Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pecha Kucha

Here's my Pecha Kucha! Feel free to let me know if you need any helpful hints!

Natives vs. Immigrants: Ridiculously Complicated

So much of what we had touched upon in class today resonated in my head as I read, watched, and contemplated Boyd, Prensky and Wesch this evening. I think the main divergence among their positions lies in their beliefs of the responsibilities and expectations of the digital natives and those of the digital immigrants.

Prensky celebrates the fluency with which youth (digital natives) engage in the digital world, and argues that digital immigrants will forever be compared to digital natives, but they they will never match up. Sometimes I feel as if the youth in our schools are leaps and bounds ahead of us in terms of technology and we are struggling to keep up. This thinking led me back to our discussion today about fear and control from the "digital immigrants" that are not quite sure of where technology and media fit into the education system.

Boyd argues that while digital natives are fluent and familiar with technology and gadgets, they lack the critical knowledge necessary to interact productively; Boyd even goes a step further to say that this is a skill that the digital immigrants can share with youth to encourage them to be critical consumers and producers. One of the most interesting concepts brought up in "It's Complicated" was danger - not the danger of technology or moving forward in a digital world, but the danger of assuming that youth are automatically informed and in tune with the digital world that they are so heavily a part of and that is a part of their lives. "Teens may make their own media or share content online, but this does not mean that they inherently have the knowledge or perspective to critically examine what they consume. . . . it is dangerous to assume that youth are automatically informed. It is also naive to assume that so-called digital immigrants have nothing to offer"(Boyd 177).

 Again, I was reminded of our conversation about "control" and the blocking of certain sites. Instead of widening the gap between teachers (mostly digital immigrants) and students (mostly digital natives), why not encourage the conversation that could enhance both the lives and school experiences of teachers AND students?!

Wesch (whose video I watched/used/shared last year) attempts to bridge the gap between natives and immigrants by stating that the power of media and technology together can be dangerous if digital immigrants and digital natives are not working together and having the conversations necessary to go beyond critical thinking. While digital natives are fluent in creating and consuming and finding/sorting/analyzing/criticizing/creating STUFF, digital immigrants can utilize these critical moments with them in order to help them find meaning and purpose. If we are to have a global conversation, we need to be able to first have that conversation right in our own classrooms. Natives and immigrants alike can each stand to learn from the other - and the stuff that we create and produce and consume and create again will be ridiculously amazing if we let it, and if we want it to.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Digitally Inclined

As the youngest teacher at my school, I find that I'm often the go-to person when people need help navigating their Chromebooks and iPads. Luckily, I am a fluent digital immigrant - you could say I'm "bilingual" in both the paper and virtual worlds. I think there is a sort of nostalgia present when thinking of the paper world and an excitement regarding the novelty of the technological world, co-existing at the same time, much like the ability to speak two languages: a familiar, comfortable one that is easy to fall back on, and a newer one that allows you more access but might be a little risky at times. Being bilingual is a concept very near and dear to my heart, as I am fluent in both English and Croatian. My parents are both from Croatia - as a child, I spent most summers there and still visit fairly often. Learning their native language has allowed me the opportunity to forge long-lasting relationships with cousins, relatives, and friends that I would otherwise have no way of doing.

Although I consider myself digitally "fluent," there are small parts of me that I feel will forever remain old-fashioned and somewhat resistant to the digital world:
  • I love the convenience of downloading books on my iPad, especially when I'm traveling (because I tend to ALWAYS overpack), but there is nothing I love more than spending hours in a library or bookstore and lugging home a tote-ful of new finds. My to-be-read-this-summer pile is VERY high.
  • One of my personal goals throughout my grad school adventure so far has been to go completely paperless (minus the agenda/list-making part...hah. I don't foresee that changing any time soon). The Christmas present (MacBook Air) from Josh has definitely helped with that! I've even started tracking my fitness goals using some snazzy new technology, which has been incredibly cool and full of information that I never knew I needed until I had it at my fingertips. 
  • Although I have my phone on me pretty much 24/7, one of my favorite "school supply"/everyday/life necessity items is my Emily Ley Simplified Planner (yes, I have the pineapple one for the upcoming school year and can't WAIT to start using it). I always feel so organized being able to see my day/week/month at a glance, and I seem to remember them better when I physically write them out. Seriously, if you're a planner person, this planner = life-changing. Side note: I also think I may have a slight notebook addiction....I have piles of them for my endless journals and lists and newfound love of calligraphy. 
  • Speaking of calligraphy, that's one of my new hobbies that I have been toying around with. While the art itself is very old, certain techniques and the ability to add a fun/whimsical element to the lettering is relatively new (especially to me!), and one of the most helpful things in this endeavor has been the plethora of calligraphy videos and tutorials I can find readily at any time and/or place. There are so many different ways of doing things, and I find it both relaxing and exhilarating to be able to create something so unique and personal. 
(Not my video, but one of the best quick sample videos I've seen!)

All in all, I do consider myself a digital immigrant - but a fluent one at that. I will always have an "accent" and will probably forever carry around a paper planner. I know most of my students will never carry a planner and think it's a waste of time to write something down when they can just put it into their phones. I understand that the world we are in now, the world our students are growing up in, is vastly different from the world I grew up in, and that we must work with the evolving technologies instead of against them....and at the same time work with our students so that we can learn and grow and create stuff together. 

Re-Introducing Myself :)

Hello, Media Literacy 2015!

It's hard to believe that it's already the end of JUNE....where did the first half of this year go?! Anyway, if you scroll through some of my old posts, you'll get a sense of who I am as a learner and as a teacher (and probably stumble across some puppy pictures of Tucker). 

So this is a little bit of me!

  • This past year was my first year as a permanent (part-time) teacher, so that was pretty exciting, and I loved being able to dive right in and STAY for the entire year! I had sworn up and down that I would never teach in a middle school...after my first week subbing there last year, I was hooked. The energy and enthusiasm in a middle school classroom is tangible and fun and I absolutely love everything about it. The most exciting part of my year was during the fourth quarter, where we analyzed gender stereotypes in cartoons and magazines....I was BLOWN AWAY by my students' thinking and all of the cool things they came up with.

  • In my (rare) spare time, I like spending quality time with Tucker (the puppy), Josh (the boyfriend), and other pretty awesome people, like the ones I'm related to! Summer has been pretty exciting but busy - I babysit, go to the gym daily (sometimes multiple times a day), play soccer, read too many books...and we have so many projects waiting to happen over the next few weeks! You'll be hearing more about those soon too :)

Thanks for reading! Looking forward to the next couple of weeks with you all!