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What key literacies should we be teaching students in a digital world? Vivid answers from K12Online09

February 9, 2010
The theme this week verges on disruptions to prescribed order when transformative technologies are brought to bear on traditional gatekeepers. Mark Pegrum’s chapter this week is on sociopolitical issues, and the readings at concern the concept of “edupunk.”

We have in fact been viewing our topic through a sociopolitical lens all along, in Keen’s suggestion for example that the “cult of the amateur” was creating a new elite that would rise to power by virtue of putting aside those who could not navigate the new folksonomies and identify with social networks; whereas Weinberger rejoiced in owners of content no longer owning the organization of that content.

To view suchdisruptions through a more pedagogical focus, take the ePorfolios that we hope participants here will create and/or develop as a record of their brief journey through this session. How would ePorfolios work as an assessment system where you teach, as opposed to the standardized testing and other exam-based criteria that might be driving your curriculum now? If you feel that ePortfolios are valid assessment tools and you have your students create them, you might be at odds with an entrenched system. If you use them anyway (because you think they are the best tool for the job as you perceive it), you would be ‘edupunk’. (For interesting insights, see Ambrose’s presentation on Googlios,

When we interviewedMark Pegrum recently he turned the tables and asked us this question: What key literacies should we be teaching students in a digital world?

The recent K-12 Online Conference left a rich archive of video and podcast presentations, where many of the presenters addressed this very question thoroughly, in great detail and in many aspects, and with strikingly vivid illustrations. Listening to these presentations you might think that edupunk had gone mainstream, that everyone is teaching digital skills and using web 2.0 tools with students these days, and you would be very fortunate to be working in a place where this was the case. From the K-12 Online presentations, it’s clear that educators have identified a broad set of multiliteracy skills needed for knowledge work in the 21st century, and that their own creativity and that of their students has blossomed as a result of ubiquitous access to tools leveraging these skills (see Valdez,

I have listened to anumber of these presentations and identified several that I think strikingly address some aspect of Mark’s question, and I’ve put them in an annotated list in a blog post here. Also I’ve tagged my findings in Delicious so if I discover more presentations they will aggregate around this URL:

Here is an annotated list of the presentations that I found addressMark’s questions especially well (the K-12 presentation notes are from the URLs given in the first bullet, and my annotations are in the 2nd bullet). In the spirit of teaching being to model and demonstrate, the presentations selected model appropriate 21st century communications literacy skills (and in the spirit of learning being to practice and reflect, these notes are being compiled):

Presenter: Joyce Kasman Valenza
Location: Rydal, PA, USA

Presentation Title: The Wizard of Apps or Will they have an app for that? or What we are learning and loading along the road

  • Presentation Description: In this student-produced keynote, Joyce and the students of Springfield Township High School???s Theatre II class consider which apps are the
    most critical as they walk the road together.
    Slides available:
  • Vance’s synopsis: What a lovely presentation! Joyce is struggling with her K-12 Online presentation when students in Wizard of Oz costumes crash into her
    library and need to practice there. It’s against the rules, but she
    can’t say no, and the kids perform somewhere over web 2 oh, and they’re
    off to see the wonderful wizard of apps. Along the way they hit all
    the major issues, ethical use, privacy, reputation (use people searches
    like to check yourself out), digital footprints
    (, fair use (remix), creative commons (where to
    find them: Flickr,, citations (Noodlebib,,,,
    research 2.0 (and aggregation of results via RSS, Glogster, Google
    Squared, Google News Timeline) Wolfram Alpha, databases and various
    widgets, Pageflakes, Google tools and apps, evaluation of information
    online, plagiarism, digital storytelling (,
    Voicethread, Animoto, Wordle, video tools such as flip cams), PLNs
    (Twitter, Nings e.g. Classroom 2.0, Diigo,, starting
    PPT blank … just to mention a few. The slide show has 202 slides,
    almost all with links. The story has a happy ending, the kids realize
    they don’t need to see the wizard after all (many of the apps they need
    are on their iPhones) and Joyce is inspired now to make her
    presentation. It’s all set to music and the song lyrics are really
    good! Oh, my!
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 JoyceValenza 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit multimedia multiliteracies
    literacy literacyskills web2.0 k12 medialiteracy wizardofoz

