Moving Online with Massachusetts New Literacies


We held a follow-up session for our Massachusetts New Literacies Teacher Leader Initiative yesterday, bringing together most of the teams of teachers together in an online session (via Elluminate platform) with Julie Coiro as the keynote speaker. Over the next few weeks, we will be shifting our discussions to an online forum site within the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s online portal (known as MassOne).

This journey began last summer with a week-long institute, and this online meeting was our second post-summer gathering. Julie centered her talk around a model of curriculum development called TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge), which involves deliberate conceptualization of the pedagogy behind lesson planning, understanding of area content, consideration of the impact of the technological tools on learning outcomes, and reflection on the ways that these areas may or may not overlap.

My impression is that TPACK has a foothold in some university programs, with pre-service teachers required to use it for curriculum design, but it has not yet found its place out in schools as a model for curriculum design (at least here in Massachusetts, other than in our institute), and this was something that Julie confirmed when we began asking for models. (There are some resources around TPACK at the College of William and Mary School of Education website.)

TPACK’s focus on pedagogy and content, and the way that technology can shift teaching practices into learning outcomes that utilize technology, is a good one, I think, although I honestly have to immerse myself more into the model to fully understand how to make the theoretical model work in the real world.

On another note, I have used Elluminate before for conferences and talks, and find it to be pretty useful (although it costs money). I do wish that more of the teams of teachers would have asked more questions of Julie. I felt as if it were mostly us teacher-leaders engaged in the discussions. That might be a result of unfamiliarity with the Elluminate platform or complexity of the TPACK talk or something else. I am hopeful that the online forums, where we will be in smaller groups, will open the door to more engagement by the folks in the institute. (And they will have to be, since we will have some requirements for posting and commenting).

Since last summer, I have been reflecting on our gatherings in a Voicethread, and last night, after our Elluminate session, I added a few thoughts. You’ll have to scroll through the thread to get to the last slide, since it is a chronological sequence of reflections here. Or feel free to listen and follow my journey with the institute. The thread is open for your comments or questions, too.

(Go to Voicethread directly)

Peace (in the reflection),

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