jueves, 27 de agosto de 2009

Task 1.4.3: “The relevance of multiliteracies”

Multiliteracies is a term that highlights two related aspects of the increasing complexity of texts in today’s world: the proliferation of multimodal ways of making meaning where the written word is increasingly part of visual, audio, and spatial patterns; and the increasing proliferation of cultural and linguistic diversity characterized by local diversity and global connectedness. As teachers, it is important for us to explore pedagogies or teaching practices that prepare our learners for the literacy challenges of our globalized, networked, culturally diverse world. Increasingly, students and teachers find knowledge in print, in images, in video, in combinations of forms in digital contexts and are asked to represent their knowledge in an equally complex manner. So our big challenge is to help our students to achieve a more diverse variety of literacies.

Pedagogy in the twenty first century is constantly influenced by technological changes that demand us to work with multiple modalities of information and communication systems (Harrison, 2008). Traditionally, literacy has used old technologies of pen writing, book reading, spoken communications, mental arithmetic and so on to improve mainly reading, but now multiteracies and new communications are changing the way we use old media by enhancing and augmenting them, and by including modes of communication such as visual, aural, spatial and gestural literacies, where visual literacy has a key role as it is an ability that helps learners to construct meaning from visual images that they read in order to develop critical thinking skills (Bamford, 2003).

As twenty first century teachers we must contribute to change the students’ social environment so that they can face this new approach to literacy pedagogy that we call "multiliteracies." The is a multiplicity of communication channels and increasing cultural and linguistic diversity in the students’ world today that demand from us a much broader view of literacy than the one we used to have using traditional language-based approaches. Multiliteracies overcome the limitations of those traditional approaches because if we incorporate them to our pedagogy students will be able to access the evolving language of work, power, and community, and they will develop the critical engagement necessary for them to design their social futures and achieve success through fulfilling employment in the near future.


Bamford, A. (2003) The visual literacy white paper. Adobe system. Retrieved from: http://www.adobe.com/uk/education/pdf/adobe_visual_literacy_paper.pdf

Bull, G. (2006) Teaching and learning multiliteracies. New York: International Reading Association.

Daley, E. (2003). Expanding the concept of literacy. Educause Review. Retrieved from: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0322.pdf

Stevens, V. (2006). Revisiting Multiliteracies in Collaborative Learning Environments: Impact on Teacher Professional Development. TESL-EJ 10, 2.

Unsworth, L. (2001). Teaching Multiliteracies across the curriculum. Buckingham- Philadelphia: Open University Press.

sábado, 22 de agosto de 2009

Task 1.5.5 Written Assignment (Essay)

Task 1.5.5 Assessed Written Assignment 1

Option 1

I chose 3 of the quotes provided and I used them as the backbone for my essay which is called, “A Generation Not to Look Down Upon”.

· “The twenty-first century teen, connected, multitasked, autonomous yet peer-mindful, makes no great leap forward in human intelligence, global thinking, netizen-ship. Young users have learned a thousand new things, no doubt. They upload and download, surf and chat, post and design, but they haven’t learned to analyze a complex text, store facts in their heads, comprehend a foreign policy decision, take lessons from history, or spell correctly. Never having recognized their responsibility to the past, they have opened a fissure in our civic foundations, and it shows in their halting passage into adulthood and citizenship.” Bauerlein, The Dumbest Generation.

· “The whole notion of passively sitting and receiving information has nothing to do with how you internalize information into something that makes sense to you. Learning starts as you leave the classroom, when you start discussing with people around you what was just said. It is in conversation that you start to internalize what some piece of information meant to you.” John Seely Brown

· “Learning, as a self-organizing process requires that the system (personal or organizational learning systems) be informationally open, that is, for it to be able to classify its own interaction with an environment, it must be able to change its structure…” Luis Mateus Rocha (1998)

A Generation Not to Look Down Upon

The 21st century generation of learners is definitely a generation to not look down upon. Education in this century must be equipped with a heavy involvement in technology which is a strong key for the success these young learners have in today's world. Students are living in a time where technology is breaking boundaries and where computers are necessary for survival. They know that when the time comes for them to work, most companies will no longer need much human labor, therefore machines and technology savvy people like them will be the most wanted. They are also aware of a reality such as having different tasks to do, being informed about the world around them, and becoming change adaptors. I think this generation of learners will succeed to make the world a better place as far as education embraces technology and new learning environments.

