#clmooc Reflections and Connections 2
What am I learning? More than I thought!
Digital Literacies and Connected Learning
Today I attended Doug Belshaw’s The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies (@dajbelshaw) session to introduce his new book of the same name. I listened because, as he said, I want “to have a different attitude and lens on the world.” He has presented an umbrella of concepts to guide our focus, to find a lens that may vary with context. He admits his is not “one definition to rule them all,” but rather another lens from which to view the changing landscape of digital literacy.
In the presentation, he asked us to 1) use #digilit, 2) find definitions of digital literacy, 3) take a selfie of ourselves not the usual [see slide 4 #contextselfie cartoon], and 4) create a meme. Of course, as a “connected learner,” I participated. These tasks reflect our work in #clmooc, because that work is Digital Literacy. Therefore, I shared my definitions of digital literacy with a link to a search on National Writing Project’s Digital.Is. In CLMOOC, we had created avatars, selfies of sorts, as introductions. And this week we created memes, which Doug used to illustrate contextual literacies, a topic much discussed in our Connected Learning CLMOOC Google Plus community. Context Matters, and Doug Belshaw’s Eight Elements of Digital Literacies [slide 16] provide a context to discuss digital literacy– in any of its contexts.
So could the Connected Learning Principles be discussed as The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies ? I briefly reflected on that in this ThingLink [note: there’s a big white space after this and before the next section –for which I have no idea how to eliminate; can’t see it in the code]
As I thought about this lens, I realized that in our Connected Learning CLMOOC Google Plus community, our discussions reflect our contexts, our perspectives, or lens with which to view our world. We learned that we must expand our local and personal ideas to include an openness to ideas and perspectives new to us. Shyam Sharma and Maha Bali wrote about such ideas in their joint reflection of week with memes in CLMOOC:
“In this context, the concept of memes reminded us how local popular culture practices, educational contexts/systems, and linguistic/cultural frames of reference can complicate the opportunity for making learning connected.” “But context-awareness is an important training that we all need to have, not only if we want to engage in educational activities across contexts but also for teaching context-awareness in our physical classrooms.”
But it’s not just across borders that context matters; sometimes it is just across the street, or the bridge in my town. As the blog reminds us, “we need to open our ears and eyes and hearts” because we cannot be stuck in our own world if we are to grow to understand others, which is the dream we have. Even as cultures vary, so do our needs to understand why and how we teach what we do. Rebecca Powell‘s post started a diverse discussion, including the concept of viral memes, and how do we discuss their value [or popularity], good or bad with students? You see, context matters. Because there is interest, what is the critical consideration of them? What fuels these ideas and that power?
What’s the fuel? All of this is literacy, each within a different context as Doug Belshaw presents and CLMOOC participants discover. Connected educators are aware of these issues, and strive to find strategies to continue building connected communities, doing so with both Connected Learning Principles and Elements of Digital Literacies. We will continue to fuel our CLMOOC activities that help us uncover more strategies to be better connected and more digitally literate. But there’s one more thing about which I tweeted during the presenation: My Tweet
“to have a different attitude and lens on the world” #digilit#clmooc via @dajbelshawpic.twitter.com/UJBHrjEwPp — Sheri Edwards (@grammasheri) June 29, 2014
We need a different attitude about learning, and digital literacies. There is no “A” or “4” or “400 point cut off” for digital literacy. There is no threshold. We are learners. Period. We are all at a different point with different interests and talents. And when we are in the ‘zone,’ we’re maximizing our learning. Whatever we are doing, we are learning, and even if we think we’re teaching “inference,” the student may be learning “verifying sources.” Today’s students demand personalized learning because that is what they do outside of school. Our lens should be on the students, no matter what the politicians say. That’s why Kevin Hodgson and Scott Glass started a politically-charged gathering of attitudes that promote 1) what education should not be and 2) what education should be. The messages of educators need to be heard because context matters. As someone said, “We need education memes.” Our classrooms are not props for political maneuvering; they are inspirations for future innovators, but only if we change our focus, our lens, to see and encourage each student’s passions and interests which will guide them to their future opportunities. Our context is not what politicians and corporations understand; they need a real context. Would you add yours? As Peter Kittle said,
A6: Stop closing the door to our classes when we’re doing good but “unconventional” work. Let our practices be seen & spread. #clmooc — Peter Kittle (@pkittle) June 26, 2014
And Joe Dillon and others:
A6: We need memes of the professional learning we respond to. Memes as models. #clmooc — Joe Dillon (@onewheeljoe) June 27, 2014
So, help spread the word for what is true about education: Would you add yours? Community in the Classroom Finally, fuel in the classroom, what would it look like? Jennifer Denslow suggests:
MT @JenniferDenslow I like the idea of using memes to create community. Not tchrs making memes to show class conventions, but Ss. #clmooc — Peter Kittle (@pkittle) June 26, 2014
Building community is what Connected Learning is all about. Look what has been learned through our sharing and connections in our shared purpose of #clmooc ! We are learning through interest and passion with peer support at our own paces. And we want to replicate this personalized, connected learning in our classrooms.
Love this idea. Spin memes for good. @grammasheri #clmooc
— Joe Dillon (@onewheeljoe) June 26, 2014
Memes for good, a fuel for ideas and solutions and community.
So, I have dug deeper into Connected Learning Principles by continuing my journey to understand what I need to do, discovering yet another way to consider my classroom practice. If not for the Connected Learning CLMOOC Google Plus community discussions, my mind might be wearing a single lens, but now I’m wearing a transformable set complete with questions and connections. And, as Verena Roberts tweeted after the presentation, together is better for the long haul:
Couldn’t agree with you more @dajbelshaw Thx for the great #digilit chat! pic.twitter.com/mR1SMWOanB
— Verena Roberts (@verenanz) June 29, 2014
So, here we go into Week 3 as connected learners. I’ve thanked my #f5f with a reflection here, and I’m ready for more fuel… How about you?
Connected Learning Infographic
Connected Learning CLMOOC Google Plus community
Doug Belshaw The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies
I have long struggled with our system’s assumption that learning must occur by a certain time. That’s really what grades are measuring. Not, “Do you meet X standard?” but “Do you meet X standard today, at precisely 12:00 when the exam is completed?” Brain development, as we all know, is fluid – permanently. The African Proverb, so very wise (as usual) will be shared in my spaces – literal and digital, as will my endeavors. Who knows what ripples on my pond may positively impact someone thousands of miles away? Yours, Sheri, have washed over me like a wave! Please keep the cyber-mentoring going.
Thanks, Michelle. It is a struggle, but with more voices rippling the pond, we may reach the ocean and have an effect. “One does what one can,” the sparrow of the middle eastern legend reminds us. We do what we can.
I love how you are tying many threads of your exploration spaces together. Nicely done.