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When Literacy Goes Digital


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Closing keynote address by Renee Hobbs at the Youth 2.0 conference, University of Antwerp, March 22, 2013

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When Literacy Goes Digital

  1. 1. When Literacy Goes Digital:Meeting the Needs of theYoungest Learners withDigital and Media LiteracyRenee HobbsProfessor and Founding DirectorHarrington School of Communication and MediaUniversity of Rhode Island USAEmail: hobbs@uri.eduTwitter: reneehobbsWeb:
  2. 2. What do we need to know and be able to do when it comes tosupporting and extending the use of print, visual, sound anddigital texts, tools and technologies among children & youth?
  3. 3. Empowerment and protection are two sides of the same coin
  4. 4. Developmental Characteristics of Adolescence Go AfterTake Risks in Pursuit of Love Experience for its Novelty, Complexity and Experience Own Sake Intense Situations
  5. 5. Searching for the Sensational
  6. 6. Escaping to Alternative Worlds
  7. 7. Playing with Identity
  8. 8. Speaking Out as a Civic Actor
  9. 9. Developing Emotional Reasoning
  10. 10. Understanding & Using Social PowerFitting InStanding Out
  11. 11. Talking to Anyone about Anything ... and keeping secrets from parents and adultsLINK
  12. 12. Transgressing Social Norms
  13. 13. Human Development & Socialization are Lifelong Processes
  14. 14. Human Development & Socialization are Lifelong Processes
  15. 15. Human Development & Socialization are Lifelong Processes
  16. 16. Missing Perspectives CHILDREN TEACHERS
  17. 17. Tis education forms the common mind,Just as the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined. --Alexander Pope
  18. 18. A university-school partnership program designed to strengthenchildren’s ability to think for themselves, communicate effectively,and use their powerful voices to contribute to the quality of life intheir families, their schools, their communities, and the world. Increase school relevance by connecting classroom to contemporary culture
  19. 19. + The Vision 1 Summer Program for Children 2 Staff Development Program for Educators 3 In-School Mentoring 4 Multimedia Curriculum Development 5 Video Documentation and Research 6 Parent and Community Outreach
  20. 20. Urban charter school Suburban public schools (2)• 70% of families receive free or • 10% of families receive free or reduced lunch reduced lunch• Median income: $35K • Median income: $120K• Teachers: 90% White • Teachers: 95% White• 85% African-American • 78% White, 15% Asian• 60% of Grade 3 students met state • 88% of students met state standards standards for reading for reading• 9 – 11 year olds (N = 115) • 9 – 11 year olds (N = 256)
  21. 21. Children can categorize visual media by purpose and target audience
  22. 22. Active Reasoning as aPrecursor to Media LiteracySome children describe theirfavorite TV shows, videogamesand music using activereasoning:• Identify the genre• Describe a compositional element• Link an emotional response to a compositional element• Identify a social function of media use• Describe message or meaning
  23. 23. None of these Used instant messaging or chat Created a blog Create a profile for myself on Facebook Made an avatar of myselfUsed a computer program to create or design pictures RBCS Uploaded a photo WES Used a digital camera to take a photo Visited Facebook Gotten information from the Internet Created a personal webpage Downloaded music from the Internet 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Children ages 9 - 11 engage in a wide variety of online activities
  24. 24. Many children ages 9 – 11 experience “accidental transgression”
  25. 25. LINK Children benefit from literacy activities that promote critical thinking, creativity and intercultural social interaction
  26. 26. Very young children explore an expanded LINKconceptualization of authorship LINKin relation to print, visual, sound and digital media
  27. 27. When kids create, they fuse elements from media and personal life. LINK
  28. 28. Why don’t more elementary educators use digitaland media literacy pedagogy?
  29. 29. Mass media, celebritiesand popular cultureinflect children’s onlineactivities LINK
  30. 30. Messy engagement results when teachers interact withchildren about the media and technology they use at home LINK
  31. 31. Both teachers and school leaders have concerns about mayhemand loss of control that may interfere with digital media projects  Not clearly linked to academic standards  Not easy to assess student learning outcomes  Not text-based  Organizational and management challenges “unpredictable” and “exhausting”
  32. 32. Teachers can create structured learning experiences thatprovide a balance between order and chaos LINK
  33. 33. When teachers see the value of creating with media and technology in school… They develop a well-structured activity with a clear audience and purpose Activate creative & independent thinking from learners Carefully monitor small groups Learn basics of technology use Dedicate substantial amounts of time
  34. 34. When teachers see the value of talking about media andtechnology in school…They take advantage ofunpredictable momentsin social interactionswith children.They address thesocialization processesinvolved in buildingcharacter.For dialogue to beauthentic, high levels oftrust and respect arerequired.
  35. 35. LOVE HATE PRINT VISUAL SOUND DIGITALTeachers’ attitudes about media, technology and popular culture shape their work with children and youth
  36. 36. THE TECHIEYou’re the educator who loves tablets, apps, programs, plug-ins, widgets, websites, and other types of educationaltechnology because you have a passionate curiosity aboutnew tools. You see much potential to engage students withthe technology tools they love and use in their everyday lives.THE TRENDSETTERYou’re tuned into pop culture and curious about kid culture.Maybe your own most-loved popular culture isn’t too farremoved from that of your students. You are inquisitive aboutthe trends and hot topics that make up a crucial componentof the fabric of your students’ everyday lives. You want schoolculture to meet kids where they live with the popular culturethey know and love.