It is not easy to reach consensus on important education issues related to the 21st century learners, but there is no doubt about the importance of information technology to the future of learning and 21st century skills. The use of information technology is growing rapidly in schools across our country and the world today, not just for communication, but through a large array of innovative tools and services that engage today´s students and teachers in the learning process towards blending technology and education. Technology has certain attributes that 21st century learners are taking advantage of: it strengthens education because it scaffolds the learner in multiple learning dimensions and it also motivates, because young learners are drawn to it; and it connects them to much more people and information.

Networking technology is transforming our schools into more connected communities by providing equal access to educational content. It is a important tool that helps educate students because it engages them and maintains their interest, and ultimately helps them to achieve their goals. So today’s teachers must find innovative ways to use information technology tools to help engage their students. 21st century education should include classroom technologies such as video conferencing, e-mailing, blogs, Skype, cameras, Internet services and many other tools. This new technology can help students significantly improve their research, analytic, project and collaboration skills. For example, high-speed connectivity can now create new learning opportunities and dynamic lessons. This generation of learners love using their digital cameras and laptops as they combine lessons with real-world experiences; they are eager to follow, for instance, a video conferencing-based curriculum that allows them to connect with other students in other cities in our country or around the world.

21st century education with the help of technology is also engaging students more in the learning process making education more relevant to them. They react positively to new learning environments and this makes them excited to come to school as far as they can work on their laptops to bring the subjects they have to study to life. There is an infinite number of resources at the teachers disposal which can make their teaching very effective; more if we take into account that today’s students are already comfortable using technology, such as playing games to learn while they relate much more to the lessons. Students' reading ability, for example, can be better assessed using hand-held literacy measurement devices that the teacher can use to time their students’ reading and to note their fluency; so their reports take much less time to prepare giving them more time to help their students with their reading.

As a conclusion, I would say that 21st century education is offering students a more engaging learning experience as well as setting teachers free of old teaching practices, giving them more time for their students. Education that uses technology is transforming classrooms across our country and around the world. Education must incorporate these 21st century tools to expand the boundaries of learning and prepare students for a future in which they and their communities will have to face new challenges.


Tapscott, Don (2009). Grown Up Digital How the Net Generation is Changing Your World, McGraw-Hill.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon 9, 5. Retrieved August 20, 2009 from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf#search=%22prensky%22digital%20native%22%22
Prensky, M. (2005). "Engage me or enrage me," What today's learners demand. Retrieved August 21, 2009 from: http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0553.pdf

viernes, 21 de agosto de 2009

So what does it all mean?

So, what does it all mean? (21st century education)

It means that global citizenship is now a reality. Students are living and learning in a technological world. To take advantage of the opportunities this world provides them, we teachers have to prepare them to be internationally competent, because otherwise they will be left behind if we don’t organize our education with a global context in mind. We must integrate international knowledge and new technologies in our regular language courses so that our students are ready to face the challenges of an even more technological and global future society.

There is a big issue that modern education and we educators face now: learners are getting more and more used to learning using technology in their lives. If we want to keep up with them and the way they prefer to learn, we must make important changes in the way we teach.


miércoles, 12 de agosto de 2009

The Eight Net Gen Norms

NLE Task 1.3.3 Assessed DB thread “The Eight Net Gen Norms”

Chapter three of the book Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott describes eight features of this NET generation under the name of norms which are really characteristics in both attitude and behavior that make a difference between this generation and others, including the one their parents lived in. Tapscott lists eight norms which come from the experience of modern young people and all the influence they get from today’s media. The following are some implications that I think these norms have for education in general and for language learning in particular.


