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Preparing for Dr. Patrick Camangian’s Visit This Tuesday

As the fourth event in the Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life speaker series, Dr. Patrick Camangian has requested that all attendees please complete the survey found here (enter PIN# 7193). I’m not familiar with this resource and I found the interface engaging and I’m curious how it will be woven into Dr. Camangian’s presentation. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete it and I hope you will join us! As usual we will be in Clark A205 at 5:30 and the event is free. Here is a bit of info about Dr. Camangian’s presentation:

Moving Left of Center: Teaching a New Ending

If teachers truly want to make their classrooms more culturally empowering, we need the type of learning, an ability to read the world, as Paulo Freire says, that leads to social transformation in students’ actual lives. This presentation honors this by discussing the importance of tapping into the humanity that young people bring into classrooms, treating their most pressing concerns as worthy of intellectual interrogation and important starting points for all learning. Toward this end, this presentation will draw on work done in urban schools throughout California as a context to understand the socio-educational experiences of different cultural groups in urban communities and, more importantly, consider ways in which classroom teachers can more effectively remedy the problems facing urban communities.

Last week, Dr. Haddix mentioned that she always has her students read one of Dr. Camangian’s articles in her class. The article in question is Starting with Self: Teaching Autoethnography to Foster Critically Caring Literacies. It comes from a stellar issue of Research in the Teaching of English and I’d encourage you to peruse the rest of the issue here.

See you Tuesday!

Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom

The DML Research Hub released Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom  last week. This is a report I spent much of 2013 editing and co-writing with a stellar team of National Writing Project members. The report is free to download and read and I hope you will spend time with the powerful document.

Today, I published a blog post at DMLcentral that describes the reason this book exists. The original post and its comments can be accessed here. However, as a text that helps contextualize the need for Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom in 2014, I am also pasting the post below.

Last week saw the release of Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom, a free Connected Learning report I edited. I’m hoping you’ll spend some time reading it — it features a plethora of powerful contributions by members of the National Writing Project. When you riffle throughTeaching in the Connected Learning Classroom, what you’ll see is a series of narratives from educators from across the country sharing how they are already exemplifying connected learning principles in practice in schools.

As educators and researchers, we often talk about the possibilities of advances in learning sciences and pedagogy.

I think we need to move beyond the rhetoric of possibilities.

As you look through this report, please do so with a recognition not of what educators can do in classrooms but rather of what teachers today are doing in regards to connected learning. These are incredible examples of teachers already transforming school life from within. We, as the DML (digital media and learning) community, must begin to visualize how we support the more-than-possibilities of in-school connected learning.

Briefly, I want to describe how this book came together.

On Aspiring to Be More Than a Broken Record

Since the first DML conference, five years ago, I’ve felt like something of a broken record. Each year I ask:

  • Where are the teachers?
  • What about kids in schools?
  • How are our conversations impacting the learning for kids during the hours of 8-3 Monday-Friday?

In Twitter backchannels, in presentations, and in conversations with attendees my questions haven’t changed over the past, formative years for Digital Media and Learning or in regards to connected learning.

It was with these constantly circulating questions around what connected learning means for classrooms and schools that I approached the work that ultimately turned into Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom.

In observing the powerful examples of connected learning shared online and at DML conferences, I am often left with a sense that many may believe that connected learning is a phenomenon that happens outside of schools and that educational reform like the Common Core State Standards automatically impede any attempts at connected learning-like innovation in classrooms. This isn’t the case.

Working with five other co-editors of each chapter of this project — Danielle Filipiak, Bud Hunt, Clifford Lee, Nicole Mirra, and Cindy O’Donnell-Allen — I decided to organize the book around six key connected learning components:

  • Interest-driven learning
  • Peer-supported learning
  • Academically-oriented teaching
  • Production-centered classrooms
  • Openly networked
  • Shared purpose

Within each of these chapters, you’ll encounter three different teacher-authored vignettes that highlight ways educators are exemplifying principles of connected learning.

