The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century


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Below are a few of these videos, shared with permission from the creators. Or perhaps I did, but not necessarily with the theme of the emails. I asked them what they learned, and they talked about the ways they did not succeed but that they learned about personal growth, understanding their limits, and their need to work on time-management skills. Some talked about how they switched their topics mid-summer and that it was hard to find an accomplishment within two scopes.

This, in and of itself, was an accomplishment. She raised over dollars as a part of this organization to help the people in Orlando touched by this tragedy.

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These intangibles ranged from overcoming and making progress with personal issues such as anxiety and depression to becoming self-aware of personal stress-relief and time-off needs. I found myself asking why students felt like these were not accomplishments. Sure, products are accomplishments we can touch and feel, but intangibles are not easily forgotten and left to collect dust. I had asked students to blog each week reflecting on their progress. Students had less than a week to choose their topics.

Perhaps this was a good thing—snap decisions that led students to their passions and interests outside of education. I do think the process of choosing whatever they wanted was overwhelming. Most of the feedback I got from the project was that it was terrifying at first but then ended up being very inspiring, engaging, and fun.

Blogging and sharing their project progress allowed them to nurture cross-cultural communications that are available to them on the Internet. Creating the TED talks got students involved in moviemaking, production, and multimedia. Technology is not the goal—it is the tool used to reach the goal. Ultimately, this is what 21st century literacy is all about. Would I do this project again? I learned a lot about my own philosophies, my students, and technology skills through this project.

In fact, I think it is important to embark on some learning journeys together with students, and this is a great way to do that. I thought about the third-grade classroom I recently left where chalkboards had been replaced ten or more years previously with white boards and dry-erase markers and where I piloted the newer interactive whiteboard two years previous and that were in the process of being installed. Not my favorite way to spend tech dollars- but more on that for another post. As I continue to explore technology-rich learning environments that mobile technologies afford and that many students access in their lives outside of school, there is often some pushback by both faculty and our preservice teachers such as the one I mentioned above.

We might also hear that if we provide them a good foundation of content and pedagogy, the schools will support their technology integration development. The rub here is that principals expect, or hope, that we will send them new teachers that are comfortable and competent not only with technology tools and applications, but also with pedagogically sound practices in the implementation of technology.

Additionally, practicing teachers say they are given devices with little to no instruction as to how to support high levels of student learning and engagement, and, as always, little time to explore and figure it out. And there is little to no talk about transforming learning. So, what is our responsibility as faculty who prepares future teachers?

It continues to look like an add-on if we leave it to someone else. We live in a transitory time in which we strive to prepare teachers for classrooms neither they nor we experienced. The Internet alone has transformed how we access and consider new information, and Web 2. How is our thinking about teaching and learning changing in light of these new tools? Do we see it as an add-on and siloed- reserved as an event for the computer lab. Mobile means anywhere and anytime.


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What are we doing to rethink what we do in this type of environment? Preservice teachers report that what they see and experience with their university professors in their preparation coursework and mentor teachers in the field have the most influence on their practice Blackboard, We have a responsibility to them to model an explorative, responsive, and inquiry-based stance of teaching while supporting them in content knowledge and concept attainment- just as they will do in their classrooms.

The lecture series began with a graduate student poster presentation and, after Dr. Morrell, Dr. The topic of the lecture series was literacy and urban education in the 21st century. At one point in his keynote address, Dr. Morrell contrasted this posture with what teachers often experience in a classroom — students who learn back in their chairs, complacently unmotivated and disengaged.

Students in the tiger crouch, he said, are ready for learning. This idea of the tiger crouch hit a cord with many of the attendees at the lecture series. As I spoke with practicing and preservice teachers afterward, many of them brought up the concept of the tiger crouch. I found this interesting because as these current and future teachers began talking about the tiger crouch and about helping their students develop 21st century literacies, I noticed that they began leaning in with excitement and purpose, eager to implement the teaching ideas they had gleaned from the lecture series.

These teachers has assumed the tiger crouch position. As I spoke with attendees, scrolled through the tweets from the lecture series, and read the reflections my students wrote about hearing Dr. Morrell, I continued to see this pattern. Everyone was encouraged, inspired, and excited. Everyone was in the tiger crouch position. Morrell spoke about developing powerful literacies in the 21st century classroom, but his talk did much more than just provide teaching ideas. His talk brought hope and encouragement to worn-out teachers and inspiration and excitement to students ready to embark on their teaching internships.

