Along with the Council’s outdated name (there’s so much more to it than teaching “English” in our globally connected world), their report, published in The Council Chronicle in 2009, gives little attention to what makes literacy in the 21st century so powerful, authentic publishing, Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), connecting via social media, establishing a professional digital footprint. There’s mention of MySpace (that’s like so five years ago), and social media software (uh, it’s not technically software), but nothing about the biggies like Facebook, Twitter, Ning. And, nothing about ditching the paper and hopping on the eReading and writing bandwagon.
The report suggests that global economies, new technologies, and exponential growth in information are transforming our society. Today’s employees engage with a technology-driven, diverse, and quickly changing “flat world.” English/language arts teachers need to prepare students for this world with problem solving, collaboration, and analysis—as well as skills with word processing, hypertext, LCDs, Web cams, digital streaming podcasts, smartboards, and social networking software—central to individual and community success.
Ugh. the report clearly was not written by those involved in the world of 21st century literacies. The language is outdated, key pieces are missing, and my personal bias, no...kids and teachers don’t need to use smartboards. The myth that they’re used as anything more than a projection tool in the real world of business is one the IWB companies are thrilled educators have bought into.
Wanting to give the NCTE the benefit of the doubt, I thought perhaps their 2009 policy brief Writing Outside of School may have touched on some of this. Nope. Okay, there’s some dabbling in the authentic use of online tools but the digital immigrant accent shines through loud and clear with examples that don’t make a lot of sense for instance: Two middle schoolers keep and share online journals in which they write reviews of music and films. Really? They keep online journals to write reviews of music and film. This is not how middle schoolers review music and film, and for the record, they don’t say “film.” Just not seeing that as the medium for this activity. Post comments and rate music and videos on YouTube is more in alignment with what students are doing. Another suggests: A teenager joins a group of his peers at 826 Valencia and reads his poem aloud. How about he posts his poem online to an authentic audience who rates, comments, and provides feedback becoming part of the student’s personal learning network where he connects with others with similar passions.
Looking at what I consider the big five, PLNs, social media, authentic publishing, eReading, and establishing a digital footprint, the NCTE gives little focus or attention to what is arguably some of the most important types of communicating our students need to learn to do. Here’s my suggested reading for the NCTE.
Crucial reading to develop the big five of 21st century literacy
PLNs, social media, authentic publishing, eReading, digital footprint development.
To help educators support students in authentic publishing read:
- Just Say Yes to Publishing! Exposing The Man Behind the Curtain If He’s Still Saying No.
- 21st Century Educators Don’t Say, “Hand It In.” They say, “Publish It!
- The Secret To Getting Every Student Excited About Writing
- Innovative Educators Can Help Students and Themselves Become Published Authors
- A few strong cases for ditching the paper and letting books grow digital wings
- Shed the Paper and Allow Books to Grow their Digital Wings
- Social Books Unlock Reader’s Voice and Provide Opportunity for Conversation
- iPads? Eh! Social Reading from Your Phone? Now That's Innovation!
- Ditch Paper and Get to the Thinking Faster.
- How I Lost 20 Pounds in One Month On a Paperless Diet
- Read and Personalize Books for Free with MeeGenius
- Innovative Ideas for Using Cell Phones to Summarize and Take Notes
- Reading 2.0: Where is the Love?
- The End of Books? (For Me, At Least?)
- Why social media curriculum is critical in schools
- 8 Real Ways Facebook Enriched Ms. Schoening’s First Grade Class
- Using Facebook with Students Becomes A Global Conversation via CNN
- Video Rebuttal to Educational Leaders and Parents On The Social Media Ban Wagon
- Why Every Parent and Teacher Should Learn MySpace and Facebook and A 30-Day Guide To Losing Your Digital as a Second Language (DSL) Accent
- Keep Your Students Connected This Summer with A Social Network
- How I Use Social Networking to Keep My Students Engaged All Summer Long
- The PLN Matures. The Progression of the 21st Century Personal Learning Network
- Innovative Ideas for Getting Teachers Excited About Building Their Personal Learning Networks Real Time from Hunterdon Central Regional High School
- 5 Ways to Build Your 1.0 and 2.0 Personal Learning Network
- Why I *STILL* Love the Phrase Personal Learning Network
- 5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network.
- 5 Readings and 2 Videos to Help Others Get Going with Personal Learning Networks
- How Blogging Has Helped Me Build My Personal Learning Network
- Controlling your digital identity is as easy as 1-2-3
- Don’t Silence Students. A Resource to Support Students In Developing Their 2.0 Voice
- The 6 Step Plan to Using Your 21st Century Voice to Make a Difference
- Teaching Kids how to manage their Digital Footprint
- Ideas for parents interested in helping students manage their digital footprint and effectively participate in social media.