High School at the End of the World

I’m nose-down into reading for my second doctoral exam, which is probably why I have 2,601 unread blog posts in my reader. With the memory of my recent excursion into a “good” public school fresh in my mind, this one caught my eye today (and it’s only dated February 20.)

From their blog, Everyday Literacies, Michele Knobel & Colin Lankshear post:

We’re very happy to announce we have a new edited book that’s just come out. It’s called DIY Media: Creating, Sharing and Learning with New Technologies, and aims at being a really hands-on, practical text for anyone interested in tinkering and mucking around with a range of new literacy practices.

From the back cover:

Schools remain notorious for co-opting digital technologies to “business as usual” approaches to teaching new literacies. DIY Media addresses this issue head-on, and describes expansive and creative practices of digital literacy that are increasingly influential and popular in contexts beyond the school, and whose educational potential is not yet being tapped to any significant degree in classrooms. This book is very much concerned with engaging students in do-it-yourself digitally-mediated meaning making practices. … Each chapter opens with an overview of a specific DIY media practice, includes a practical how-to tutorial section, and closes with suggested applications for classroom settings.

http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

As maddening as it is to watch teachers fit digital technologies to the old, old ways of thinking about teaching and learning– specifically, English– I can, for just a moment, feel a pang of empathy. How can we expect people who have no experience with exploring the new landscapes of literacy to understand the profundity of the shifts that are possible?

I can only liken their befuddlement to the response of the philosophers & clerics of  Galileo’s time. When he declared his support for the Copernican theory that the earth wasn’t at the center of the universe, these leaders were so furious they  turned him over to the Inquisition. Eventually he ended up under house arrest for the rest of his life.

Kind of like being in high school.

4 responses to “High School at the End of the World”

  1. kmcg2375 says:

    I think this book looks great – I’ll have to order it soon! I’m finishing my doctoral dissertation right now (in Australia) so no trips outside to the bookshop for me, lol 😉

    I have been discussing this issue with a few colleagues recently, and the same issue is coming up – the difference between changing pedagogy, and just fitting the new (= digital) into the old. I was surprised that not everyone had thought of it this way yet. But many teachers are struggling, getting very burnt out, because digital practice is not sitting comfortable with teacher-centred, non-constructivist pedagogy.

  2. Karen says:

    I’m not sure I see a transformation happening quickly or soon, but it has to happen.

    The shift in teacher beliefs about their role is where teacher ed. has the potential to make a difference, either through inservice ed for teachers in the field or teacher preparation programs.

  3. very simply explained. It is indeed an art to read & stop new visitors with your attractive writing style. I am really impress from your posted information. Thanks for sharing.

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