Education in general: Educational institutions have to offer students other choices as to where to study, not only the four walls of the classroom since they want to learn and do other activities where they want and when they want. Classes must be varied and offer students different choices according to their learning styles. This generation is on a constant quest for freedom, so sticking to the classroom board is not a good choice; teachers must use ICTs that cope with students’ expectations and give them more opportunities to “fly” in their quest for new knowledge.

Language learning: Contacts with other schools for students to share experiences in the foreign language. Guided tours in English as well as field trips and immersion courses. Use of language software and opportunities to use it in and out of the classroom.


Education in general: Since Net Geners customize anything they get and make it fit their lives, it is important to offer students opportunities to be creative and transform the reality they live in a positive way. Modern students enjoy changing every category they touch, so such a diverse generation needs from education tools that allow them to do so. There are hundreds of websites which can be useful to encourage students to make modifications and create new ways to learn the same.

Language learning: Students can be given chances for example to change dialogue or text of a program or video or film, from one language into another language. They can do transcription, translation, or subtitling. There is also language software which can be used for students to customize given written or spoken language.

Education in general: Today’s young people are willing to develop the ability to distinguish between what is fact and what is fiction, so education should encourage the young to learn even more about real things because this gives them an understanding of our world and the way things work.

Language learning: There are plenty of newspapers, brochures, guides, maps, Internet sites, and how-to manuals we can use to have students navigate and improve their language skills. This will help them prepare for content-area studies later on and for informational passages on standardized tests.

4. Integrity
Education in general: This generation of students wants to be honest, considerate, transparent, and willing to commit and they demand commitment of the people who lead them. Teachers must demonstrate commitment to their students and their learning. To do this, they understand their students’ background in addition to the subject matter while they select and align learning goals.

Language learning: Net gen students are confident and self assured. Language teachers must design or select appropriate activities and instructional materials and sequence instruction in ways that can help students to meet short- and long-term curricular goals. In addition, teachers should never lose sight of the variety of knowledge and experiences that Net gen students bring to class.

5. Collaboration

Education in general: These youngsters are natural collaborators and have created a culture of collaboration. They influence each other in networks on a global scale. Modern education has to encourage collaboration among students so that they can develop their potential for learning. Specifically, students can learn to approach and solve new problems so that they develop the capability to solve problems that do not exist at the moment of learning.

Language learning: Rather than simply absorbing language material, learning grammar rules, students must learn to develop capabilities that they first experience in assisted or collaborative learning situations using web pages, blogs, and other communication technologies that facilitate collaborative work since Net gen students like to organize themselves into new communities that go far beyond traditional teamwork.

6. Entertainment

Education in general: Net gen students want as many aspects of their life as possible to be fun. Modern education is expected to use technologies that when applied to learning can help motivate and engage Net gen students and promote better take-up of scientific disciplines while having lots of fun.
Language learning: Since Net gen learners can deal with multiple activities simultaneously and they enjoy entertainment plus education, language classes should include projects that focus on different technology-enhanced language learning methods. Language teachers must include multitasking in their classrooms.

7. Speed

Education in general: This new generation is into instant feedback and the fast pace of their lives is very important to them. Education nowadays must provide students with the right type of feedback in the timescales that they expect and computer aided feedback can certainly help to improve this.

Language learning: Net gen students are very familiar with the new technologies that can support them when learning another language; technologies such us internet, Skype, Face book, Bebo, MSN, virtual learning environments, chat-rooms, etc. If used by the language teacher, these technologies will provide students the instant feedback and the fast pace they want when learning a language.

8. Innovation

Education in general: These students live in a culture of innovation and creativity. They love to innovate. Everything that implies change and is new becomes significant to them. Today’s education must include some strategies and approaches that teachers may introduce to encourage increased student innovation; there are some specific tactics and methods that teachers can use in their classes to try and encourage more innovative practices.