Presenter: Drew Schrader
Location: Bloomington, IN
Presentation Title
: Keeping Literacy in 21st Century Literacy

  • Presentation Description: In this session I outline the movement towards multiple literacies and 21st century literacies. Within this framework I present concrete
    strategies and methods for pursing the traditional notion of literacy ???
    reading and writing fluency ??? in an online context. In particular I
    hope to show how ???think alouds??? and other literacy modeling strategies
    can be enhanced by Web 2.0 technologies like Diigo for social
    bookmarking and Screentoaster for easy screen capture and content
    delivery. Part of this enhancement comes from the ability to customize
    instruction to individual student needs and interests. This
    presentation is a relatively equal mix of teaching theory, literacy
    pedagogy, and technology integration.
  • Vance’s synopsis: Whereas many of the K-12 Online Conference presentations this year mention 21st century literacy skills, this one tackles the issue head on as the
    topic of the presentation. It’s directed at teachers new to Web 2.0
    who want to use it for student engagement. The focus is on strategies
    (Think Alouds, Annotated Texts, and Mindmapping) and Solutions
    (Screentoaster, Diigo, and Prezi; the presentation is recorded in
    Prezi), and a reasonable attempt is made to relate the solutions to
    sound pedagogical issues and practices. Screentoaster is a screen
    capture utility that runs online and stores in the cloud, and it is
    shown how this tool in conjunction with the annotation power of Diigo
    can model good reading strategies for students. The last topic is
    mindmapping with Prezi, of which this presentation itself is an
    excellent example, (and the presentation is done by establishing a path
    through the mindmap).
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 DrewSchrader 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation prezi diigo
    screentoaster screencapture screencasting evomlit multimedia
    multiliteracies literacy literacyskills reading mindmapping web2.0 k12

Presenter: Chris Betcher
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Presentation Title: Ways of Working

  • Presentation Description: This presentation explores a range of ideas that teachers could use to make a real-world task richer and more meaningful for their students.
    Using a large public art event as the focus, it looks at a number of
    ideas for enriching student learning with technology??? ideas that could
    be modified and applied to nearly any learning context.
  • Vance’s synopsis: This is a wow presentation that rattles off ideas for researching and telling one’s own digital story one after another. Starts with search
    techniques: Sculpture by the Sea web site has a twitter feed, people
    carry mobile devices, can give opinions, take pictures, tag them.
    Google search gives you a feed. Blog search for people’s opinions,
    technorati, Twitter using hash tags, photos tagged on Flickr, mapping
    service to show locations (cell phones geotag photos) – shows in screen
    cast with embedded web cam how to add RSS feeds to help you feed search
    results to you; e.g. to a Netvibes page. Talks about sending students
    out to use phones to take pictures, get recordings, videos.
    Presentation: Voicethread, Animoto,, makes
    panoramas from single photos, for creating ARG
    presentations, Google forms to collect data and present it in
    spreadsheet, charts, etc (does conditional branching)
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 ChrisBetcher 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit multimedia
    multiliteracies literacy literacyskills web2.0 k12 medialiteracy

Presenter: Tom Daccord
Location: chestnut Hill, MA, USA

Presentation Title: Nurturing the 21st Century History Teacher

  • Presentation Description: Emerging technologies, a globalized world, and fiscal restraints demand innovative approaches to education. This session explores new research
    about 21st century teaching strategies and professional development and
    shares models, resources, and examples to help social studies teachers
    effectively integrate technology and address needed skills.
  • Vance’s synopsis: This presentation explains how a history teacher uses 21st century literacies to leverage his students’ understanding of course content.
    He suggests checking out student-made videos of Macbeth on YouTube and
    noting that many of them were made on the initiative of the students
    themselves. Students find YouTube compatible with their expectations
    of how technology should work to enhance their ability to tell a
    digital story, and the presenter shows examples of how social
    networking sites were developed as platforms for these stories, and
    suggests at the end that teachers join communities of practice to learn
    how the concepts work with one another. The video ends with an
    inspiring comment on leadership, where a coach comes out of the crowd
    to help a young girl get through her nearly botched rendition of the
    National Anthem, turning a potential disaster into a truly uplifting
    moment, to illustrate poignantly how social networking works.
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 TomDaccord 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit history
    multimedia multiliteracies literacy literacyskills video youtube k12
    inspiration creativity CoP communitiesofpractice leadership
    digital_storytelling digitalstorytelling

Presenter: Bill Carozza
Location: Deerfield, New Hampshire, USA

Presentation Title: Embracing Web 2.0 for the Administrator

  • Presentation Description: This workshop is part of the K12 Online Conference and is designed for the K-12 administrator looking to dip their toe into Web 2.0.

