Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

New Media Literacies by Vanessa Vartabedian

These are my notes from Vanessa Vartabedian’s presentation “New Media Literacies” at the LESCN conference in Meredith, New Hampshire on April 1, 2010. MY THOUGHTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. Vanessa is Va_Leigh on Twitter. Her personal account is

According to the NML website:

New Media Literacies (NML), a research initiative based within USC’s Annenberg School for Communication, explores how we might best equip young people with the social skills and cultural competencies required to become full participants in an emergent media landscape and raise public understanding about what it means to be literate in a globally interconnected, multicultural world.

I ARRIVED AT THIS SESSION A LITTLE LATE. Vanessa shared this video:

Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture: (Full screen version:

Forum Spring is a space where people can ask any questions

Mad Skills
– visualization
– play
– multitasking
– simulation
– transmedia navigation
– negotitation
– collective intelligence
– appropriation
– judgment
– networking
– distributed cognition
– performance

Where do you see these skills being used or mis-used?

Bringing pop-culture into the classroom can be very tricky
– we all work with establishing “classroom norms” for our students

Media Makers Challenges (PDF)
– these employ web 2.0 tools
– you can go in as a teacher of ANY grade level, ANY content area and adapt this to fit your curriculum

NML Learning Library is a way to collaborate and share ideas
– we have our own collection in the learning library, but we don’t “own” it

NML’s Challenge Framework
1- concept
2- concept in context
3- your turn
4- what do you think?

Global Kids is an organization in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

According to their website:

Launched in 1989 and an independent non-profit organization since 1993, Global Kids’ mission is to educate and inspire urban youth to become successful students, global citizens and community leaders by engaging them in academically rigorous, socially dynamic, content-rich learning experiences. Since its inception in 1989, Global Kids has been committed to meeting the needs of marginalized youth in under-resourced schools and neighborhoods of New York City. Through leadership development, academic enrichment and digital media programs, Global Kids uses interactive, experiential methods to educate youth about critical international and public policy issues, and inspire them to take action.

Example of a NML Library item Global Kids liked: Chains of Thought:

Distributed cognition is about using tools that augment, or add to, our brains. If you weren’t ever allowed to use a calculator, you would probably get very good at arithmetic, but you might not ever be able to do calculus quickly. If you weren’t ever allowed to call 411, you probably wouldn’t be able to figure out what phone numbers you need very quickly. If you weren’t ever allowed to use a metronome – a machine that keeps the beat – you might be able to play a musical instrument beautifully, but you would probably do it too fast or too slow. If you weren’t ever allowed to use a map, you’d eventually find your way around, but you’d have to spend a lot more time asking for direction.

You can use this as a springboard into new content for your class.

Students at Prospect Heights High School (New York) involved with Global Kids created and developed the WikiPedia article for their school.
– students’ motivation was marketly higher because this wasn’t created/done behind a walled garden: this was “out” in the real world

Had students create digital portfolios about what they’d learned using VoiceThread (this is the direct VoiceThread link.)

Showing “The Media Masters Digital Literacy Transcript
– kids earned badges playing different simulations

This gives more background about the VT project: Media Masters Student Portfolios

Comment from a participant: You can’t teach “technology” today without “collective intelligence”
– learning together, sharing our knowledge, giving that a name is very powerful in our classroom

Follow Global Kids on Twitter!

Students are using these tools now and “doing it anyway” even though most of our schools are not
– we need to help them learn skills to use these tools responsibly

Maria Knee comment: Members of our staff are just eating up these challenges
– they turn the power over to the viewer, with reflective questions

Idea of consumer and producer: As teachers we begin to stand back and be the consumer of the content our students are creating / sharing

Next week there will be tutorials online about how to use the learning library

We developed this Media Makers collection primarily for Middle and High School Students
– appropriate and adapt content in there for your own purposes!

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