Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Heart Rick Beach

I couldn't wait to read the article on digital literacy. I apparently wanted to relive my fond memories of last semester with the now dearly missed Rick Beach. And just so you know, it's Rick Beach. Not Rick, and not Dr. Beach: Rick Beach. Sadly, I found his editor was put to much better use this time so it was not quite the same experience.

I must also admit that I'm not the most objective person when it comes to digital literacy in the classroom. To some extent I think I always planned on using a good deal of Youtube, movies and TV shows to supplement my lessons. I felt like there was so much relevance to these kinds of media outlets even when I was in high school that could have been brought into the classroom and just weren't. Not only do I think this can be an extremely engaging tool, it's also becoming a necessity in our society. Most news is received through online websites and blogs. Entertainment is quickly shifting from the power companies in Hollywood to individuals with camcorders (see my sidebar of entertaining videos--although some are clips of TV shows). It's just not suitable to leave technology out of the classroom anymore since so much of our society depends on it and most jobs require some familiarity with it.

One problem I do see with it is the more informal attitude on such things like blogs and videos. Like the article said, this needs to be highly structured. Something else that made me laugh while I was reading was the teacher reflecting on using the original Oregon Trail game. I too remember playing the original version in school. But as much as everyone wants to say that it was for educational purposes I don't really think I gained all that much playing it. Let’s be honest here. I mean, it's pretty obvious it was a contest to see who could name their characters the most unusual names and write the funniest things on their tombstones. It was also fun to kill off everyone in the wagon. And, once you found out what it was, you laughed yourself to tears when a friend got dysentery, didn't you? YOU'RE LYING IF YOU SAID "NO."

Resource links this week are examples of the digital literacy projects I've worked on in various classes. The possibilities are endless!

VG: Voices from the Gaps (I worked on Audre Lorde and Zee Edgell)
Final Project for Rick Beach's Class (I don't personally recommend Wikis yet, it was frustrating and a little time consuming setting up a simple page even like this)
GooglePages (A collaborative effort with David and Nathan...yay for George's class)
Teaching Media Literacy (I miss Rick Beach's class)

Also, just for Nick:
Here is my shameless plug for Second Life. I'm still not quite sure how I will be incorporating it into my classroom. But I will be doing it. I think this would be a great way to encourage student discussion in an anonymous virtual setting in which students can work on building a public identity in an internet based environment as well as have open discussions in interactive locations that are relevant to both present and past topics in're right, Lisa.


  1. Oregon Trail was AWESOME!! I laughed myself stupid when I found out what dysentary was, and for some reason typuhs too.
    On a more serious note, I also intend to use lots of video, TV and YouTube clips in my classroom, especially with older works of literature that will be easier to understand if you see it. For example, my students will be reading the windmill scene from Don Quixote this spring, so I want to show the same scene from Man of la Mancha. I think the kids will undersand better why its funny and what exactly is being satirized once they see it.

  2. If it weren't for Oregon Trail I wouldn't know what dysentery was. Maggie, I'm very dissappointed that you didn't mention Second Life in reference to creating real life role play situations in the classroom like Jenkins talks about. (See my false prediction in my blog) But your points about digital literacy in the classroom are valid. I believe a teacher cannot survive unless they incorporate video, YouTube, and other web content. Students want this type of instruction, and they respond to it. Most of all I believe it is through digital literacy that we are able to interact with our students on a more meaningful level. Everyone is now able to create content for the class.

  3. I heart Rick Beach? Seriously? I can no longer be friends with you, Maggie.

    p.s. I'll see you Saturday :)

  4. With all these media showing students literary pieces, one loses gradually the power of imagination.
    In addition, all media other than plain writings generally convey more information per unit time. Even if this may be desirable in some situation, it decreases the students ability to meditate on the words alone, "digesting them", taking all the time they need to understand the deeper levels of meaning.

  5. Wow, Maggie. Your blog is awesome! I just caught up on reading some of the posts I hadn't followed. You are so personable and make good connections (that I hadn't thought of) to the readings. I am going to start experiementing with 2nd Life. I'm going to have to update my blog to contain youtube links and maybe a shelfari :-)