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How Far Along the Technology Learning Pathway are You? by Bonnie Bracey Sutton

There are those who live by Url’s and web sites. That’s so different from really understanding the transforming power of the Photo by flattop314. (Rotary Dial)technology. Transformational use of technology involves examining, exploring, getting excited about, involving one self in learning using technology, and then fitting it to the learning landscape, the place in which one practices teaching as an art, It may be constructivist, and innovative. I call it the temple of your familiar. That is learning to use technology to examine, explore, investigate, evaluate, get excited about and e-learn with to accomplish a task.

Some teachers do this naturally, but some need guided practice. Time is also important, and collaborative feedback is great while doing this kind of learning.

Here is a formal attempt to create the learning I am talking about:

The 5 E’s is an instructional model based on the constructivist approach to learning, which says that learners build or construct new ideas on top of their old ideas. The 5 E’s can be used with students of all ages, including adults.

Each of the 5 E’s describes a phase of learning, and each phase begins with the letter "E": Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. The 5 E’s allows students and teachers to experience common activities, to use and build on prior knowledge and experience, to construct meaning, and to continually assess their understanding of a concept. Source

Media literacy – So Important

Who needs it?

First and foremost, adults need media literacy education. Our education schools offer little guidance for teachers. Most of the groups offering advice to parents focus on restricting access if not prohibiting media outright and thus do little to help moms and dads understand what it would take to construct a meaningful relationship to media. Our legal authorities are striking out blindly, trying to regulate media changes they do not yet fully understand. Our children are immersed in this emerging culture while adults too often remain on the outside looking in. Marc Prensky writes about the widening gap between "digital natives" and "digital immigrants," suggesting that they are never going to experience digital media in the same way because of such fundamental differences in backgrounds and experiences.

Yet, these skills are unevenly distributed across the population and even the most media literate kids are often not asking hard questions about the ways media reshapes our perceptions of the world. We owe it to all of these constituencies to be up to date in our understanding of the media landscape and forward thinking in our conception of what constitutes media literacy.

Some have argued that children and youth acquire these key skills and competencies on their own by interacting with popular culture. Three concerns, however, suggest the need for policy and pedagogical interventions:

The Participation Gap— the unequal access to the opportunities, experiences, skills, and knowledge that will prepare youth for full participation in the world of tomorrow.

The Transparency Problem— The challenges young people face in learning to see clearly the ways that media shape perceptions of the world.

The Ethics Challenge— The breakdown of traditional forms of professional training and socialization that might prepare young people for their increasingly public roles as media makers and community participants.

There are also those who have no guide to the use of technology based on their own personal explorations in technology. So I think at the beginning of the year we could ask teachers.

What was your technology passport, that is, what was the incident that allowed you to think of, work with, and include technology as a part of your teaching tools?

The new forms of use of technology are from the paper by Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program:

Forms of participatory culture include:

Affiliations—memberships, formal and informal, in online communities centered around various forms of media, such as Friendster, Facebook, message boards, meta-gaming, game clans, or MySpace.

Expressions— producing new creative forms, such as digital sampling, skinning and modding, fan video-making, fan fiction writing, zines, mash-ups.

Collaborative Problem-solving— working together in teams, formal and informal to complete tasks and develop new knowledge (such as through Wikipedia, alternative reality gaming, spoiling).

Circulations — Shaping the flow of media (such as podcasting, blogging)

There are other ways of collaborating that create different audiences using technology like Skype, or collaborative websites with project based learning, or doing digital storytelling, or learning to play serious games. There is the whole new set of personal ways of collaboration, the 2.0 and 3.0 applications and widgets.

(I’d like to give Bonnie a HUGE THANKS for visiting and sharing all of her tech tools & fascinating insights.)


  1. Joyce McGreevy says:

    This is like getting the benefit of a weekend seminar in one economical yet highly informative article. I’m going to share the link with every teacher and parent I know and I encourage other readers do the same! Kudos to Bonnie Bracey Sutton and Amy Bowllan!

  2. Amy Bowllan says:


    how kind and right on – regarding the “seminarish” of the information Bonnie has provided readers. For feedback purposes, do let me know how others respond to this information.

    many thanks…