A Book of Theory-Building

This is not an instruction manual. My co-editors and the nearly thirty contributors to this project did not sit down to give educators step-by-step instructions on implementing connected learning principles in classrooms. Instead, I organized this book around these examples for two reasons:

  1. Demonstrate the work that’s already being done by teachers
  2. Invite a larger conversation around reshaping what we expect from schools in the U.S. on a daily basis.

Teachers in this book should be duly recognized as theoreticians. The examples here are a mere drop in the bucket in terms of work happening around the country. Instead of dictating a single way educators must demonstrate, for instance, peer-supported learning in classrooms, this project highlights the multitudinous ways classrooms can be transformed. I sincerely hope more teachers are emboldened to flex connected learning principles in their classrooms. And, I sincerely hope non-teachers seek out ways to collaborate and support these efforts.

Marching Orders

My advisor in graduate school, Ernest Morrell, always tells the high school students we work with not to let anyone leave a presentation without their “marching orders.” In other words, if the students had just shared their research findings at a national conference (as they did at DML in 2013), people in the audience need direct instructions on how to move forward and their role in doing so.

In the spirit of these students’ marching orders, I have a question for the non-teachers reading this: how will you support the powerful work and enthusiasm emanating from classrooms near you? (I hope you’ll share in the comments below.)

For the teachers reading this: How can you demand more from your students, your administrators, and your school’s community? How is your classroom reflecting the connected learning principles, as you understand them?

The National Writing Project — instrumental in making this project a reality — continues to highlight the power of leveraging the expertise of thousands of enthusiastic teachers from around the country. Think of what we can do as a DML community if we turn our collective knowledge onto the “problem” of public education. I want to thank the members of NWP who have helped push my thinking and the many of you who helped illuminate in-school connected learning as contributors, editors, and supporters of this report.

I hope you will read Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom, obviously. But I hope that your reading isn’t a passive activity. I tell my pre-service teachers at Colorado State University, when they struggle with the theoretical readings in my classroom that they need to read harder. We cannot afford to disregard the needs of America’s posterity just because improving education is difficult. Our children are too important. I hope you will read Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom as a step toward a transformational dialogue.

Marcelle Haddix’s Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life Presentation

Marcelle Haddix’s presentation as part of the ongoing Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life series was thrilling. A recent graduate, currently teaching in a local school told me this was the talk she “needed” to hear. Likewise, many attendees (both in-person and via email afterwards) shared that they were invigorated and renewed by Dr. Haddix’s frank discussion of the needs of preservice teachers of color, the challenges with wanting to “help” a community, and the possibilities that unfold (to lift a phrase from one of her research participants) when we shift our stances as teachers and teacher educators. I hope you watch Dr. Haddix’s talk below.

“Are You Still Helping That Community?”: Toward a Publicly Engaged Teacher Education and a Focus on Community/ies

 

Next week will be an equally great presentation from Dr. Patrick Camangian of the University of San Francisco. As usual we will be in Clark A205 at 5:30 and the event is free. Here is a bit of info about Dr. Camangian’s presentation:

Moving Left of Center: Teaching a New Ending

If teachers truly want to make their classrooms more culturally empowering, we need the type of learning, an ability to read the world, as Paulo Freire says, that leads to social transformation in students’ actual lives. This presentation honors this by discussing the importance of tapping into the humanity that young people bring into classrooms, treating their most pressing concerns as worthy of intellectual interrogation and important starting points for all learning. Toward this end, this presentation will draw on work done in urban schools throughout California as a context to understand the socio-educational experiences of different cultural groups in urban communities and, more importantly, consider ways in which classroom teachers can more effectively remedy the problems facing urban communities.

This series has developed into a powerful, necessary dialogue and I am thrilled to imagine how next week will only further add to this more-than-conversation. Please join us!

