My school is the host site for an upcoming regional Literacy Conference, which makes sense as we are at the start of the two-year Literacy Initiative in our school district.
The conference events seem fine and somewhat interesting, with one huge exception (for me): there does not seem to be a single thread of New Literacies anywhere on the agenda. No technology anywhere.
When we had our initial brainstorming session for the start of the Literacy Initiative last school year, I tried to be the voice that advocated for Media and Technology literacies being represented in our work around literacy because students are using these tools and they need to be part of what we are teaching.
My friend and colleague, Gail P., pointed out to me that teachers are being asked to do so much more and are feeling the stress (including our new shift to a standardized report card system), and that adding more to their plate is not fair to them, and I know what she means.
Then, I wondered about something. Our single Mac Cart of laptops is always out and about in our school. It’s hard to sign up because it is in such high use. That’s great.
But what are teachers using it for?
If they are using it for student composition, then don’t they need some guidance on how they can integrate that technology into the classroom? Or, my fear is: they are using the Macs for students playing games or acting as gatherers of information (instead of composing it themselves). Gail, I know, does a lot with her kindergarten students and has them exploring in different ways on the Macs. Our art teacher and media specialist also use the laptops in constructive ways.
But I wonder how many other of my colleagues are doing the same? How many have been given the tools for moving technology into their Language Arts curriculum? How many have been given time to explore and play? Too few.
Time to get off my high horse, I guess. Sorry for the rant. Maybe what I need to do is go into my principal’s office and say, here is a session that we should offer during the Conference (such as — using Photostory or Voicethread to create a digital story representation of a writing assignment) and I will offer to run the session. I can’t just complain, right? The problem is that when I present, then I can’t attend.
Peace (on the day after the rains),