PLAYBACK: Digital Learning and Critical Thinking: Perspectives from Parents, Teachers and Young Digital Artists
3.11.11 | Learning from L.A.’s young digital artists; Karen Cator answers questions about the National Ed Tech Plan; principles of digital learning for parents: teaching digital democracy; and celebrating International Women’s Day with tech savvy girls in India.
Why Technology Innovation Needs Critical Thinking: HASTAC’s Cathy Davidson says she felt a little “speechless” after listening to young digital artists from East Los Angeles describe making video documentaries about their lives and communities.
The Out the Window Project is a collaboration between the Echo Park Film Center, Public Matters, UCLA REMAP and Freewaves. The youth-produced video will be shown on city buses in L.A. and will include a very cool geo-coding component.
The young videographers, students from Renaissance Academy and the Echo Park Film Center, spoke at the 2011 Digital Media and Learning Conference in Long Beach, Calif., last week. Davidson’s post is moving—and reminds me that we don’t see enough adults discussing what they learn from young people.
“I felt like their student,” Davidson says, adding how impressed she was by their maturity and passion for their work in the world.
I kept hearing this “critical thinking” over and over, so I asked one of the young artists, “What do you mean by ‘critical thinking’?” She didn’t even pause, “It means being able to see where I am standing and also where you are. It means having enough knowledge and research and discipline not to over-react if you disagree with me or if you dislike me or disrespect me but to pause, and think about who you are, and then help bridge the gap between us.”
Read Davidson’s full post here, and watch this video to learn more about the Out the Window Project. We’ll be keeping an eye on their work.
Principles of Digital Learning for Parents: Also from the Digital Media and Learning Conference, KQED’s MindShift published a helpful write up of Liz Losh’s talk on the 10 principles of digital learning for parents.
As MindShift’ s Tina Barseghian notes, parents are bombarded with messages and fears about digital media without much helpful guidance. Losh is director of the Culture, Art and Technology Program at Sixth College at University of California San Diego. Her tips are right on and worth reading through – especially her reminders to discuss things like digital neutrality, power and advertising with our children. Check it out here.
Plus: Apple announced this week that it has changed its policy for how purchases can be made with apps on the iPhone and iPad. The Washington Post reports that the change comes in response to complaints from parents that unbeknownst to them, their children were racking up hundreds of dollars of charges purchasing apps.
Talking the National Education Tech Plan: Karen Cator, director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, answers readers questions about the National Education Technology Plan in a video response posted on Edutopia this week. Cator took questions from educators on a range of topics, including assessment, managing student privacy and teaching digital citizenship.
Most interesting were her comments about how to leverage things that are happening outside of school for the classroom, like advancements in mobile technologies, digital content, and social networks for learning.
Cator also discusses how states are working to develop new systems that test “not just the things that are testable on the bubble tests—but critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication.”
Teaching for a Vibrant Democracy: The education and social justice organization Facing History and Ourselves is offering a free online workshop for educators later this month on the role of the press in the digital age.
Titled Teaching Reporter, the workshop will use a documentary featuring New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Facing History’s new study guide and companion website to spark teaching ideas about the role of the press and how new media can be used as a tool for civic participation and social action. It includes some provocative questions:
Under what conditions do people care about others? When does that care translate into thoughtful action? What are the responsibilities of citizens to participate in their communities - local, national, and global? How can information be used and abused? By raising questions about the role of the reporter and the responsibility of the citizen, this documentary supports Facing History’s mission to encourage students, educators, and community members to reflect on the types of civic engagement required by a vibrant democracy.
The workshop begins March 21, and has a flexible time commitment to accommodate busy teacher schedules. Full details are available here.
Plus: For more media lessons in the digital age, don’t miss Spotlight’s piece from this week about Dan Sinker’s @mayoremanuel and a new site that exposes PR reported as news.
The Gendered Participation Gap: Finally, we can’t conclude the week without a nod to International Women’s Day. In honor of the global celebration of the achievements of women, we wanted to point your attention to this post and video from Ioana Literat, a doctoral student at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication.
Literat describes her experience training young women in India to teach new media literacies in their own communities. Literat writes about the power of these skills for young Muslim women who have little opportunities for education as teachers or students. But that hasn’t stopped them.
“As a woman, I have more responsibilities to do in society,” said one 8th-grade student from the Railway Girls High School in Hyderabad, India. “I will help girls get education and explain to them the importance of education for their future.”
Literat worked in partnership with two organizations, The Modern Story and Technology for the People. She describes her experience training young female teachers in new media literacies and then placing them in classrooms in all-girls public schools. Watch the tech savvy girls at work in this video.
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