Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rebooting the News...What ARE the critical Skills for 21st C literacy?

One of the things that ed tech folks are always talking about is that we all seem to be barking about how important technology integration ONE ANOTHER. Well, this past weekend I had an amazing experience at a gathering in Philadelphia entitled
"Rebooting the News:An Agenda for 21st Century Civic Engagement"
I have to admit, I was first drawn to the event through my affiliation with Temple Media Education lab, and after all did have "21st Century" in the title, but when I arrived at dinner on Thursday evening hosted by Renee Hobbs director of Temple's Media Education Lab I thought "I am totally out of my element... Here I am hob nobbing with journalists, and news people, what is my purpose" You will see that I discovered that by the end of my post ;-)

The format of the conference followed the Open Space Philosophy. There was very little scheduled in the way of formal sessions, again something that made me a little unsure as to what my goal was in being here...In a nutshell, they started with some overall goals:
  • Consensus statement on need for civic/news education frameworks in K-12 teaching
  • How to make news a vital part of education
  • Knowing how to use news lit / media lit to create a culture that thinks deeply and communicates effectively.
  • Coming up with new idea about what “news” means
  • Opening up new possibilities to work together for news literacy
  • Thinking about if we can change the economic structure of the news industry so it isn’t profit driven but focused on the public interest?
  • Talk about how can journalism education be reinstated in school curriculum
  • What news literacy really looks like in a middle school or high school classroom
  • A news literacy outline that everyone agrees would work in classrooms.
  • A consortium of people in different fields pushing for cross-curriculum media literacy.
..then we posed interesting Conversations: that people selected to attend and then report out on.
...and ended with creating statement that to me really represents literacy across the curriculum

I was really blown away not only by the process, but that by the end of the weekend we had reached a consensus statement about the importance of news literacy. Here is what was concluded:
A consensus statement of participants in "Rebooting the News:"

News surrounds us and as such news literacy is an essential life skill for everyone. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson: Knowledge of current issues is essential to informed citizenship in a democracy. We are concerned about the effects of media messages on children and others. Modern participatory culture makes every citizen a potential creator of news in social media, blogs, email and the web. We believe a literate citizen understands the purposes, processes and economics of news.

Therefore, it is time for American education to include the acquisition of 21st-century, critical-thinking skills for analyzing and judging the reliability of news, differentiating among facts, opinions and assertions in the media we create and distribute. News literacy standards can be research based in multiple content areas. It can be taught most effectively in cross-curricular, inquiry-based formats at all grade levels. It is a necessary component for literacy in contemporary society.

Signed at Philadelphia, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008:
At the beginning of the weekend the focus was on news do we get students / people to critically analyze the news, how do we involve the news in curriculum...But I realized that it is not just NEWS to which this statement applies AND it is not just the ed tech folks who are concerned about school reform learning reform and 21st Century skills. I have spent the time since the conference reflecting on the statement and these words...
  • 21st-century, critical-thinking skills for analyzing and judging
  • differentiating among facts, opinions and assertions
  • research based in multiple content areas
  • inquiry-based formats at all grade levels
Go ahead...fill in the blanks on the subject, science, math, literature, use of technology...isn't THIS what we are ALL barking about? An answer to the question
WHAT ARE THE necessary component(s) for literacy in contemporary society?
You know what...journalists should have some concern about what is happening to news, the form it takes and the consequences of it.

On Tuesday, the Christian Science Monitor announced they would no longer be creating a print version...
Wednesday, October 27th David Carr New York Times: Mourning Old Media's Time was a wake up call to everyone who grew up in a world where we took newspapers for granted.
Did you know that this coming Sunday marks Opus's Last Day in the Sunday Comics

The funny thing is... we were still in a paper only era, I would never have come to know ANY of this "news", as I found the article via Will Richardson's message on twitter regarding a post he wrote about this article that I am sure he found via his RSS reader. I also learned of the connection between Reading, Writing, and Social Media literacy from following Will on Twitter. Dennis Richards summarized this information from the NYTimes Article on his blog regarding the challenges of reporting news in the future...

1 - number of movie reviewers left on staff of The Los Angeles Times
1 - number of dollars TV Guide was sold for
2 - number of days the Christian Science Monitor will publish each week in the future
5 - number of days the Christian Science Monitor will not publish each week in the future
40 - percent of people The Star-Ledger of Newark, the 15th-largest paper in the country, will cut from it’s editorial staff
50 - percent of people The Los Angeles Times has left in the newsroom after 7 years of reductions
90 - percent of revenue the newspaper industry still derives from the print product
600 - number of people Time Inc., the Olympian home of Time magazine, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated, announced that it was cutting
3,000 - number of people Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, plans to lay off 10 percent of its work force

~ Information from Mourning Old Media’s Decline, David Carr

In the comments of Will's post, David Jakes left a great comment referencing EPIC 2014 a video created by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson with music by Aaron McLeran based on a presentation they gave at the Poynter Institute which explores the effects that the News aggregators, Web 2.0 technologies, blogging, social networking, and user participation may have on journalism and society at large in a hypothesized future. I was glad to read Joel Adkin's comment leading me to Chris Brogan's post: Reach Outside your Fishbowl ~ which led me to 2 people outside of MY fishbowl to follow and learn from. I found reading my own aggregator that David Warlick put his 2¢ in on Going online Only.

