This past summer I had the great opportunity to have Valerie Dusza intern with me. While I can only hope she took away as much from me as I did from her, it was her passion for learning and teaching that excited me most. It is why I’m thrilled to see her summer planning of a year long project begin to take shape.
This project is shaped by Mimi Ito, danah boyd, and many other’s work Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out where by the students will begin with that as a framework for continued and authentic research in their local school and community. The goals of this year long project focus on the following among many others:
- Exploration and exposure to social media as learning objects
- Understand the self as learner and the notion of connectivism as a means to how we learn (meta-cognition component)
- Awareness of the influence of social media on self, local community, and beyond
- Awareness of their generational and socioeconomic traits
- Development of research and new media literacy skills.
- Empowerment of self to create social action for the betterment of mankind
In her words, here is where her class is presently. I encourage you to follow this project as it unfolds – it is sure to be an exciting and valuable journey for the students, school, and broader community:
The 8th graders of Volta Elementary, a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) school, are beginning research on social media. They have all chosen topics and are now in the process of researching. They are using a wiki to collaborate with their group members and they are using blogs to discuss their findings on an individual basis. I need your help! The kids don’t think anyone is looking at their research, or their blogs. I think they will take a more serious approach to the research if they receive feedback from the outside world. Please, visit our wiki and their blogs. Leave comments, questions or any insight into their topic- They’ll love it!!
With Apple’s Challenge-Based Curriculum as a framework and ideas drawn from practitioner work by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay on the Horizon Project (and many others) and Henry Jenkins‘ New Media Literacies (pdf), this project is going to be something to watch over the next year:
Quarter One: Social Media and Today’s Youth
Quarter Two: A Futurist Look
Quarter Three: Social Action
Quarter Four: “Ideas Worth Spreading” Volta Style
Please join me in supporting these students and their teacher who are taking risks and challenging each other to new heights. Their work is valuable research both locally and globally, and our support will surely go a long way in showing that their voices are important!
cc licensed flickr photo by dkuropatwa: http://flickr.com/photos/dkuropatwa/4766403166/