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Why Johnny Can't Read: A Conversation About What It Means to Be Literate...Today

Browse recordings: livestream.com/educon1

Session Four: Sunday 10:30am–12:00pm
Room 204
David Jakes, Laura Deisley
Affiliation: David Jakes: Coordinator of Instructional Technology and Information Services at Glenbrook South High School (Chicago) Laura Deisley: Director of 21st Century Learning at The Lovett School (Atlanta)
Conversational Focus/Audience:
All School Levels
Conversation Description:

As we incorporate connective technologies in our classrooms, what are the worst consequences of our best ideas? (Chris Lehman)

Effective application of technology to learning requires a fundamental grounding in educational theory and practice. Understanding literacy, and how technology can serve to support the development of skills associated with a literate person, is a necessary component of effective educational practice. With that in mind, this conversation will help EduCon participants understand the shifting notion of what it means to be literate, and how that applies to the timeless processes of reading and writing.

Nicholas Carr argues that "Google Makes Us Stupid" and we now live in a world of The Shallows. Clay Shirky notes that [t]he literary world is now losing its normative hold on culture. Richard Foreman observes that the "complex, dense and 'cathedral-like' structure of the highly educated and articulate personality" is at risk. Jason Ohler postulates being literate in a real-world sense means being able to read and write using the media forms of the day, whatever they may be.

Are our ideas of what it means to be literate changing? Are traditional forms of literacy being replaced by new literacies? Does connective reading and writing change us? Are we sacrificing depth for breadth? Is individual critical thinking becoming lost in the crowd?

In this session we will examine our own read/write/think lives. How have our own reading and writing habits changed? Those of our students? What is our role as educators in preserving traditional forms of literacy? Incorporating the new?

Conversational Practice:
* We'll begin by asking individuals to conceptualize their definition of what it means to be literate. They will then share that with a larger group, and then with the full audience. * We'll then present compelling ideas from Carr, Shirkey, as well as Jason Ohler and Donald Leu that may alter their perceptions and challenge them to reshape their ideas of literacy. * The conversation will then move towards a consideration of new literacies, and if such really exist? (attention literacy, etc) * From there, the group will explore literacy as a centering concept that supports and directs the wide-ranging application of connective technologies to fundamental skill areas, such as reading and writing. * We'll then discuss reading and writing, changes associated with these learning processes, and the future directions. * Finally, we'll ask them to share one actionable next step that they can take back to their school district or organization that will serve to extend the EduCon experience.


Jay Brown Jay Brown said:

I'm not seeing the Webcast for some reason, but I wonder how Google makes us stupid? I would argue it is what people do with Google that might be considered stupid. Google is a tool. Tools don't make us stupid, however using a hammer to slice bread is certainly a waist of dough.

Sun 30 Jan 2011 10:49:39 AM EST