  • Vance’s synopsis: Here a K-12 principal addresses a number of basic Web 2.0 tools to help teachers develop their personal learning networks and learn with other
    teachers about modern technology. It introduces the basic tool set for
    this in the categories of aggregators (Google Reader and Bloglines),
    blogging (Blogger, WordPress), online apps (Google Docs, wikis),
    photosharing (Flickr, Picassa), podcasting (Garageband/Audacity,
    Podomatic), video sharing (SchoolTube, TeacherTube) and social
    networking (Twitter, Facebook). The presentation style is approachable
    and easy to understand, and it’s a good introduction to some of the
    most useful and essential web 2.0 tools. Interesting stats given at the
    end of COSN survey of district leaders regarding integration of Web 2.0
    and usage in schools. Finally, some tips on how to move your school
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 BillCarozza 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit paradigmshift changeagency multiliteracies
    literacy literacyskills video schooltube teachertube k12 CoP
    communitiesofpractice leadership research technology web2.0 ict

Presenter: Kelley Connolly & Jon Greenberg
Location: Chestnut Hill, MA USA
Presentation Title
: Building on Analog Success with 2.0 Technology

  • Presentation Description: This presentation will focus on an established successful 6th grade capstone project called ???The Biggest Dig.??? In the 5th year of this
    research project, myself and Jon Greenberg, the Humanities teacher,
    collaborated to modernize the project using web 2.0 technologies such
    as wikis and online note taking software. This video includes an
    overview of the project, review the tools used, how we decided to
    transition certain project components to web 2.0 tools, student
    feedback, and finally, a review of the final product and our
    assessments. The goal of this presentation is to demonstrate that
    teacher collaboration and sharing of ideas is a fundamental component
    to enhancing already established curriculum. The idea that you do not
    have to throw out everything you have done in the analog world to adapt
    to web 2.0 world is our central theme.
  • Vance’s synopsis: This slick, compelling (possibly Prezi) presentation is well described above, and my impression of it is that it gives an excellent overview
    of the tools and shows how they were utilized one after another in a
    long project that helped students learn the appropriate web 2.0 tools
    and how to use them. Connolly is a librarian who helped Greenberg
    improve his 6th grade student research project by moving the paper
    chase into a wiki and track student research notes using Noodlebib or
    The kids have to make a presentation of their research, can be
    augmented by poster, diarama, or video using latest digital
    technologies. Then the drama teacher got involved, invited kids to
    create characters associated with their projects, use flip cams to
    video one another. Greenberg thought his project had been good to begin
    with, but much improved by the librarian’s advice. Feedback elicited
    from the students on voicethread (questions posed on voicethread,
    students answer them in voices around slide on which is posed the
    question. The presentation dovetails with Jason Neiffer’s one on
    paperless pedagogy.
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 KelleyConnolly JonGreenberg 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit multimedia multiliteracies literacy literacyskills k12 inspiration creativity CoP
    communitiesofpractice digital_storytelling digitalstorytelling
    paperless wiki noodlebib noodletools voicethread

Presenter: Jason Neiffer
Location: Helena, Montana, USA
Presentation Title
: Probing the Prospects of Paperless Pedagogy