As I was still pondering the conference and all of these recent articles surrounding news, and the importance of "news literacy" as an important learning skill, I came across a pretty heated conversation on twitter that Jakes had stirred up, that may have been sparked by the panel he recently moderated at Tech Forum...“Are there new literacies that connective technologies create? ..or do these tools afford the attainment of a literacy in a different way?
AND “People want schools to be better, but not different.” Do you believe this to be true? How exactly does Web 2.0 make schools better? Rather than trying to summarize all of the great arguments about tech, and news, and skills and learning, I used summize, skitch, omnigraffle, and scribd to put together a montage of a conversation I am calling Twitter on Literacy! Go on read for yourself...

What I find most interesting about all of this is that I am pretty sure ALL of the folks I linked to in this post will find it with the subscriptions they have through technorati to their own citizen journalism....

Citizen Journalists, New Media, News Literacy, Web2.0 for School Reform, Critical Skills for 21st Century...
We are all saying the same thing...and we all should be concerned until we can work TOGETHER outside of our fishbowls or echo chambers to tackle these tough questions..

SO... I go back to the original question(s) that have been rattling around in my head for ...well quite some time now...
WHAT ARE THE necessary component(s) for literacy in contemporary society?
How do we break out beyond our own "learning networks" to cross pollinate and share the same message?
AS Will eloquently put it...The problem for us is that we’re still teaching like our kids are going to be reading those edited, linear, well-written newspapers when the reality is they’re not. And the bigger problem is that, by and large, we still don’t know enough about the “new” media world in our personal practice to push those conversations about change in any meaningful way.

Would love to hear your thoughts?
OH and while you are at it, why not pass this post on to someone outside your echo chamber

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Bob Sprankle wrote an interesting article the other day called Who-ogle Are You...
since I think about this ALL the time, and it is time for my reflective "birthday post" I thought I would take time to reflect on my life on line and how much it has really come to mirror my personal and professional life.

Bob raised some interesting questions about when folks switched from a pseudonym to real identity online and what we should be teaching kids. I started using groups as someone else, but never really felt like "myself" as a result. over the past 3 years I have attended and trained at the PA Keystone Summit, worked as a Classrooms for the Future coach, attend Discovery Educator Network conferences regionally and Nationally, PETE & C and several NECC conferences. I feel blessed that I have gotten a chance to meet quite a number of remarkable folks face to sit across the dinner table or in the blogger's cafe and have some incredible conversations about education, learning, and LIFE! I wanted to be able to continue these conversations, to meet who they were talking to, and to learn MORE! I appreciate when folks use their "real self" avatars and remember last winter approaching Diana Laufenberg at educon to "introduce" myself..yet I felt like I already knew her "story" so well from "following her" online. I have to admit, the of someone "following me" was kind of creepy at first, because I had those warnings that I shouldn't reveal my identity online...but the more I got to know others online, and the more opportunities I had to meet folks face to face the more I realized the power and value of these online relationships. Trying to maintain ONE online identity I have been able to find my "friends" no matter what new group or tools I try sure...and my friends find me...

Some people meet Kristin Hokanson and use @khokanson to stay connected. Some get to know @khokanson for the things I write online. I am a pretty transparent person so what I represent online is who I am...I don't feel the need to keep separate identities and to wake up on my birthday to this many wishes via email, skype, twitter, facebook, and face to face or cell phone calls is a good visual of the power of the network.

So to all my friends...thanks for the birthday wishes. I am glad that you are a part of my life!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Our Digital Responsibility

Today we will be discussing our digital responsibility at CFF bootcamp from 8:15 - 9:15 EST and 9:30 - 10 :30 EST at CFF Bootcamp. We will be covering it live blog style from at least 2 locations. Will be interesting to see how this goes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What would you tell the candidates...

Would you like the chance to tell Barack Obama and John McCain your thoughts about how to improve American education?'s your chance...
Teacher's First a non profit service offering a huge collection of online resources for educators at all levels is conducting a survey to ask teachers to prioritize the following list of issues in education. Top on the list... assuring equal access to adequate facilities, equipment, and materials followed by findingalternatives to standardized testing; encouraging greater parent involvement; strengthening teacher preparation; improving physical safety; emphasizing math, science, and information literacy; strengthening early learning and pre-K programs; improving access to technology; finding ways to reward good teaching; funding universal after-school programs; involving the business community; and extending the school day and year.

Check out this Market Watch article then take the survey and look at the full results

What would YOU tell the candidates about the state of American education if you could?