  37. 37. THE DEMYSTIFIER As a teacher, you “pull back the curtain” to help students seehow various forms of information and knowledge areconstructed. You emphasize the practice of criticalthinking, helping students ask good “how” and “why”questions.THE ACTIVISTAs an educator, you want to make society more just andequitable by promoting democratic participation. You usemedia in the classroom as a catalyst for students tounderstand how they might have a voice in improving thequality of life in their communities and in the world.
  38. 38. THE TASTEMAKERYou want to broaden your students’ horizons. You want themto have exposure to the kinds of media experiences that putthem in touch with historical, aesthetic, and criticalappreciation. You know that a key component of students’future interactions will require them to draw from a varietyof cultural sources both classical and popular.THE ALTYou are an inventive, perhaps “DIY,” teacher. You’re alwaysready to challenge students with alternative ways offinding, using, thinking about, and making media in theclassroom. Whether you use open source programs on schoolcomputers, encourage students to start alternative clubs ormagazines, or introduce students to media that’s “off thebeaten path” of mainstream and mass media, you are likely akey proponent of broadening students’ understanding of themany different ways that people can communicate in theworld.
  39. 39. THE MOTIVATORYou are an inspiration, a catalyst for your students’ creativeenergy. Students who have never felt comfortable speakingup in class, participating in activities, or contributing to classdialogue find it easier to speak their mind when you’releading the classroom. You see your role as helping studentsbe the best they can be.THE SPIRIT GUIDEYou are a listener. You have a dedication to the social andemotional well-being of your students, and want to makesure that everything you do in the classroom connects to theirimmediate needs to understand themselves and their lives.Students likely find you trustworthy, and may even confide inyou in ways that they do not for other teachers. You knowmedia is just one facet of student life, and you want to engagewith it to help them through the highs and lows of life in all ofits challenges and opportunities.
  40. 40. THE TEACHER 2.0You understand that participation in digital media andlearning cultures requires flexibility to new formats, modes ofexpression, and participation in and out of school. You useonline or interactive versions of classic literature to exploremeaning behind texts. Teacher 2.0 teachers always trying newthings in the classroom and finding new ways to connectlearning to children’s culture.THE WATCHDOGYou are a natural critical thinker, aware of how economicsystems and institutions influence our everydaylives, particularly through the media we use. You want yourstudents and your peers to be more mindful of the ways thatthings are bought and sold. Who owns and controls themedia content that we see, hear, read, and play with? You feelresponsible for giving your students a “wake-up call” aboutthe economic and institutional inner-workings of thetechnology and the world that surrounds them.
  41. 41. THE PROFESSIONALYou have high standards for your students’ work, and you maybe seen as the go-to media professional in your school. Youknow how to push your students to understand and emulatethe professional conventions that is important to being takenseriously in the world of media creation. To help studentsenter the real world of media creation, you bring otherauthors, professionals, and media-makers into your classroomto enrich the learning experience.THE PROFESSORYou balance your interest in media and technology with aclear connection to academic standards. You want to be surethat media and technology are not used in the classroom fortheir own sake, but to advance your lessons, goals, andlearning target. Multimedia presentations, engagingwebsites, and educational technology serve the purpose ofhelping you deliver the core content and skills students needto master.
  42. 42. www.powerfulvoicesforkids.comBook and Website Launch, June 2013
  43. 43. Exploration of digital and medialiteracy pedagogy with youngerchildren helps us understand thecomplex interaction between homeand school in both the processes ofdevelopment & socializationSensitivity to teacher motivationsmay help researchers and teachersbetter collaborate to developinnovative digital and media literacylearning experiences – both in andout of school
  44. 44. The future of literacy Access, Create & Analyze & Apply Ethical Use & Share Collaborate Evaluate Judgment
  45. 45. When teachers feel respected and trusted, they make time andspace in the curriculum to explore innovative approaches toteaching and learning
  46. 46.
  47. 47. Hobbs, R. & Moore, D. (2013). Discovering media literacy: Teaching digital media and popular culture in elementaryschool. Thousand Oaks: Corwin/Sage.Hobbs, R. (2013). Improvization and strategic risk taking in informal learning with digital media literacy.Learning, Media and Technology, 38(2), 1 – 28.Hobbs, R. & RobbGrieco, M. (2012). African-American children’s active reasoning about media texts as a precursorto media literacy. Journal of Children and Media 6(4), 502 - 519.Grafe, S., Hobbs, R., Boos, M., Bergey, B. (2012). Teachers´ motivations for media education in Germany and in theUnited States. Paper presentation at Digital Media and Learning(DML) Conference, Los Angeles.Hobbs, R., Ebrahimi, A., Cabral, N., Yoon, J., & Al-Humaidan, R. (2011). Field-based teacher education in elementarymedia literacy as a means to promote global understanding. Action for Teacher Education 33, 144 – 156.Hobbs, R., Yoon, J., Al-Humaidan, R., Ebrahimi, A. & Cabral, N. (2011). Online digital media in elementary school.Journal of Middle East Media 7(1), 1 – 23.“Messy Engagement and Strategic Risk Taking as an Instructional Strategy in Informal Learning,” Paperpresentation, International Communication Association (ICA), Phoenix, AZ. May 28, 2012.Hobbs, R. , Cohn-Geltner, H. & Landis, J. (2011). Views on the news: Media literacy empowerment competencies inthe elementary grades. In C. Von Feilitzen, U. Carlsson & C. Bucht (Eds.). New questions, new insights, newapproaches. The International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media. NORDICOM. University ofGothenburg, Sweden (pp. 43 – 56).
  48. 48. Renee HobbsProfessor and Founding DirectorHarrington School of Communication and MediaUniversity of Rhode Island USAEmail: hobbs@uri.eduTwitter: reneehobbsWeb: