Project Based Learning in Action (short video clip)

Yay, we made it to the end! I know it’s over but I just found this today and thought some of you might be interested.
After reading Miller’s “The Coming Apocalypse” many of us speculated what bringing practical real world problems into the class room might look like. I came across this short video this morning about one school’s work to use project based learning in their school and its successes. Thought some of you might find it interesting. Check it out:

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Technology and Writing

Hey ya’ll,

So I went to the Kirschenbaum lecture on Wednesday, and it was pretty cool.  The talk had a lot to do with forensics in computers, how a file can track changes, and how much that would open up the history of a particular book being written.  I wanted to take a moment to pick everyone’s brains though.

To what extent do you think technology has impacted the writing process itself?  Many authors now write continuously in one file; I know that personally I have to think very hard to avoid having one file open, and rewriting over previous drafts.  In class we discussed how technology has impacted the way we read and process information.  In addition to the question about drafts, do you think hyper-attentiveness has also snuck into the writing process?  Writers can now write on a computer, and do all of their research through google.  Between many writers no longer keeping their old drafts but instead writing over them, having easy access to information they no longer have to physically find in a library or archive, the shirt in the types of books being published, and more distractions and feedback than ever, do you think the way writers write, even the writing process itself, has changed?

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“World’s Most Expensive Book Sold”

Found this on Yahoo News and figured I’d pass it along. It’s not the best version of a book–mainly life size pictures of birds–but it does go on to discuss how much other rare books have sold for. Putting a price on literacy?

Audubon’s “Birds of America”

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“Programming Is the New Literacy”

I ran across this article last evening and felt like it fell into my lap at the most perfect time. This article does a great job of addressing some of the issues we discussed in class Wednesday regarding literacy and computer technology, specifically computer programming literacy. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with the article, but I would love to hear what you guys think, check it out:

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Your Literacy

As we wrap up the semester, for many of us the penultimate semester in our undergraduate lives, I just have a few simple, open-ended questions.

Are you content with your personal literacy? Why or why not?
Are you satisfied with the education you received? What were some educational successes? What would you have changed?

I’ll have to think about this and come back later to answer. Happy portfolio-ing in the meantime!

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Technology and Multitasking

While looking over some articles for my future of literacy paper, I noticed something about the electronics we have today and multitasking.  The newer technology we have, the more we can do on them at once.  Like on almost any cell phone now, for instance, you can play a game and still receive text messages.  Not to mention the IPhone IPad and everything you can do on them.  Do you think this has contributed to the shift from deep attention to hyper attention cognitive style that Hayles is talking about in her paper?

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Internet Lingo and Academic Prose

In doing research for the Future of Literacy project, I keep thinking about the gap that exists between the writing done on the internet and the writing submitted in school. It’s only going to continue-what started off as chat sessions became instant messaging which became texting and facebook chats, etc.

If we say that we want to incorporate technology into classrooms, how do we locate and mark the difference between the more casual language found on the internet and more academic prose–and then teach the difference in a modern classroom? Is there a way we can contain the LOLs and :) from popping up in essays if we so closely incorporate the newest innovations available? The dictionary itself conforms to include newer terms and computer jargon. Do you have any concerns that the English language will grow to incorporate this type of writing, and what do you think that means in terms of being considered “literate” in the future?

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Miller–The Coming Apocalypse

I realize that not everyone might have read this particular article, but I wanted to ask a question pertaining to something that Miller states. He discusses writing as a tool for self-expression, and how today, students have access to many ways of self-sponsored acts of writing (i.e. poems, blogs, screenplays). He takes these ideas further saying that he is more interested in creative thought, rather than critical thinking (148).

Do you think that Miller has the right idea about creative vs. critical? Is this a one or the other situation? How can we, as teachers, generate the environment that promotes either one of these?

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Stimulating thought and producing meaningful work

In Miller’s article on “The Coming Apocalypse” he challenges the way institutions impart knowledge and stimulate thought. He argues that while our world is becoming more global and interactive, our teaching system has remained in the stone age, with kids still learning the same things our parents learned, despite the changing times.

I was impressed by Miller’s analysis of the current education system and his conclusion that we are not giving our students a practical real-world up to date education and that the things being taught in school are irrelevant to our lives, lacking inspiration to generate new thoughts and ideas amongst students.

Watching the video’s Miller recommended in the article reminded me of another innovative teaching process, that like Miller’s project, is geared to generate new ideas on things relevant to our lives now. I once watched a clip on a high school that had one grade read only “Fast Food Nation” and they applied it to every one of their classes. (This reminded me a bit of Miller’s “Reading in Slow Motion” idea). The students read the book and it was looked at through a different perspective in each one of their classes. In biology the students learned about the science behind nutrition, in history they learned about the history of food, specifically, fast food corporations in America. Through the lens of their communication classes they were allowed to report on the effects of fast food in society, etc. The idea is that the students were encouraged to thoroughly read a text, analyze it intensely, and involve themselves in it. The fact that it was a very relevant book at the time really brought students to see the real world applications of these lessons. The students loved it so much they began their own projects relating to their learning; some passed out nutrition info at McDonald’s restaurants to customers, others wrote to editors and such, all choose something that really struck them and went with it. (I am currently looking for a link to this video, it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, I’ll post it as soon as I’ve tracked it down.)

My question is one of working with relevancy. Do you think real current world relevancy is the answer to our educational systems problems? Do you think new ways of real world project based teaching might allow students to generate new ideas and take meaning out of courses? Or do you think there is a reason we stick to these classic texts and pedagogies? Is a child missing something if he reaches age 18 without having read “Catcher in the Rye”?

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Why aren’t we stimulated by deep attention?

When discussing the reasons why individuals are able to maintain motivation to play video games Hayles states, “Stimulation works best… when it is associated with feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness”.

Assuming this claim to be true, why is the current generation less likely to associated these feelings to deep reading? Additionally, does the incorporation of analysis and discussion increase the level of stimulation involved in deep attention?

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