Comment on potential applications for your potential workplace (Public Libraries) from learnings in weeks 6-11
Despite the fact that students’ lives are immersed with popular culture, schools have been slow to incorporate popular culture into the curriculum. Schools have retained traditional pedagogies and continue to concentrate on print-based literacies. Public Libraries are well positioned to provide alternative learning experiences for students, which may provide some bridging between the multi-modal literacy learning that students require, and are naturally immersed in, and that which is provided in schools.
Partnering Proposal (a) -blogging workshops
Public Libraries would partner with local schools to offer workshops to students to assist them in developing individual or group blog sites around students’ interest areas such as fashion, music, food, sport etc. The students could choose if they would prefer to work independently or have the library staff act as an administrator of the blog site, providing input into the structure of the blog. The workshops would occur on a regular basis, so that students can discuss the progress of their blog, as well as seek any guidance and support that they may require. Blogs can enhance students’ confidence in stating a personal opinion while also building their resilience to the critique of others’ (O’Sullivan, 2012, p.206). It is with the development of the skills of confidence and resilience that support from the library staff would be most beneficial. Staff would be able to offer suggestions and positive feedback to students. Library staff could link students to community members, where possible, who share the student’s interest area. This person could act as a mentor and give informed feedback on the blog site. (Appropriate processes would need to take place such as mentors having Blue Cards and students receiving parent permission for this ‘mentorship’ to take place). Public Libraries often have rich networks within the community from which they can draw.
Advantages of blogging for students
- Blogging workshops may help students to engage with learning activities. The Horizon Project (2012, p. 16) suggests that “the use of technology tools that are already familiar to students, project-based learning practices that incorporate real-life experiences and mentoring from community members are practices that may increase student engagement”.
- An integral part of adolescence is the desire to shape a self-identity (O’Sullivan, 2012, p.192). Blogging allows students to experiment with self-expression and identity formation. If students so wish, this can be done in an anonymous manner with the use of an avatar.
- When blogging, students are able to present themselves in any way or through any persona that is desired and this can bring a sense of freedom and creative release (O’Sullivan, 2012).
- Creating a blog site helps students to develop multi-modal literacies such as “literacies for ’reading’ multimodal texts and new interpretive, creative and communicative skills” (O’Sullivan,2012,p.191).In the digital world that students now live, these skills are required in addition to the traditional literacy skills taught in schools.
- Blogging may be of particular benefit to students who are struggling to develop traditional literacy skills. These students may be particularly drawn to the the freedom from having to write in a formal way. When creating a blog students are able to directly communicate their thoughts and feelings without worrying about grammatical correctness (O’Sullivan, 2012).
Additional Partnering Proposal Ideas – Workshops around Multi-Modal Literacy Skills
Upon success of the blogging workshops, local libraries may liaise with the local high schools to offer additional workshops which develop students’ multi-modal literacy skills. The following workshops may be offered –
(a) Workshops to develop effective on-line reading skills
Workshops would be offered which allow students to research their personal interest areas with ‘expert’ help from the library staff around conducting effective searches . The workshops would be scaffolded so that multi modal literacy skills would be developed as a result of the research. Online reading comprehension requires additional practices, skills, and strategies in addition to traditional literacy skills (Coiro & Dobler, 2007;Leu, Zawilinski, et al., 2007 as cited in Leu et al, 2011 p.6). See Appendix A for further explanation of on-line reading skills.
(b) Book –clubs/writing workshops
Book-club style meetings and writing workshops would be offered. Students would engage in journaling/blogging and additional media authoring such as power point presentations and creating podcasts in response to popular texts that they have engaged with. The objective of the workshops would be for students to interpret and produce popular-cultural texts, using such strategies such as those identified by Beach & O’Brien (2008).
(c) Software workshops
Workshops in such topics as website design would be offered with the underlying objective of teaching students “the ability to understand the power of images and sounds, to recognize and use that power, to manipulate and transform digital media, to distribute them pervasively, and to easily adapt them to new forms” (New Media Consortium as cited in Beach, and O’Brien, 2008, p779).
Online reading comprehension consists of a process of problem-based inquiry across many different online information sources, requiring several recursive reading practices: (a) reading online to identify important questions (b) reading online to locate information, (c) reading online to critically evaluate information, (d) reading online to synthesize information, (e) and reading online to communicate information. During these elements, new online and traditional offline reading comprehension skills are both required, often in complex and interrelated ways. (Coiro & Dobler, 2007;Leu, Zawilinski, et al., 2007 as cited in Leu et al, 2011 p.7).
Leu, D. J., McVerry, J., O’Byrne, W., Kiili, C., Zawilinski, L., Everett-Cacopardo, H., & … Forzani, E. (2011). The New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension: Expanding the Literacy and Learning Curriculum. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(1), 5-14. doi:10.1598/JAAL.55.1.1
Beach, R. & O’Brien, D. (2008). Teaching popular culture texts in the classroom. In D. Leu, J. Coiro, M. Knobel, C. Lankshear (Eds.). Handbook of research on new literacies (pp. 775-804). London: Routledge.
O’Sullivan, K. A. (2012). Books and blogs: Promoting reading achievement in digital contexts. In J. Manuel & S. Brindley (Eds.) Teenagers and reading: Literary heritages, cultural contexts and contemporary reading practices (pp. 191-209). South Australia: Wakefield Press/AATE