We are joined by Ed Martinez, +Fred Mindlin, and Dan Spelce to discuss "Forage IV," a pilot program supported in part by NWP's collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Literacy Initiative.
Integrating art with environmental education, we support teachers in linking their existing curriculum to a student-led interest-driven project, collaborating with practicing artists.
This story helps us put learning narratives next to this description of connected learning from The Digital Media & Learning Research Hub http://dmlhub.net/ :
Connected learning environments are designed around production, providing tools and opportunities for learners to produce, circulate, curate, and comment on media. Learning that comes from actively creating, making, producing, experimenting, remixing, decoding, and designing, fosters skills and dispositions for lifelong learning and productive contributions to today’s rapidly changing work and political conditions.
This webcast is one in a series that we've been doing recently where we are asking: Where are the classrooms that are doing this well and how do they ensure that the other principles are in place?
Forage III hanging in a window of the Ritt in Santa Cruz, CA
Ten videos. One year. A public school trying to help children learn and grow. The national conversation we need to be having.
Monika Hardy and Chris Sloan host David Loitz who welcomes director, Amy Valens along with the series narrator and education activist, Sam Chaltain . Mission Hill teacher, Jenerrad Williams and Mission Hill parent, Bob Goodman join the conversation as well. And that's not all. We are also joined by IDEA organizers and educators, Jabreel Chisley and Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price.
At IDEA, we're proud to be one of the partners behind "A Year at Mission Hill." The project began when filmmakers Tom and Amy Valens spent a year filming at the school community of Mission Hill, with plans for a full documentary release in fall 2013. The web series came together when Tom and Amy reached out to educator and news commentator Sam Chaltain. Sam brought together http://Ashokaashoka.org, IDEA http://democraticeducation.org/index.php/index/, and the NoVo Foundation http://novofoundation.org around the idea of making a series of short episodes to highlight a year in the life of Mission Hill. Under IDEA's leadership, the concept grew into a larger opportunity to share the story across an eclectic coalition of education organizations, schools, and nonprofits. Currently, more than 40 community partners http://ayearatmissionhill.com/index.php/partners will be sharing the film series and offering their own resources to deepen viewers' learning around each chapter.
Maybe you are like Chris Sloan who says, "I'm hooked on the videos A Year at Mission Hill, looking forward to Part 4!"
Or maybe you're just learning of this effort to reimagine public education.
Either way, we invite you to join this important conversation by listening to this episode of TTT.
Click Read more to see the chat that was happening during this live webcast.
To get the full effect, take a moment to find some string before you listen to this episode of TTT. How much? Fred says, "About two meters or a little over 6 feet is usually a good length. Hold the string between your two hands stretched out as wide as they go, then add about 6 inches."
Fred explains that he was "inspired by the session we had with teachers using Minecraft, where we explored an online game world via another virtual world, http://edtechtalk.com/node/5102 and I was intrigued by whether it would be feasible to explore a meatspace game in our virtual Teachers Teaching Teachers forum." He sees "string games as a gateway to keyboarding and creativity or finger calisthenics, and computer keyboarding: media magic for tradigital storytelling."
Playing games with string is a human cultural universal. This ancient art form is surprisingly helpful in developing both the manual dexterity and strength needed for computer keyboarding. The approach I use for teaching string games to groups also provides a helpful practice ground for some of life's essential skills: creativity, resilience, cooperation, and storytelling.
And that's not all. Here's an excerpt and a couple of photos from a post that Diana wrote shortly after this episode of TTT:
There were some great quotes that Chad, a fellow participant, shared via Twitter. (I can't recall them all - they were things like "it's important to model failure" and "string games are 'digital' fun".) What I realized was how potent teaching string games would be to analyze your own teaching practice. Listening to Fred teach the group how to make a 3-pronged spear made me hyper-aware of how important detailed, clear instructions are, and the different learning styles at play. The first time I tried it, I failed. The second time, when Fred re-explained and added a few "notice this part here" tips, I did it! I cheered pretty loudly when I succeeded. My webcam wasn't working on Google +, so I convinced my daughter to take a photo of my accomplishment.
I made a 3-pronged spear! Here's proof!
A less complimentary shot of me, with my string jedi master Fred on-screen
Fred mentioned that there are several books and YouTube videos that explain, step by step, how to make different shapes. I think I need a person near me to give feedback (though the string collapsing in unrecognizable shapes is pretty immediate feedback too). I gave myself a goal - to teach the kids in my SK and Grade 7 classes how to make the 3-pronged spear and do it to music at a June assembly. I'm repeating it here so it'll be my contract to myself to try it out and report what results.
As an introduction to this conversation, we offer these reflections posted by one of our listeners on her blog, "Short Quips: thinking in (hyper)text" (Check out here blog, to see this teacher's complete response, and view her About Me.):
Tonight I participated in my first live educational conference online through EdTechTalk. The conference is called “Teachers Teaching Teachers” and takes place every Wednesday night. I did not join the group via video, but rather just watched/listened to the other participants and participated through a live chat feature....
It took me a while to catch up to what was being discussed. Participants were throwing around the term “Youth Voices” and I thought at first that it was just a cool catch phrase for high school kids who were blogging. It wasn’t until i joined the live chat that I got a better idea of what Youth Voices is. Youth Voices, it turns out, is a huge site where the main purpose is to offer a space for youth to participate in discussion. It is a place where youth can post their thoughts and comment on other youth’s thoughts....
One of the discussions among the video participants revolved around how teachers should/are assessing their student’s contributions on Youth Voices. One educator shared how she is setting guidelines for how much/what her students need to contribute to Youth Voices within a specific time frame. For example, she will stipulate that her students need to write one post and make one comment within a week, and if they do both they get the marks for it. This particular educator works at a school in the Bronx and has found that participating in Youth Voices has empowered her students to have their voices heard. She noted how much time and effort can be put into a short comment, because the students are very aware of their online presence and ensuring they present themselves appropriately.
... It was an interesting experience to view it. I think the biggest thing I got out of the experience was that I was also able to network with educators from far and wide- always a positive when you are working on developing your professional learning network.
... I would love to come back to join in a conversation in the future, especially if I am looking for information specifically related to the topic being discussed. I am curious to know whether there are any live educator chats/conferences specifically for Early Childhood Educators. If you know of one, pass it on!
Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.