  • Presentation Description: After years of lobbying, my high school World Cultures course is now assigned to a computer lab each day during my school year. In this
    proto-one-to-one environment, I am attempting a largely paperless
    classroom. Using Moodle, Web 2.0 tools and a mix of liberal computer
    lab hours and checkout laptops, I have eliminated the paper shuffle
    from my World Cultures class. I am now three months into my project and
    ready to report the early results including its impact on my other
  • Vance’s synopsis: This presentation describes how the presenter gradually moved toward the ellimination of the paper chase in his classroom to gradually move
    toward the ideal of the all-digital learning environment. How?
    Purchased a Google apps domain and hosted suite of Google tools there.
    In newspaper course, all article written in Google Docs environment,
    and the newspaper itself comes out in WordPress. Move from textbooks to
    digital resources. World cultures course is in WordPress blog,,
    has Google assignment calendar, google reader, igoogle,
    voicethread, Moodle, Odeo, Googlemaps, Skype for voice conferencing,
    etc. How to share traditional print resources? Scribd and Slideshare
    (resources embed on Moodle). Assessments done in Moodle assessment
    tools, soon to utilize Quizlet and Studiyo. These tools introduced at
    regular intervals, recycled, introduce another. Assignments graded
    online, student accountability and engagement increased with move to
    online environment. Challenges? Access/digital divide (not all
    students have home access), not all students have their OWN computer
    (computer lab not the ideal, personal laptops are). Advice? Don’t
    adopt everything at once, introduce tools gradually; make students
    partners; embrace failure. This presentation dovetails with Connolly
    and Greenberg who moved a paper-based project into digital modalities.
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 JasonNeiffer 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit paradigmshift multiliteracies literacy literacyskills technology web2.0
    ict culture worldcultures intercultural

Presenter: Dennis Richards
Location: Andover, MA, USA

Presentation Title: Slippery Rocks & Hard Places: Twelve Bridges and Learning Matters

  • Presentation Description: To begin, I want you to know I created a wiki that expands upon the notions I discuss in this presentation/video. If you find what I say
    worthy of further reflection, carry your learning beyond the boundaries
    of the .mov and visit
    Ifyou wonder what a ???well-educated??? student will look like in our
    constantly shifting, interconnected, globalized society; if you want to
    know what teachers and administrators need to know about teaching and
    learning in the 21st Century; if you are ready to learn about newer,
    more effective ways of teaching that engage, challenge and inspire
    students; this is the session for you. In this video I will present a
    vision for teaching and learning in the 21st century that is evolving
    as I explore the intersection of pedagogy and the digital culture.
    There are twelve critical bridges that span competing conditions I have
    experienced that we must all acknowledge, experience and understand if
    we are to move toward the emerging new story of learning.

1. Building Learning Communities: Distant ~ Flat
2. Community Norms: Reserved ~ Confident
3. Boot Camp: Learned ~ Learning
4. Learning and Teaching: Compliance ~ Community
5. Read-Write Web: Repository ~ Participatory
6. Building a Network: Possess ~ Share
7. Leadership and Planning: Consistent ~ Innovative
8. Mental Models: Informed ~ Wise
9. Establishing Identity: Directed ~ Autonomous
10. Presentation Skills: Deliver ~ Engage
11. Learning Environment: Contained ~ Open
12. Map of Community Values: Change ~ Transformation

  • Vance’s synopsis: The presenter characterizes here what he calls “the new story of learning.” The appeal of this presentation (to me) is the list of 12
    “critical bridges” that bears some similarity to my own list of skills
    and concepts that teachers need to master in the 21st century, and
    which I last laid out at….
    As such, the presentation suggests some of the paradigm shifts we all
    need to make in order to use the new technologies to engage their
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 DennisRichards 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit paradigmshift multiliteracies
    literacy literacyskills k12 technology web2.0 ict

Presenter: Paul Curtis
Location: Napa, California, United States
Presentation Title
: Building A Web 2.0 Culture

  • Presentation Description: Web 2.0 is more than a set of technology tools. It reflects the democratization of information, the power of collaboration and the
    personalization we hope to find in any school. Taking full advantage of
    Web 2.0 technology requires more than hardware and software, it
    requires adopting a Web 2.0 culture. In 1996, New Technology High
    School in Napa, California opened with a vision of reinventing high
    school for a new age. At the core of their approach was a culture,
    curriculum and technology foundation that empowered the student to take
    more control over their learning and the school. New Tech High is now a
    national model for school transformation with a network of over 40 21st
    Century schools based on those principals. Learn the specific
    strategies and technologies used by the New Technology Network to
    create a culture that is more student (user) centered in the classroom
    and encourage collaboration between students, teachers and schools.
  • Vance’s synopsis: Presenter introduces culture at New Tech H.S. which appears to have moved in the direction of paradigm shifts called for in Dennis
    Richards’s presentation, at
    and by Kim Cofino in her work on taking it to the next level Curtis notes that Web 2.0 has led to democratization of information (not
    controlled by gatekeepers), the power of collaboration (exponential
    growth in knowledge), and greater personalization. Web 2.0 threatens
    current culture where teacher was source of knowledge (now kids have
    it), notions of cheating (vs collaboration), notions of assessment (not
    standardized tests; and see Ambrose’s presentation on Googlios). The
    New tech culture is based on
    • trust (means self-management, self-direction, trusting students to learn without teachers vs. control over curriculum and discipline)
    • respect modeled in attitudes toward students, respect opinions of others
    • responsibility (vs. punishment, esp punishing all for poor choices of the few, e.g. hall pass systems, bells between classes)
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 PaulCurtis NewTech NewTechnologyHighSchool NewTechnologyNetwork 21stcenturylearning
    21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit multiliteracies literacy
    literacyskills paradigmshift changeagency

