In viewing the sites suggested as well as others, it is obvious that collaboration and the use of multimedia have become much more important than simple text sites. To successfully reach many learning styles, the use of images, video, games, and audio, aids in the ability to understand and learn. These mixed media sites also enable students to create their own content or remix what is already available in a way that is valuable to them. The use of simulations, like the one in the World Simulation, immerses students in the content, instead of simply reading about it.
In the Richardson & Mancabelli text, the six literacies described were thought provoking, but for me the most challenging was the sixth one relating to attending to the ethical responsibilities involved. We see instances of cyber-bullying all the time, which is one aspect of this. But, also, being fully literate in this new society requires growing up with this technology and learning to use it effectively. The digital divide cannot be corrected by simply giving someone an iPad. To fully succeed in this new society, a student needs to be able to perform all of the other literacies described, and that is not quickly accomplished for someone who has grown up without using an online device regularly and in an educational environment. In reading the descriptions of the various literacies, I thought that change is inherent in this new system, so anyone not willing to change is going to be in trouble. This is where access to and openness for professional development will be crucial.
Obviously, as a parent of two tweens, I was very interested in the article by Boyd, Three Conversations for Parents: Navigating Networked Publics. From my own experience, I would make a couple of additional recommendations for both parents and for K-12 educators. I think before children are left on their own in an online environment, there should be many years of baby steps. This includes showing them and talking with them about what you post online and why. My kids have seen my Facebook account and they will even make suggestions for pictures to post or comments to make. This starts a great conversation about what is appropriate and what isn’t. They have also heard me discuss with my husband when something posted online has hurt my feelings, and this helps to build empathy, as was discussed in the article. We teach our children through our own actions and words, so this modeling behavior can help them correctly navigate the online waters on their own in the future.
I found a number of great resources at the Teaching with Technology Podcast site. There were a number of podcasts that I can use to enhance my teaching including How to Create Interactive Goggle Maps and Podcasting for Beginners. After listening, I had fun playing with the tools described and plan on sharing some of the available podcasts with my peers.