These are my notes from Ruslana Westerlund‘s keynote presentation “English learners in the digital age: natives, immigrants or outsiders” at the “Co-teaching and Collaboration Conference” in St Paul, Minnesota on 12 Nov 2010, at the School Community of Excellence. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Ruslana’s website: http://ellbillofrights.com

Facebook: Educators of English Learners EELLike

On Twitter: @EllBillofRights

We can no longer teach literacy with a blackboard
– hat tip to Marc Prensky for his article, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”

Questions to be addressed:

  1. If our students are tomorrow’s world citizens, are we serving as agents of change to close not only the achievement gap, but also the digital gap that exists among our students?
  2. Do we view technology literacy as literacy worthy of our pursuit?
  3. Do we have a sense of urgency to prepare our students to be engaged digital citizens or dow e still believe that media competes with literacy? (THIS IS A GREAT QUESTION)
  4. What are the costs of the digital exclusion to our schools, communities, and the world?

So as teachers we pre-teach our concepts: I want you to think about these four key concepts
– the digital gap
– technology literacy
– digital citizens
– digital exclusion

My favorite quotation: “To communicate in the post-modern society is the power to interact with networks of information. It is not sufficient to have a free mind, if our words cannot circulate like the words of others.” Sergio

Picture of the digital access map

Read the 2004 report, “A Nation Online” for more statistics on the digital divide
– The digital divice occurs along racial and ethnic lines, where income, language, social networks, and education influencing technology access and literacy (2005 data)
– 77% of white children have Internet access at home, compared to 40% of black and Latino children. 86% of white children have a home computer, while only half of black and Latino children do

US Dept of Commerce, A Nation Online, 2004 (seeing graph of breakdown)

I’m going to talk about the 44% that responded, “I’m not interested”
– why do they say that: The content of the information is not relevant to them

18% of those not online answered: “I’m not interested in anything on the Internet”
– this exceeds the 12% who said they either weren’t sure how to use the Internet or couldn’t afford a computer
– A Children’s Partnership report “Online Content for Low-Income…” report

It is CONTENT, not lack of access that is a barrier and solutions
Lack of local information – lack of local information: provide practical information focusing on local community
Literacy barriers, language barriers – develop inforation at a basic literacy level, online translation tools
Cultural diversity – information in native languages, provide relevant health, social and cultural information

digitalaccess.org – The Digital Access Project supports technology access and digital literacy efforts in the Twin Cities

Westerlund Collaboration Convention 2010
– 70% of Internet webpages are in English

Deeper causes for the digital divide
– a generational issue
– a cultural issue
– an educational issue: do you have the basic training to use it?

deeper causes is not HAVING ACCESS (that’s a small part) – these three issues (above) are the root

Cartoon caption: “I’m hungry. If we had a computer, we would have been able to order it on the computer”

My favorite slide of the whole thing: Left brain, right brain, new brain
– Google “digital brain”
– the Internet is nothing less than the equivalent of the phonetic alphabet in ancient Greece (this explained the development of poetry in Greece)
– Students are acquiring new, desirable skills: networking, associative logic, graphic literacy, information space, multi-tasking

Power of ICT
– user-driven media is exploding around the world, it is NOT a Western fad
– blogs are being created places like China and Singapore, where traditional media is restricted
– human rights and democracy movements can benefit

examples: Burma VJ movie (a film shown during the international film festival, about the 2004 uprising in Burma when the monks protested government oppression)
VJ stands for video journalist
– footage was smuggled to Oslo, Norway, and then went to CNN – that is how the story got out
– done with handheld cameras
– eventually they shut down the Internet in Burma
– this is an example of where people without any voice, get to share their voice through the power of the Internet

Other examples:
– Edutopia Expeditionary Larning: Students as Critical Consumers of Media (how George Lucas teaches students how to critically look at media)
The Digital Divide: Where We Are | Edutopia

should we reThink Literacy in light of what you just heard
– is technology literacy part of your definition YET?
– ICT provides new opportunities for knowledge creation, should we expand our centuries-old definition and our assumptions of literacy
– what is your definition of literacy

From Carl Anderson:
Seymour Papert calls “letteracy” what we typically call “literacy” in schools
MY ADDITION – See Obsolete Skill Set: The 3 Rs — “Literacy and Letteracy in the Media Ages” By Seymour Papert (This article appeared in Wired Magazine in fall of 1993)

ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards for Students
– creativity and innovation: students should be able to use technology and their existing knowledge to generate NEW ideas, products and processes
– more…

Are your English learners working toward meeting these standards?

National Educational Technology Plan 2010: Transforming American Education – Learning Powered by Technology (this came out this month)

Now showing video of “The School of One” in NYC

Program Overview from NYCDOE Teacher Development on Vimeo.

MY THOUGHTS: I AM DEFINITELY SUPPORTIVE OF 1:1. I NEED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT “THE SCHOOL OF ONE” TO FORM AN OPINION ABOUT THEIR APPROACH. A BLENDED AND DIFFERENTIATED APPROACH SOUNDS GOOD. THIS IS NYC SCHOOLS, HOWEVER, AND WITH ALL THE “STUFF” WE’VE HEARD ABOUT GOING ON THERE I’D LIKE TO SEE MORE THAN THIS HIGHLY POLISHED PR PIECE TO MAKE UP MY MIND ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY DOING.

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