Friday, December 11, 2009

Information Literacy…Authentic Conversation..Globalize Curriculum…

This is from the Langwitches Blog of November 28th, 2009, one of the many wonderful resources I have discovered (like Columbus discovered the Indians, these resources were already there, just wondering when I would bother to board my caravel and bump into them!)

In this video presented by Mobile Learning Institute:

Alan November tours his hometown of Marblehead, MA and comments on the historical global vision of his community. Alan challenges us to think about the emerging role of “student as contributor” and to globalize our curriculum by linking students with authentic audiences from around the world. (For more, read Alan’s article, Students as Contributors: The Digital Learning Farm. http://novemberlearning.com/resources/archive-of-articles/digital-learning-farm/.)


Find more videos like this on NL Connect

This description caught my attention and I started playing the 13 minute video clip. The following thoughts from November resonated with me deeply as I watched and listened:

…[We need to ] convince schools, that we have to globalize the curriculum. We ought to have authentic conversation across the curriculum with people around the world over the Internet. Sadly, most schools use the Internet only to get information. People learn by having conversations and testing each other and trying to figure this out together. We are social beings. Engage kids socially across the web….

Authentic conversation with people from around the world… That is what I keep in my mind as the following project is evolving as a collaboration between myself, sixth grade students, their Social Studies and Hebrew teachers.

Students are participating in a Jewish History Fair. Their topic is “Jewish Communities Around the World.

In the old days...

In the old days...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24707395@N02/ / CC BY 2.0

In the old days… students would have been given a specific topic, sent home, to the computer lab or the library to “look up” information. They would then have to write a report, print out images, glue them on a backboard and “present” that to parents and visitors at the History Fair.

In the 21st Century...

In the 21st Century...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/superkimbo/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In the 21st century, we need to be looking for and addressing something more…

Information Literacy:

  • Online sites and books are still valid information sources, but are they enough to engage students and give them “authentic” sources?
  • Being able to get, evaluate and work with information from a variety of sources, such as books, almanacs, blogs, wikis, video, audio, interviews, etc.

Networking Literacy:

  • Learn about accessing a network of people who can contribute information from their own experiences, on location and customized (personalized) to our own criteria, not the one a publisher or author chose?

Communication skills:

  • being able to interview through a variety of media and communication methods and be familiar with their distinct etiquette.
    • face to face
    • e-mail
    • twitter
    • facebook
    • video conferencing (Skype)
    • texting
    • telephone
  • being able to present the information obtained through a variety a media (video, images, audio)

The topic is “Jewish Communities Around the World”… what better way to allow authentic research to take place than go directly to those communities around the world…this is when it comes in handy to have a network of willing and able people literally AROUND THE WORLD! I was off to send a twitter alert to my PLN.

Cry for Help to my PLN

Cry for Help to my PLN

I received instantly responses. We will have Jews born or currently residing in different countries/continents being interviewed by our students. At this point we have Jews from 12 countries and seven continents who have agreed to be interviewed (Canada, USA, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina, Denmark, England, Scotland, South Africa, Israel, China, Australia) plus two people stationed (currently or in the past) in the Antarctica.

Here is the initial e-mail, describing the project, sent out to these contacts:

The 6th graders at the Martin J Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville, Florida/USA are starting to research for a Jewish History Fair. They will be looking at different Jewish communities around the world.
Students will research with books and via the internet to develop questions that they want to ask Jews who are living on different countries and continents. We want them to interview with /through different media. Some interviews will be face to face here in town, but we would also like to give them the opportunity to conduct interviews via skype, email and twitter in order to strengthen information and media literacy.
One of our main objectives is for students to see commonalities among different communities.

Would you be interested in participating and willing to be interviewed? We would send questions ahead of time, if the interview is conducted via Skype or twitter? This won’t happen until close to the beginning of December.
Please get in contact with me, so I can answer any questions that you might have.

Thank you so much in advance!

After I received confirmation of their willingness to participate as an interviewee, they were then asked to send us a short biography:

We are continuing to work and prepare with our students for the Jewish History Fair: Jewish Communities Around the World. Thank you for agreeing to participate as an Interviewee.
As students are formulating interview questions, they would benefit from having a short biography from you, describing your background and involvement as a Jew in the country you were born in or are currently residing.
The bio only has to be a few short sentence to give our students just a little background.

Our projected time line to work with the students is as follows:

  1. Introduction to project
  2. Introduction to different media, students will be interviewing. Talk about required etiquette of different media…differences…similarities…
  3. Student introduced to biographies of interviewees
  4. Assign Students an interviewee/country/continent
  5. Students will research background information that will help them form an notion of the community interviewee has grown up/is residing
  6. Students will develop questions for the interviewees that will be send ahead of time
  7. Setting up up date and medium of interview to be conducted
  8. Students will interview
  9. Students will connect the information gathered to create their own understanding of Jewish communities, especially commonalities, around the world.
  10. Students decide in what shape and form their will demonstrate what they learned.
  11. Students will produce final product to be displayed with globe and History Fair.

I am getting very excited to observe students and their research outcome as the actual interviews are being conducted. I wonder what media students will prefer and get the most out of? I wonder if certain student personalities/learning styles will naturally gravitate towards one or another media?

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