 

Finally, as Marcelle mentioned, she and I met through the NCTE Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color fellowship program – there is still time to apply to join the next cohort of committed literacy scholars. (And shoot me an email if you are interested and have any questions.)

Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life: Schools for Community Action & Looking Forward

Two weeks ago, we had an awesome turnout at our second event as part of the Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life speaker series at CSU. Mark Gomez, Patricia Hanson, and Katie Rainge-Briggs shared their powerful work at the Schools for Community Action. They had an interactive presentation that involved researching issues local to Fort Collins and presenting elevator pitches for sustainable change. The work was engaging and a fun change of pace from the traditional academic mode of presentation. Their presentation can be viewed below (though if you find the small-group activity a bit dizzying, I encourage you to skip to around minute 44 when they do some larger wrap-up in a traditional format).

This Tuesday we are honored to have Marcelle Haddix as our next presenter. Below is the title and abstract of her presentation. I know it is one you don’t want to miss.

“Are You Still Helping That Community?”: Toward a Publicly Engaged Teacher Education and a Focus on Community/ies

Working from a scholarship-in-action, community engaged framework, Marcelle Haddix will discuss ways that notions of community/ies and public engagement are defined and taken up in English and literacy teacher education.   Her talk will feature examples from two areas of scholarship.  The first area involves a study of the ways students of color navigate the multiple discourse communities they inhabit as preservice teachers and their construction of teacher identities in the current climate of teacher preparation programs.  Specifically, Marcelle will highlight the ways that teacher candidates of color define public engagement and what it means for them to work with/in urban schools and communities.  The second examines the experiences of secondary English and literacy preservice teachers enrolled in a Teaching Writing Course where students coordinate and facilitate a community writing event for local middle and high school students.   In looking across both areas, her talk will articulate new directions for encouraging community building and public engagement in English and literacy teacher education.

As usual we will be in Clark A205 at 5:30 and the event is free. Please join us!

Catching up: DMLcentral & #NCTEchat

A couple of updates:

- The #NCTEchate I co-hosted with @frankisibberson was awesome. At  couple of points in the conversation the chat hashtag was trending. A Storify archive of the chat can be viewed here. At the end of the chat several participants committed to blogging about the NCTE position statement we co-authored and their general thoughts about formative assessment. Franki did an awesome job of rounding most of these up. Check out the 15 different responses here.

- A couple of weeks ago, I talked with Bud Hunt about the 1:1 iPad deployment he has been developing in the St. Vrain Valley School District. That conversation and a short blog post showed up on DMLcentral here.

- Last week, I got caught up in the flurry of the NY Times column Professors, We Need You.” I discussed the column and its implications for scholarship with Greg McVerry. Our discussion also showed up as a DMLcentral post over here.

Buffy Hamilton’s Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life Presentation

It has been exciting to put together the CSU speaker series, Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life, that is unfolding over the semester.

As I mention in the introduction to this series, I am hoping attendees (and viewers) will consider the dialogue that unfolds across these five different speakers. What intersections can we imagine in the work we do with and for young people across the U.S. today? Kicking off our CSU speaker series this week, Buffy Hamilton’s presentation “Metanarratives of Literacy Practices: Libraries as Sponsors of Literacies” helped us challenge our notions of what’s possible in libraries and how these spaces should be thought of critically as “Sponsors of Literacies” – building off of research by Deborah Brandt. It’s been a true pleasure getting to learn from Buffy (even if it means she’s been stranded in Fort Collins longer than she planned due to an insane season of weather). If you aren’t already reading The Unquiet Librarian, what’s wrong with you?

Buffy graciously allowed us to record her talk and she has shared her slides via Slideshare. Both the video and the slides are embedded below. A quick note that next week’s talk will feature three classroom teachers , Mark Gomez, Patricia Hanson, and Katie Rainge-Briggs who all co-founded the Schools for Community Action at the August Hawkins Learning Complex in South Central Los Angeles. Their talk is titled “Schools for Community Action: Addressing the Lived Realities of Inner-City Youth.” I can promise another engaging talk. For local folks, we’ll be in Clark A 205 on Tuesday at 5:30. Bring a friend!

