- The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.Henry Van Dyke
Digital beginnings: Young children's use of popular culture, media and new technologiesAuthors: Jackie Marsh, Greg Brooks, Jane Hughes, Louise Ritchie, Samuel Roberts and Katy Wright
Report of the "Young Children"s Use of Popular Culture, Media and New Technologies" Study, funded by BBC Worldwide and the Esmée Fairbairn FoundationLiteracy Research Centre University of Sheffield 2005
- Towards a new literacy, as children and youth remake and hack gaming into new forms of collaborative media.
- From MIT Press (available also a a free eBook from MIT):Conventional wisdom about young people's use of digital technology often equates generational identity with technology identity: today's teens seem constantly plugged in to video games, social networks sites, and text messaging. Yet there is little actual research that investigates the intricate dynamics of youth's social and recreational use of digital media. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out fills this gap, reporting on an ambitious three-year ethnographic investigation into how young people are living and learning with new media in varied settings--at home, in after school programs, and in online spaces.By focusing on media practices in the everyday contexts of family and peer interaction, the book views the relationship of youth and new media not simply in terms of technology trends but situated within the broader structural conditions of childhood and the negotiations with adults that frame the experience of youth in the United States.
- 1) Digital citizenship (publics & participation v. consumers & audiences)This defines a participation focus for the public sphere -- information and social spaces for the purposes of active citizenship and civic, public and social purposes (publics, commons, communities, participants). This is as distinct from the dominant frames of entertainment and consumerism (consumers, audiences, fans/followers). An example of the participation focus is present in our current Ontario civics curriculum and the digital ethnographies of Michael Wesch and his students.2) Digital character (purposeful social intelligences)This defines much needed social dispositions such as empathy, compassion and respect for difference and diversity (culture, race, class, gender, sexual identity, belief and cognitive styles). Examples of digital character and disposition include Roots of Empathyand other "character" building programs exemplify some current approaches to this priority.3) Mindfulness and attention literacies (time/attention management v. impulsivity)This defines an orientation towards more contemplative behaviours and approaches to technology use that are self reflexive rather than impulsive. At the heart of the attention literacy movement is Howard Rheingold who has examined these issues for many years within the context of virtual citizenship and online social communities and more recently within his classrooms at Berkeley and Stanford. Rheingold refers to these things, collectively, as "attention literacies." I would defer anyone to his and Linda Stone"s writing and observations.The absence of explicit exemplars for the above priorities, what I would collectively term "purposeful social engagement", has led many schools, school boards and government programs to (finally) address a fundamental gap that has always impeded learning. Understandings, insights and orientations that were never, ever a given among learners. The ideological and institutional foundations of this absence are often defined as "the hidden curriculum" -- namely, something that is presumed but not explicitly stated.Critical pedagogy and the hidden curriculumAt the heart of social justice education (critical pedagogy) is an understanding that education is mediated by a set of unspoken yet experienced power relations, ideological forces and social conditions that contribute far more to "student success" than the mastery of skills or curriculum. These unspoken yet very real conditions are referred to as "the hidden curriculum":"Hidden curriculum is said to reinforce existing social inequalities by educating students in various matters and behaviors according to their class and social status. In the same way that there is an unequal distribution of cultural capital in this society, there is a corresponding distribution of knowledge amongst its students. The hidden curriculum can also refer to the transmission of norms, values, and beliefs conveyed in both the formal educational content and the social interactions within these schools."
- From LittleBig literacy:"Such literacy produces more discerning players and more possibilities for progressive design ideas. It fosters an audience more receptive to both homage and experimentation. If you want to hear a creator reflect on the value of studying design from a player's perspective, ask Daisuke Amaya (aka "Pixel," creator of Cave Story) where he "went to school" as a game designer.Maybe it's unreasonable to hope that "the Eisenstein of video game designers" will emerge from the LBP community, but as I've made my way through dozens of original levels recently, it's become clear that some of these designers are producing work of exceptional quality and refinement. Despite what you may have heard, not every LBPdesigner is working on a Super Mario Bros. level 1-1 clone."
- Participatory culture and passion drives the creation and growth of user-contributed content. For example, the World of Warcraft wiki WoWWiki is now the second largest English-language wiki in the world behind Wikipedia. At 3 million unique users per month, a full half of English-speaking WoW players visit WoWWiki every month.
- The ongoing discussion between the merits of learning cursive writing and when it should be introduced as a developmental milestone in literacy, versus the ways children adapt to literacy skills through a variety of "keyboard" user-interfaces (traditionally a computer keyboard but these days, their first exposure is also as likely to be a touchscreen interface or a phone keypad.)
- Anne Trubek makes some excellent observations in her examination of handwriting over human history's 6000 years from early Sumerian origins to today."...One might consider handwriting as a technology -- a way to make letters -- and conclude that the way of making them is of little moment. But handwriting is bound up with a host of associations and connotations that propel it beyond simply a fine-motor skill. We connect it to personal identity (handwriting signals something unique about each of us), intelligence (good handwriting reflects good thinking) and virtue (a civilized culture requires handwriting).
Most of us know, but often forget, that handwriting is not natural. We are not born to do it. There is no genetic basis for writing. Writing is not like seeing or talking, which are innate. Writing must be taught."
Full article follows in "Handwriting is History".