Week 6 reflection

This week felt a lot easier in a lot of ways: the readings were better, the theme was easier for me to approach, and I participated less in a way that felt comfortable to me. I definitely had to say “you do not need to reply to EVERYTHING” and I had to consciously decide to not make every single annotation in H that came to my mind. And yes, that meant other people made those contributions later and yes, I did think “but..I thought that!” but sharing is caring, and that includes sharing of reflective thought.

In listening to the class podcast, I was really surprised when Andrew and Brad mentioned the half-life of a skill comment. I just don’t really buy that? 5 years? I mean, coding languages have existed for FAR longer than 5 years. And, to think in the analog, I’m a musician, and that’s a skill that has a history of a several hundred years, and even in modern pedagogy that history is the better part of a century. Does writing have a half-life of 5 years? Where does this differentiation come into play? A specific iteration of a skill might change in 5 years, but the entire skill itself? Not sure

In terms of literacies, I am continually surprised how certain aspects of technology are very quickly adopted, like coding. In the last 10 years we’ve seen a huge push in coding literacy at all ages, and yet other aspects of technology- videogames, ahem- are still seen as this mind-rotting leisure activity. I was so surprised that even Brad, who works in a media and digital-rich environment, mentioned that he has a parameter for his kids around games and that they need to be social. I don’t want to linger on someone’s personal decisions but I see and hear of a lot of decisions made my parents and teachers in relation to videogames that are very….discriminatory toward games as a teaching tool and as a storytelling medium, not to mention an art form.

It occurred to me yesterday that part of this issue is that when a lot of people think “video games” they think this:

Or the other end of the spectrum, this:

And that’s not at all what I think of when I think of using video games in the classroom. I think about using indie games, branching narrative games, games that explore interpretations of aspects of real life, etc. In my talks on this issue, I often sing the praises of games like The Witness, or Braid, or Life is Strange, or even the new Breath of the Wild. As I mentioned in last week’s reflection, video game literacy is a wonderful way to make comparisons to other aspects of real life and enable students to understand elements of their education that are so important and difficult to understand through traditional media, for example. (And if there is a podcast on ‘gamification’ (gag- hate that term) I think we know I should be in it).

I also thought it was interesting in the podcast that people were talking about coding literacy as a foreign language, and I would never think that! I think it’s really important to make sure we understand what a “coding language” means and that it is, yes a way of a communicating, but not necessary a linguistic means of communicating. I definitely lack a coding literacy- though I’ve tried- but I do at least recognize it as a literacy and believe we should foster it.

In addressing the second question for our reflection, about how to support new literacy, I thought the question was phrased in an interesting way- How can schools support all members of their community — teachers, administrators, students, parents — in developing these new literacies?- I thought it was interesting it was phrased as though the SCHOOL is some sentient being that is going to do something to support the administrator. As someone pursuing leadership, it would be the administrator’s job to help foster these opportunities in their school. But unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just “ok everyone let’s do some coding!” in that these movements often have to trickle down with support from the top. It’s tricky. In my school our tech teacher has tried to do the “day of code” every year for the last five years and because he has very limited experience, and we have no PD around it, it’s just sort of this weird throwaway thing that some people do and no one does very well. In terms of putting this into a school community, it needs to come about through collaborative conversations with all staff about what it looks like to imbue coding into a school environment- is it a stand-alone class, is it involved in our technology standards and thus something we all need to do in each class?- and it needs to start with the overall school culture. How do new literacies fit into our mission/vision/culture? How do we foster this? How do we communicate the need for these literacies to parents who may have antiquated ideas (echoed in the class podcast) about screen time or digital tools?

So in that way, the SCHOOL doesn’t do anything! The onus is on US- the administrators and teachers- to create a school that supports the community. The original phrasing of the question is a bit dangerous because it says to teachers “this isn’t your job- wait for the school to bring it to you”. One of the best things I ever did was STOP waiting. I was waiting and waiting and waiting for someone to rethink curricular structure to be game-like, and no one ever did, so finally I did it myself, and now it’s something I speak about several times a year.

Whooo OK word wall over. I made a 30-second video this week:

There are a couple repeat days, to be honest.

My critique was of 18 in the Bay and I was really proud of how I approached this. I’d initially already written some of this critique, but thinking back on last week and wished I’d done more to really put the theme of the week into practice, I decided to try to use some elements of code and games to interpret 18 in the Bay, so I did! My interpretation is here:

And my overall blog post with the above embedded, is here:

Daily Creates…

This might technically be last week? I think it was in between last week’s reflection and this week’s start

Daily Creates weren’t as good this week. But you know what? I’m OK with that. I didn’t stretch or push myself as much in tdc’s but in a weird way, that was a push in and of itself; I made a conscious decision to dial it back a bit, and I’m also aware that might come with consequences. I did return to Gimp for #tdc2013, and it was so much easier this week! I discovered the Scale tool, so, at least there was a little growth.

When talking about the work of others this week I would be remiss to not mention Jasmine Yap’s social fiction meta story of #inte5340horrorstory. Funny, meta, informative all in one.

And Meg’s new literacy-focused Hack the News

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