 

Shattering Silence with David Kirkland

My “Teaching Composition” course at CSU was honored to be able to talk with David Kirkland this past week. We’ve been reading his powerful book A Search Past Silence: The Literacy of Young Black MenI’d written about finishing his book over the summer and Kirkland’s words have been resonating with me throughout the semester.

The Q&A below was a powerful opportunity for our CSU students and I’m pleased to share it with viewers as well:

I should also point out the efforts of Rob Greco who has transcribed much of the talk here.

Co-hosting #nctechat this Sunday

Along with Franki Sibberson, I’ll be hosting the #nctechat this sunday. We’ll be building our discussion primarily around the recently released NCTE Position Statement we helped author, “Formative Assessment that Truly Informs Instruction.” Join us!

Teacher Voices: Teaching Young Men of Color

2013_Teacher_Voices_Report_cover_400

The National Writing Project recently published a new report that I helped contribute to, Teacher Voices: Teaching Young Men of ColorThe link describes the report as follows:

The new report from the National Writing Project, “Teacher Voices: Teaching Young Men of Color” focuses on powerful insights and knowledge from twelve teachers working in schools across the country. Working with colleagues from The College Board, this latest project in the Teacher Voices series advances conversations about the inadequate educational progress of males of color in America.

This was a fun project to be involved with and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to connect with some of the country’s most brilliant educators. The document can be downloaded as a PDF for free here. Check out to see out-of-control-hair-era Antero.

 

 

Announcing Spring 2014 Speaker Series: Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life

Any Colorado-local (or Colorado-Adjacent folks): please join us!

The Colorado State University Department of English is pleased to announce the upcoming speaker series: “The Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life.” Throughout the spring semester the department will host nationally recognized literacies-based researchers and educators to discuss how literacy and youth civic participation intersect from varying, interdisciplinary perspectives. I’m thrilled to be able to put this event together with some of the most powerful scholars doing necessary literacies research.

The speakers will be presenting their work and engaging in dialogue from 5:30-6:30, followed by a brief reception. These events are free and open to the public. All of the speakers will be presenting at the CSU campus in Clark A 205.

The speakers and dates for this series are as follows:

  • 2/11: Buffy Hamilton – School Librarian, Norcross High School, Atlanta, GA; 2011 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.
  • 2/18: Mark Gomez, Patricia Hanson, & Katie Rainge-Briggs – School designers and educators from the Schools for Community Action, Los Angeles, CA.
  • 3/4: Marcelle Haddix – Assistant Professor, Syracuse University School of Education, NY.
  • 3/11: Patrick Camangian - Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco and teacher at Mandela High School, Oakland, CA.
  • 4/22: Linda Christensen - Instructor and Director of the Oregon Writing Project, Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling & Rethinking Schools Editorial Board member, Portland, OR.

Buffy’s talk next Tuesday is going to be awesome! Here’s the title and description:

Buffy Hamilton – 2/11 – Metanarratives of Literacy Practices:  Libraries as Sponsors of Literacies
How might libraries deconstruct the ideas and power relations that influence the ways they reinforce and distribute specific literacies and literacy practices to better understand their role as sponsors of literacy in their communities in a more nuanced and robust way?  By using Deborah Brandt’s concept of sponsors of literacy, libraries can situate and contextualize their work to frame their work as co-learners in a participatory community of learning who can collaboratively construct the possibilities of print, digital, information, and new literacies – rather than being a paternalistic sponsor that deliberately and/or unintentionally marginalizes the experiences and literacy histories of the people libraries serve.
Buffy’s an awesome speaker and I hope you will be able to join us for the first of five great events this semester. If you have any additional questions please email me. Thank you, I look forward to welcoming you at CSU!