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PS 124 Media Ed plan for Staff

August 27, 2007

Establishing technological confidence “on the fly” as a staff

digital natives at workThe tricky part of adapting a curriculum for new media and technology, is that the Internet and consumer tools for digital communication have taken off over the past decade, and U.S. educators have yet to develop standards for teaching with and about them. This is often described as a disconnect between “digital immigrants” (teachers), and “digital natives” (students).

The DOE’s Department of Instructional Technology “envisions every New York City student using technology to reach high academic standards in a technology-rich environment”, but hasn’t outlined what that should look like. For technology standards, they points us to the National Educational Technology Standards, which are congruous with the plan we’ve outlined above, but do not indicate when students should acquire what skills and when.

Regardless, these tools are becoming integral to how our society communicates, and our students are increasingly more comfortable with them than they are with traditional print media. We as educators need to have a basic understanding of how they function in our society, and how and where our students will interact with them as citizens, then to agree on what we are responsible for teaching them.

PS 124 is taking on this issue by integrating media education into the traditional curriculum.  The goal will be to develop a “culture of confidence” in which teachers and students alike routinely communicate using traditional language skills on 21st century media (the Internet, and blogs), and openly acknowledge how these digital media (including television, video, & film) have unique ways of communicating, using print as the basis for comparison.

I know some of us use computers more than others, and this is an issue when it comes to adapting school-wide policies that require the use of technology. Using the PS124 Staff Blog for in-school announcements and progress reports can be an easy first step in establishing that school-wide confidence. Your classrooms are equipped with working computers connected to the Internet (let us know immediately if they’re not!) If each teacher sets their “homepage” on the computer they use most often to the staff blog (http://ps124staff.wordpress.com), and makes an effort to routinely participate as a reader and author, we will insure that our level of media literacy raises to the level we’re expecting from the kids, and you will discover new teaching opportunities connected to the technology!

HOWEVER no one will not get into this habit if we do not collectively produce fresh content on the blog. The following goals for staff should make this a non-issue.

Goals and routines for maintaining our school websites

  • all staff should be checking the blog weekly (at least) and contribute through “comments” or new “posts” (by setting it as their home page);
  • all office and administrative staff should be registered for personal accounts on WordPress.com, with their own username and password;
  • office staff should duplicate all paper announcements on the PS 124 Staff Blog
  • teachers should post a brief monthly report (like a bulletin board — this can include digital photos, etc., or just be a paragraph or two) of what their class is up to on the PS 124 Public Blog
  • when there is a party or event that Donna or Nicole are organizing for staff, they should post information on the staff blog, and people should RSVP online as comments

In addition to continuing my focus on media education plan taking hold in the upper grades, I will be conducting PD sessions throughout the Fall to get you all comfortable carrying out these tasks, and helping you get comfortable with the tools you have in your classroom.

The digital natives may be more fluent than we are with certain technologies, that’s ok! It is our responsibility to make sure they round out and direct those skills in ways that enhance their learning, and help them understand their role as participants in the emerging digital culture. Go for it — I’m here to help!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 28, 2007 1:30 am

    Holy smokes! (fresh content)

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