital storytelling ideas, with hopes of getting students across a wide range of communities to produce pieces that could be shared at a regional Digital Storytelling Showcase event;
And more …
It’s exciting to be on this path, and our WMWP Technology Team (we have about eight members of the team) will be the leaders of the inquiry initiative. And as it is the 20th anniversary of the WMWP site (which is quite an accomplishment), the idea of looking ahead to literacies as well as remembering our history is a balance we are striving to achieve.
These videos were in my Google Video archives as part of our Collaborative ABC Movie Project from a few years ago, as my friend Bonnie and I sought to explore digital storytelling with a bunch of other connected friends. The other videos are scattered about in other people’s collections or hard drives, no doubt (we had used the now-extinct site, JumpCut, to pull them all together and even edit them together on Jumpcut, which was a pretty neat experience). I still got a kick out of seeing what we were doing with that project, and thinking about how much I learned about digital storytelling, collaboration and coordinating a huge project.
I was fortunate to be asked by my National Writing Project colleagues Gail Desler and Natalie Bernasconi to contribute a few pieces of student work to their emerging site around digital citizenship and digital life. The wiki site — entitled Digital ID — is becoming another great resource to share with teachers and students around the teaching of using technology in meaningful and thoughtful ways. My sixth grade students contributed a few Glogster posters to the developing section around student-created work.
Gail and Natalie are really curating a site with value, particularly around lesson plans and resources, and an overarching theme of empowering students with technology in a way that gives them agency to make informed decisions about their digital footprints and lives. This is a theme that I have been trying to articulate with my students all year, too. I love how they lay out their rationale for creating the site and provide a framework for understanding that is easily adaptable by teachers. Those reflective stances put the activities and learning goals in context.
One of the curators at the National Writing Project’s Digital Is site did a “review” of our website that was a reflection for a science-based video game design project.
The scaffolded nature of the website reflects the attention that the teacher team paid to the structure of the project itself. Students reflected about the principles of video game design (both good and bad), blogged about the big ideas from their science class that would become the content world of their game (layers of the earth, mountains, volcanoes), and focused on the writing process. The multi-modal design of the site – with student and teacher videos, text, and student work examples – also reflects the teachers’ commitment to the importance of teaching and learning with a range of tools. — Kate Leuschhke Blinn
My National Writing Project friend, Fred Mindlin (@fmindlin), is the “curator” of a daily news feed that features lots of great links and articles and resources about the Common Core, but his lens is digital literacy. He uses the paper.li site (which I also use for my National Writing Project daily news), and it automatically gathers up information about the Common Core that is in his group of Twitter friends and hashtag topics.
I often find interesting (and varied) takes on the national Common Core movement, and I urge you to consider checking it out, too. The site allows you to “subscribe” to a paper, and this allows you to get an email update every day about the news. Then, you can decide to follow the link to the paper or not. (Note: there is advertising on the paper.li news, but I use the adblock plus add-on in Firefox to remove it all from sight.)