Humbled by some AMAZING Educators

This week coaches for PA Classrooms for the Future are at Bootcamp...this means a 7 am - 9pm day full of information that we can use to help support our teachers in effective technology integration. This morning we got to listen to some of the teachers share what they are doing in their classrooms and honestly all I can say is WOW! The level of rigor and relevance in the activities and day to day assignments BLEW ME AWAY...we got to see 4 teachers one in each core content area, but across the state there were 16 model teachers sharing what they do. Our group took some notes which I am embedding below and am also putting some links to sessions that came through out cross state skype backchannel.

As Diane Castelbuono, PA Deputy Secretary of Education said as she addressed the group at lunch to continue her support of the grant and reinforce that this initiative is NOT ABOUT THE LAPTOPS..It's about transforming how teachers teach and how students learn...
CFF is not about the latest educational fad it is about utilizing technology in effective ways
60 % change classroom set up from rows to learning WANT to be in class and learning is shifting to students...they are producing and they are proud of their work.

Coaches need to provide instructional strategies that meet instructional goals and craft rigorous lessons. I am lucky to work in a place where there is a broad network of support. Take some time to explore some of the great things happening across the Commonwealth of PA!


We are STRUGGLING with our network connectivity...but here are some of the things I wanted to archive from the skype chat to go back and look at later on and save to diigo

book video shared by model lesson teacher for Poetry Webcasts awesome math wiki!

model teacher sharng AWESOME Costa Rica trip podcasting wiki:
the science teacher from aly's school used podbean to host a podcast, and then grabbed the embeddable player code to embed onto her wiki - good stuff alas, we have no teacher webspace...podbean hosts vodcasts too

Lesson idea for Language Arts using who ever wrote the card as a character create a character based on it - character prompt
links from English session at NC: for intro to layered curriculum

What is freedom unit SHS Delaware County
and blog: gifted geom project

CFF Anne Van Meter-Jenkintown 10:26 AM
Have you all seen the "doing what works" site? Videos of teachers teaching! for example

Through out the week these are

During the session Coaches created

Other Comments
Model Lessons are great. We need 5 minute or less vodcasts/screencasts of these lessons so we can share them with CFF Teachers and Administrators

Monday, October 13, 2008

Does PD= Learning?

@teach42 Sorry, but my response to this tweet is going to be just a few more than 140 characters... I know you want to know how much of pd/learning is self directed. So I found it interesting that so many folks shared high percentages of self directed professional development. I started to wonder if it is because the folks on twitter are innovators ~that we like to experiment and lean things on our own or on our own with others....but then I thought again, I have been to many workshops where the presenter stands before the teachers delivering content from a well crafted script, with little differentiation or understanding of needs of the audience. They have a very well planned professional development workshop, designed to deliver a message that we should learn. Ivlisten as teachers all grumble ...

I wonder @teach42 if the better question to not what kind of PD are you involved with, but what you learn best from...AND WHY!!!!!

If we asked these questions about professional development...what motivates us to learn....if it was infused into our professional LEARNING practice, perhaps it would filter down into instruction as well.

Now I pose my twitter poll...
Is attending a professional development....workshop, conference, fill in the blanks, and learning the same? Go ahead...answer me here...I'll give you >140 characters...thoughts?

An Invitation...

Rebooting the News: Reconsidering an Agenda for American Civic Education

It's no question I have been spreading the message lately that we need to start getting kids to think about media messages and analyze media messages especially with the media surrounding the upcoming election. There is an exciting opportunity in Philadelphia this month...a short, strategic convening for journalists to find common purpose with teachers, educational administrators and public-policy researchers on the meaning and teaching of news literacy. This event is occurring because there is an epic change underway in the way American citizens prepare themselves for self government and it's time to consider what to do about it.
  • Younger Americans are abandoning traditional news products in large numbers. Yet a growing number of teen-agers and young adults are highly engaged with media in multiple forms.
  • American newspapers endure their worst year in decades; yet the Daily Kos political website records 33 million "hits" in one month and online political fund-raising is setting records.
Journalists, teachers, public-policy researchers, engaged citizens...should we be concerned? Do these changes threaten participatory democracy or promise to enliven it? This year, the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) adopted news literacy as a critical focus for its membership with a kickoff gathering in August at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Now The Media Giraffe Project, the Media Education Lab at Temple University and the National Constitution Center invite you to help answer this question – and develop a set of news literacy strategies for our communities and for the nation.

With "Rebooting the News: Reconsidering an Agenda for American Civic Education," they will try to answer this question ..and more...
How can we best help young people engage with news media in ways that help them understand and contribute to contemporary society
Hosted by the Media Education Lab at Temple University in collaboration with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies this event will take place at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia October 23rd - 25th and will be attended by Howard Schneider, dean of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism; Ellen Hume of the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT; and a host of other participants.

While the program is limited to 50 delegates to ensure a dynamic conversation keep your eyes opened for ways to to attend virtually and see session conversations that will be archive. I for one have registered and am looking forward to engaging in some of these critical conversations...are they happening at your schools? IF NOT, come to Philadelphia next weekend and get the ball rolling...