The PS 124 Media Education Plan: Becoming a 21st Century School
How to become a 21st Century School
Since I started consulting as PS 124 in 2003, it has been a goal of the administration to become a “21st Century School”. What that means is taking shape more and more as schools start to figure out how to make efficient and meaningful use of the technology they’ve accumulated through increased DOE funds, and grants (such as “Reso-A”) aimed at “technology integration”.
Upper grade teachers have been integrating multimedia-based productions and blogging into their curriculum on and off for the past 3 years now, along with general computer use and network training with Mr. Conrad. We have seen successful uses of technology that have taught us about students’ potential for routine use of computers in the classroom, and exposed obstacles that we are adapting to. Over the next year, our aim will be to adopt lessons learned from this experience, and integrate technology and media education into classroom routines aimed at specific goals for students.
The basic goals have been outlined by Ms. Martinez and I, considering my experiences and discussions with upper grade teachers, and broadly defined national technology standards (see below). The finer points will be ironed out classroom to classroom this year.
Goals for Elementary School Students: Technological Fluency and Media Literacy
The first set of goals are related to technological fluency, which we will define as the ability to operate our computers and software to access information and communicate electronically. By the time students are ready to enter middle school they should be able to:
- locate and gather useful information from the Internet, citing sources
- communicate fluently with a computer using combinations of typing, images, recorded voice and other sound
The second set of goals are related to media literacy, a critical awareness of media coupled with fluency in communication using digital tools. By the time students are ready to enter middle school they should be aware:
- of how messages are constructed and communicated using technology in the digital age
- that they have the power, along with anyone who has access to a computer and an Internet connection, to publish their work on the Internet (48 million Americans posted content to the Internet last year)
What follows is a draft of specific skills that can be developed through routine skill-building exercises (see the PS 124 Media Education Plan PDF), and continued project-based learning tied-in to your curriculum maps.
Throughout the year we will fine-tune what skills are appropriate for each grade level and establish basic standards for media education at PS 124 moving forward.
Lower Grade Students (K-2) will:
- know how to turn on the computer, find and open programs
- know how to use a mouse and find letters on the keyboard
- independently use “push-button”, or “point and click” software (like WiggleWorks)
- (grade 2) begin typing practice (on Type 2 Learn, Typing Games like Online PowerTyping, Mr. Kent’s Online Speed Test, or other typing tutor software)
- for more ideas on Media Education for kids see Sesame Street’s Media Literacy Guide on PBSkids.org, or Arthur’s Guide to Media Literacy (includes lesson plans)
Upper Grade Students (3-5) will:
- continue typing practice (see above); eventually moving on to project-based typing practice
- manage and save files on individual computers (grades 3-5), and the school network (grade 5)
- publish typed work to the blog or as printed documents
- be aware of differences between communication through writing and other forms of media (images, video, audio)
- strengthen their written work with digital images, music and narration, and video
- understand the difference between one computer and a network of computers (i.e. our school network, or the Internet)
- understand the interactive nature of the Internet (i.e. by publishing to our blogs)
- cite Internet sources by copying and pasting web addresses (URLs) into typed research papers or blog posts
These goals are broad, and there are many ways to address them. Many of you are already addressing them in your classrooms. Let’s fine-tune them this year, so that you are all clear about what you’re expected to teach, and are comfortable doing so.