Provost English & Technology Blog

My P.E.T Project

Course Reflection – 6712

Posted by mprovost on August 22, 2010

During this course, I was impacted from the very beginning by Dr. David Warlick’s reminder that as we prepare our students for an unpredictable future, technology is constantly changing but information is the key (Laureate Education, 2009). Just as I want for my students to understand the conventions of writing and develop a passion for reading, it is imperative that I help them secure the new literacy skills needed for a future where information gathering will exist in online and digital media (Laureate Education, 2009b). These new literacies are not intended to replace existing literacies I teach within my seventh grade language arts classroom; rather they are mean to “complement” what it takes to be a skillful reader and writer (Hartman, as cited in 2009b). This revelation, that the scope of my instruction must widen, has already begun influencing my curriculum planning for this coming school year.

This coming year, and moving forward, I am going to build a classroom focus on ALL literacy strategies – traditional and new. For my seventh graders, this begins with understanding the concept of literacies and how literacies are part of all their learning – in school, out of school, in my class, out of my class, via text AND images as well. Ideally, I will use this year to introduce these concepts to my students so they develop a keen sense of how critical literacy skills will enable them to navigate the world at large. Critical literacy helps them to continually develop an inquiring mind (Eagleton & Dobler, 2007) and understanding these literacies will serve them in any grade, any content area and throughout life. In order for my vision to be successful, all educators, within my grade and beyond, would also have to promote and develop these skills across the content areas. This is where I get road blocked; it is not that my students are resistant to learning, but rather that colleagues are sometimes hesitant to enhance or alter their curriculum to achieve a common goal. In their defense, often it is not for lack of wanting to align common goals, but rather a lack of time and resources.

That being said, my personal professional development goal is to identify ways I can help my seventh grade team to address a focus on common literacy goals. In fact, earlier during this course I was moved to share some ideas with a couple of my colleagues; from here I need to follow up and find ways to support them as they move past their comfort zones and enhance lessons via technology integration. Within our district, we address this collaborative work within PLPs, or Professional Learning Partnerships; we are encouraged to inquire and research more effective ways to deliver our curriculum. While teaching my students that inquiry based projects are authentic, creative and tied to the real world (Laureate Education, 2009c), I must practice and model this within my own career. If I am to instruct my students in skills that will help them engage more purposefully as adults (2009c), then my colleagues and I must commit to working together to enhance each other’s lessons for a common goal. Our aligned goals must focus on traditional literacy skills such as reading and writing, but also on the new literacies that will enable our students to access our content while preparing them for a future of lifelong learning in the 21st century.

References
Eagleton, M. B., & Dobler, E. (2007). Reading the Web: Strategies for Internet inquiry. New York: The Guilford Press.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Warlick, D. (Speaker). Skills for the future. [Video Recording]. Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom. Baltimore, MD.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Hartman, D. (Speaker). New literacies. [Video Recording]. Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom. Baltimore, MD.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009c). Armstrong, S. (Speaker). Inquiry based projects. [Video Recording]. Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom. Baltimore, MD.

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