I Like What I Am Seeing
We all know that the digital world has great potential for teaching, for schools, and as a domain that can work with and enhance print. But potential is as potential does — for so many of us, new devices and programs are developed somewhere far away, and we catch up when, if, and however we can. But I’ve seen four things that make the potential of the net seem much closer — much more something we can use as parents, teachers, librarians, and authors.
Loree Griffin Burns sent me this link to her blog, and a site she has discovered: lgburns.livejournal.com/110968.html Loree brings us to the slideshow of the Visualization Challenge of the National Science Foundation, and Science magazine. I sat there with my 8 year old and he could not get enough of looking at the images and listening to the stories behind them. Science and digital imaging cross, enticing kids on both fronts — with dazzle and with information.
An email or two later, Dr. Terri Ruyter, who is running a Teaching American History grant, sent me to cct.edc.org/project_summary.asp on the Center for Children and Technology site. There is no dazzle here, just words — but they describe forthcoming projects linking gaming to learning history.
Late last night, I read letters an 8th grade class in Illinois posted to a school wikisite with their comments on questions on Race. They have been guided in their reading by a social studies teacher, an English teacher, and a science teacher, and, as a result their insights on language, voice, point of view were as on target as their observations on history. This wiki contact is such a great way to prepare for school visits.
And to complete a busy day on the net, yesterday Lori Bell (her real name), Rocksie Sledge (her avatar name) and a gentlement from the Federation of American Scientists took me to Infotainment island on Second Life, where they are building a space for people to meet and talk about "race" (as a subject) and my own book Race. Rocksie is creating a second site, not yet open, where students can explore meanings of race in their own unguided tours.
Whether it is using visuals, exploring the link of gaming and historical decision making, communicating with students through a site before you see them, or building virtual spaces — the digital world really is becoming our educational ally. At the SLJ Summit in Novemeber, I’ll be talking about how print and this digital universe do, or don’t, fit together.
Tell me what you think. Send good and bad examples here, for us all to comment on and investigate.