Ok, apparently I needed therapy and my last post was just that. After I reflected, I looked back and saw that my blog had little to do with the prompt. Holistic writing score “0”… 

In looking at what the skills are needed for students to be able to create and share text globally, we can go back to the basics of writing. Not just mechanics (which many teachers get hung up on), but having the ability to formulating questions, searching, sorting and sifting through sources, validating the credibility, knowing purpose… These skills are a foundation for writing across all mediums. There are many rules to think about before engaging in the endeavor of online content construction, as well as sharing work globally. I know, even with my own experiences, the technicalities of blogging and opening up blogs to be public forums, is scary. School/District policies are in place, however, some are unclear. If we are on the “cutting edge” of what our districts need, then we better be comfortable with what we are sharing/creating. This leads to being informed as how our digital identity is developed, as well as our digital footprint. Who can find me, and what will they find? Professionally, it is of the utmost importance. For students in today’s society, it goes along with “keeping your hands to yourself” and “respecting others.” I see it as such a shift for the teachers, that I am hoping their fear does not hold students back. In Mimi Ito‘s clip on the educational impact of social play, it is clear that teachers need to use what students do outside of the classroom and apply it to learning experiences inside the classroom. This is extremely relevant to what students need in today’s society/classrooms in order to be engaged and developing learners.

In our reading of “Promoting Student Engagement” (Williams, 2013), I discovered that Discovery Education has a platform for students to experience remixing or mash ups of videos to construct their own meaning. Our district subscribes, and I’m already firing off emails and links about possibly working this into our curriculum. Someone is going to hate me for taking these classes… 🙂

Soft skills, hard skills, basic skills… Students need a balance of offline and online support to make their world a place to learn and live in. We need to take what the student know and turn that into learning experiences to teach, grow, nurture and support. We can’t be afraid of what “we” don’t know anymore, and show students we respect their knowledge and become a community of learners, young and old.

The clip from Henry Jenkins describes how students have a richer creative environment outside of school than inside school. If we are constantly looking for ways for students to be engaged, let’s start with their strengths. According to Jenkins, students can use these forums to be parts of online communities, to participate in movements and civic organizations. Teachers need to provide encouragement and validation to help fight the fight.

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