This makes me wonder if 21st century literacies and education are about more than simply literacies, skills, standards, and policies. What if 21st century literacies is about getting both teachers and students into the tiger crouch position — about bringing new life and a new perspective to the concepts of literacy and education and bringing in new subject matter and practices to the classroom?

As I saw at the lecture series, perhaps the first step in motivating students to the tiger crouch position is to make sure that teachers are in this position as well. How can we encourage and motivate the teachers around us? How can we share ideas and collaborate with one another? How can we re-invigorate our thinking and our teaching? The lecture series served as one great method for achieving many of these goals. Teachers and students were encourages and excited as they listened to Dr. Morrell, spoke with graduate students about their research, and asked questions during the panel discussion.

The power of the event, however, lies in not simply these actions but in how the ideas and practices discussed live on in the classroom, in research, and in future professional development events. Furthermore, what ARE activities that can be considered authentic, participatory, and engaging, and how do I anticipate engagement and authenticity that require almost spontaneous exploration of ideas and concepts?

As a 21st century literacy skills researcher, this is a common question that I ask myself. As Morrell et al. However, there has to be an element of assignment that initiates a critical activity. I cannot ask my students to engage critically with flipped classrooms, for example, without first assigning them to create one. But by doing that, I am, essentially, asking them to produce a source of media with the anticipation of a critical thinking process behind it, but not necessarily always the outcome.

All I suppose I can ask of myself as a teacher, then, is to provide enough focus as to create a boundary for exploration, and yet enough flexibility to allow for an authentic investigation that has a certain element of intrinsic motivation linked to it; a desire to know without the forcefulness to create without meaning. Morrell et al. There is one project that I am anticipating this semester that I feel may help me reach this equilibrium between assigning a digital task and students creating an authentic product. This assignment in my methods class this semester is a TED talk in which students are actively engaged in research on a topic of interest to them hence, flexibility and motivation.

Additionally, I anticipate, in conjunction with a colleague here at FSU, to have students engage in a mock interview digitally. This is a different form of digital production that I feel is necessary yet wholly unauthentic. This assignment allows them to reflect on how they did by watching the video themselves, and allows us to watch the video together and discuss suggestions. By using technology in this form as a tool, rather than a literacy practice, which is typically a warning we instructors receive from educational research NOT to do, we harness the vast options that we are given with the use of the tool digitally that we do not have face-to-face.

Perhaps it is important then to identify which purposes and what forms of evaluation we need to keep explorative and authentic, and which forms of evaluation can utilize the uniqueness of a digital tool to add value to a classroom product, even if not an authentic literacy-rich experience for the student. This is one of the questions that I am excited to ask Dr. Morrell about in person, and hope to begin a dialogue on the 21st century initiative about—how do you create an authentic critical media production without, essentially, forcing the matter, and, is there value to using a digital tool for the tool itself?

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As an avid reader, introvert, and easy sunburn-er, summers for me meant curling up in a recliner with a good book. I would spend entire days just reading. In the morning I would pick up my new book, run my hand over its shiny new cover, smell its freshly printed pages, and peel open the cover as my eyes adjusted to the first sentence. Hours and hours later, I would read the last line through my tear-blurred eyes and over the sound of my pounding heart, and then I would slowly — reluctantly — close the shiny cover and place the book upon my burdened bookshelf.

While no doubt many readers still experience some version of this, the twenty-first century has ushered in radically new forms of texts and with this an acknowledgment of radically new ways of reading.

The Most Important Books of the 21st Century - So Far!

No longer do we merely sit down with a book, read it cover-to-cover, and then place it on our bookshelf to begin collecting dust. Rather, twenty-first century readers crave stories without borders — texts with multiple points of entry and no end-point in sight. Twenty-first century readers crave stories which immerse readers into complex fictional worlds which can contain multiple texts and plots told over a variety of mediums.

These kinds of stories are known as transmedia texts. The term transmedia storytelling was coined by media scholar Henry Jenkins. In other words, transmedia stories incorporate multiple media platforms and multiple texts to tell a story. When an individual finishes reading one of the Harry Potter novels, he or she can put down the book and pick up a computer mouse to click and enter the website Pottermore where they can continue to immerse themselves in J. No longer just reading about Hogwarts, readers can now become wizards themselves and attend Hogwarts through this virtual reality.