Language learning: Net gen enjoy language classes in which teachers keep the class lively and keep all students involved, asking questions, carrying out mini-projects with presentations to the class, etc. They also want teachers to tie in what they are discussing with current events, bringing the language they learn to life while doing innovative activities.

miércoles, 5 de agosto de 2009

Task 1.2.3 Embedding media in a blog (Videos)

Global citizenship is now a reality. Students are living and learning in a technological world. To take advantage of the opportunities this world provides them, we teachers have to prepare them to be internationally competent, because otherwise they will be left behind if we don’t organize our education with a global context in mind. We must integrate international knowledge and new technologies in our regular language courses so that our students are ready to face the challenges of an even more technological and global future society.

There is a big issue that modern education and we educators face now: learners are getting more and more used to learning using technology in their lives. If we want to keep up with them and the way they prefer to learn, we must make important changes in the way we teach.

Task 1.2.1 Notes on Videos

The following are some notes on the two videos we watched (Did you Know 3.0
21st Century Educational Reality)

Aspects I was not aware of

25% of India’s population with highest IQs is greater than the total USA population
India has more honor kids than US has kids
The top ten jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004
1 out of 8 married couples met on line last year
If MySpace were a country it would be the 5th largest
The #1 broadband internet penetration country is Bermuda and USA is number 19
The first commercial text message was sent in 1992
iPod took only three years to reach a market audience of 50 million, Facebook took two years
A week’s worth of the NY times contains more information than a life time in the 18th century
In 2004 China graduated 600.000 engineers, India 350.000, US 70.000
US best industry is Higher education
US invested 2.6% of its gross domestic product in higher education; Europe 1.2%, Japan 1.1%;
The world’s best 1.00 computer scientists studied in the US

Aspects I firmly believe in

If I’m one in a million in China there are 1.300 people just like me
We are preparing students for jobs that do not even exist with technologies than have not been invented
We are living in exponential times
The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years
The reality is the numbers of graduates from different countries do not address the issue of quality.
India graduates between 35 and 50 PhDs in computers science each year; US 1.000
Poor and minority students score well bellow the US average while affluent students score as well as students in Singapore
Knowledge about the world is no longer a luxury is a necessity
We all have responsibilities to each other
Global citizenship is the new reality

Aspects that are being addressed

The US labor department estimates that today’s learner will have 10 to 14 jobs by age 34
1 in 4 workers has been with their current employer for less than a year
There are over 200 million users on MySpace
31 million searchers on Google every month
Number of text messages sent and received everyday exceeds the population of the planet
The number of Internet devices in 2008 is a billion
Japan has tested a fiber optic cable that pushes 14 trillion bits per second
67 babies are born in the US now while watching the presentation, 274 in China and 395 in India, 694.000 songs were downloaded illegally
US has 8 of the world’s top 10 universities and 68% of the top 50
Aparently US has poor results in primary and secondary tests but the scores do not show the deep regional racial socioeconomic variation in the USA
Aspects that will be
addressed soon
China will become number one English speaking country in the world
4 exabytes of unique information will be generated this year
Interconnectedness brings new markets and levels of prosperity

Aspects that will take longer to be addressed

For students that are now starting a four year technical degree, half of what they learn in the first year will be outdated by the first year of study in the future
By 2013 a supercomputer will exceed the computational capabilities of the human brain
By 2049 a on 1.00 dollar computer will exceed the computational capabilities of human beings
There is a need of an internationally competent workforce.
Teachers must prepare students to be internationally competent.
Education must be organized with a global context in mind so that children do not get behind.

Aspects I can deal with at the moment as a teaching professional

There are about 540.000 words in English
There are parts of the intellect that we are not able to test well: Creativity, curiosity, sense of adventure, ambition
We know how to train people to take exams
Our schools do well at developing critical faculties of the mind
Challenging kids to think, question, evaluate
We fail in reducing disparities and inequalities among students, prepare students for the 21st century global economy