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Leading New Literacies

February 6, 2014

After sitting through a three hour workshop on new digital literacy I am left with multiple things: sensory and information overload, inspiration by many great teachers, and puzzlement. I think that many people in the workshop shared some of these feelings, so I do not feel alone. Part of me wants to just drop everything I have been doing in the classroom for 20 years, but another part of me still has big questions about the validity of such a heavy reliance on digital media and technology in the classroom. Perhaps this is because I have had such powerful experiences with non-digital learning. As a teacher, nothing really compares to the learning that goes on when you get a group of students in a classroom, give them a rich text to discuss and then see what happens. Just yesterday I had such an experience in my classroom. There was no technology, just four rich sources and seventeen bright minds who were willing to think, wonder and question outloud. At the same time, I do see where digital tools can stimulate young people and get them more motivated to produce “public” work. I also see the value in connecting to other classrooms and experts. So I am ready to try so new things and see how it goes, but I will be very cautious about “not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

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