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While many readers are engaging in transmediated reading experiences in their free time, the English language arts classrooms still prefers traditional conceptions of what a story is and feels more comfortable teaching stories with clear and definite borders. What would it look like, however, if language arts teachers embraced the idea of stories without borders? What might it look like for language arts teachers to acknowledge that the twenty-first century is changing not only what stories look like but how our students read those stories?

If we want our students to find relevance and significance in what we ask them to do inside the classroom, I believe we must acknowledge and sanction the kind of reading they do outside the classroom. As the field of English education continues to grapple with what a twenty-first century English classroom looks like, I believe an important starting point is embracing the existence of stories without borders and the kinds of transmediated reading in which our students engage. Perhaps by doing so, we can promote reading without borders — the kind of reading that connects literacy in the classroom with literacy outside the classroom and sets the foundation for lifelong readers and lifelong learners.

Reference Jenkins, H. Transmedia storytelling [Blog Post]. While teachers have often given students written comments on their papers, the digital age has given teachers a variety of new tools and media for responding to student writing. Different technologies, whether digital or not, enable different kinds of responses. The important consideration for the teacher is the kind of response allowed by a technology tool. Which tool will allow the teacher to respond to the piece of writing in the most helpful way for the student writer in their particular situation?

Responding to Student Writing For many years, writing teachers have responded to student writing through written comments. They also concluded that busy teachers tend to write more short comments than longer, in-depth comments p. These two findings suggest that comments tend to be written on the final draft turned in, not on in-progress drafts that will be revised. Their findings also suggest that some teachers need to be encouraged to see responding to student writing as being more than grading.

Kim asked students to give their response to both written and audio-recorded comments from teachers. In other words, the participants believed when presented with written and audio comments from the same teacher that the comments were from different teachers. Ultimately, teachers must be aware of how their comments, written or voice, affect the way they are perceived.

State standards for world history remain shockingly thin, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Eurocentric. Most states do not test specifically for historical knowledge or understanding, but rather incorporate history into their standards for English language arts ELA. This leaves less classroom instruction time for history of any kind. A comprehensive study of individual state standards paints an equally disappointing picture. Despite attempts to incorporate previously silenced voices into their curriculum, only ten of the fifty suggested history readings in the new curriculum were produced by non-white writers.

This set of ten is tasked with covering American writers of color as well as the voices from Black and brown people around the world. Of course, state standards are intended to be the floor, not the ceiling, of what students learn. However, they do provide the structure for curriculum, and ultimately are a considerable part of shaping what students learn. The choices being made about what history students learn are not trivial, but rather, core to the mission of educating students in diverse and supportive environments. The importance of diverse history curricula is far from abstract.

To teach history accurately, one must teach about the variety of ethnicities and cultures which make up our world. Eurocentrism is harmful first and foremost because it false. However, diversity in curricula is about more than just teaching a full view of history; it is proven to empower students of color.

The Challenges of Higher Education in the 21st Century

The results were striking: attendance rose by 21 percentage points, while grade-point averages rose by 1. Students enrolled in in ethnic-studies courses earned 23 more credits toward graduation, on average, than those who did not. The largest improvements in test scores were found among boys and Hispanic students in math and science. In a comprehensive study of the benefits students of color accrue from multicultural education, Celestial Zaldana of Claremont McKenna University found overwhelming evidence for the positive social and emotional effects of diverse curricula. Reading texts written by members of the ethnic groups that are underrepresented in school curricula improves the self esteem of students of that ethnic group, and caused all students to have a greater appreciation for cultural difference.

Despite the proven benefits of a diverse history education, many students still receive Eurocentric instruction. Studies have shown that most students lack a basic understanding of such things as slavery , rudimentary world geography , or the history of indigenous peoples. S history classrooms, it revealed a slightly different reality: on average, only one to two lessons, or 8 to 9 percent of total class time, are devoted to Black history. Those who care about racial justice in education can and should make their voices heard.

One particular opportunity is in the window after the amendment of state history curricula where public comments are allowed. Like much of education policy, states make their own choices about when and how to revise their standards and it is unfortunately incumbent on those who care to seek out the information about their states revision process. Despite their rarity, these inflection points are critical for ensuring that public advocates make their voices heard.

While the full effect of public comments for state curricula are hard to measure, there is reason to believe that sustained advocacy on behalf of diversity in history education can make a real impact.

The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century
The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century
The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century
The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century
The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century
The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century
The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century The Need for Revision: Curriculum, Literature, and the 21st Century

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