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Tinkering Towards Fluency:Digital Literacy For All

As part of the Edina Staff Kick-off, Candace Doerr-Stevens, a facilitator in the Minnesota Writing Project, and doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota, spoke to staff about Tinkering Towards Fluency: Digital Literacy for All.
The talk was timely, as this year, staff will begin implementing new language arts standards into science, social studies as well as language arts curriculum.
She has been looking at how technology can be used to tell stories. 

She began with a story of a boy who loved to write, and wrote an 8 page story. He loves to create, but doesn't love to read as much.
She asked us to think about...
Tinkering -to play or fiddle with things

Taking risks and trying things is an important thing to be able to do, and creating space for ourselves and our students to take risks is very important. 
Technology can give us tools to tinker and create and explore students.

What is something remarkable that happened to you in 1995? (For me, it was getting engaged!) For Doerr-Stevens, a group of Montana 5th graders in 1995 made a video about the Internet about what they thought it would be like when they were in college.
They were right! In 1995, there were 16 million Internet users. Today, 2.28 billion users!

However, they didn't predict nano-technology and mobile devices.
There is more and more going to be a blur between online and offline behavior. We will have the Internet in more places, such as "Smart Fingertips!"
Many places the students talked about were "static." Today, it's very dynamic! For example, the biography of Neil Armstrong on Wikipedia has been changed dramatically in the last 3 days since his death.
On Twitter, we are currating, creating and distributing content as well.
So What?

  1. Our students will be creating and managing the media content of today and tomorrow.
  2. The digital divide is giving way to the "participation gap."
  3. Humans NEED to "tinker" and create.

Fluent students have much more access to time to create media content. Schools are being asked to provide opportunities for this. This reminds me of a talk Angela Maiers gave on Fluency 3.0 a few years ago.

Digital writing:

  • Online Role-Play
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Documentary Filmmaking
Writing is not going away, but it may not be directly evident.
Then she defined Media Literacy.

Media Literacy -The ability to interact with online content in 4 ways:
  • Access
  • Analyze 
  • Evaluate 
  • Create
Livingston-2005

Doerr-Stevens would add distribute and network content to that list.

Effective ways of Embedding Technology include:

Doerr-Stevens asks 4 basic questions with tech integration:
  1. What content do you want students to explore?
  2. What habits of thinking do you want students to practice? 
  3. For what audience?
  4. Which Hardware and software bests accomplishes this?
This sounded very much like what we asked staff to think about with our iSquared Initiative!
She then shared examples of where good tech integration is happening:
1st graders using voice recorders 

5th Grade PSA "Saving the Holts" from the Georgia Movie Academy


10th grade, Flight For Freedom, a timeline using Dipity.com using Infographics to share learning.
Other examples include using Visual.ly and Many Eyes to make infographics on Childhood Obesity.
Organizing ideas visually is an important skill. Here are some ideas on helping your students create infographics.

She finished with the Mars Curiosity Rover "Call Me Maybe" Mashup.
It was made by a college freshman, who does a great job explaining why he put things together the way he did. There is lots of "play" here! Notice at the end, he sites his sources!!

Doerr-Stevens sees this as a perfect example of all the thinking, research and planning that went into creating, including linking all the lyrics to the images chosen. She then tied it back to the young boy who loves to write, and where that student could be headed.

Digital writing as tinkering is a chance to explore ideas, filter ideas, curate ideas and remix ideas. All of these activities can help our students become digitally literate.
She finished by asking us to create a phrase or idea to write and share at #edinatinkering.
Here were some of the responses.

She closed with Gever Tully talking about tinkering. 

Think about the Internet and Media as woods and nails and how we can use those tools to create. 

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