Presenter: G. Alex Ambrose
Location: South Bend, Indiana, USA
Presentation Title
: Googlios: A 21st ??? Century Approach to Teaching, Learning, & Assessment

  • Presentation Description: As the first decade of the 21st century comes to end and blogs, wikis, and podcasts have become more mainstream, it is important that
    educators step back to see how we, as professionals, are best using
    these tools to serve our students??? learning needs. If these modern
    technologies are going to be sustained in contemporary pedagogy, it is
    time that we ???kick it up a notch??? and tie these tools to both a higher
    theme and to learning theories. In other words, rather than using
    technology for technology???s sake, we need to rest on a new 21st-century
    foundation of teaching, learning, and assessment theory. Through a
    screencast, webcam, and Power Point video, ???Googlios??? offers not simply
    a ???how to??? but a ???why to;??? it introduces a model of how one educator
    has come to understand and organize these tools to support a
    21st-century constructivist and connectivist approach to ???bridge the
    divide??? in educating our digital natives.

    Morespecifically, this presentation will shed light on a model that
    demonstrates relationships between emerging tools and learning theories
    and between Personal Learning Environments (PLEs), Personal Learning
    Networks (PLNs), and ePortfolios. By using Google Sites as a main
    dashboard that ???mashes up??? multiple Google Apps like Blogger, Youtube,
    Google Reader, Google Maps, Google Docs, and iGoogle into an
    ePortfolio, students can build and organize their own Personal Learning
    Environment (PLE) simultaneously with ???building bridges??? through their
    Personal Learning Network (PLN)???all while supporting e-portfolio
    authentic assessment. One last word of caution: ???Googlios: A
    21st-Century Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Assessment??? seeks to
    ignite an educational renaissance.
  • Vance’s synopsis: A Googlio lets you mash up into one page a variety of tools. The presenter introduces Google tools, such as Google Sites (create a web
    page in 3 steps), couched in a framework of Flat World and Whole New
    Mind, Digital Natives (others speak DSL, digital as a second language,
    others are digital refugees and digital aliens; second digital divide
    between natives and immigrants vs. refugees and aliens). Meanwhile
    earning is becoming connectivist, creates its own ecosystems. Here is
    starts getting interesting, PLE’s and Bloom’s Taxonomy revised. Notes
    paradigm shift in expectations, with assessment standards, ISTE
    standards shifting as well. How do we adapt to these standards? Need
    new models and paradigms. Enter, Googlio 😉 related to the concept of
    e-portfolios –> webfolios. Basically, they show what we learned,
    are learning, want to learn. Eportfolios can be digitally enhanced,
    provide for three purposes: documentation, presentation,
    collaboration. They can be for personal, employment, or
    education/training use, and address learning, professional, and
    organizational criteria. They are outcome, evidence, competency,
    performance, project based and authentic. They can be
    institutionalized and designed to meet standards for perfomance and
    outcomes. They can develop over time and be carried forward through
    school and professional life. A Googlio then is a web porfolio based
    in Google, more information at
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 AlexAmbrose 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit
    multiliteracies literacy literacyskills google googleapps googledocs
    e-portfolios eportfolios assessment paradigmshift changeagency
    eportfolio ple pln connectivism personal_learning_environments
    personal_learning_network personallearningnetwork

Presenter: Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
Location: Jacksonville, FL, USA
Presentation Title
: Around the World with Skype

  • Presentation Description: Are you ready to get started with Skype? In this presentation you will see and hear what kind of hardware and software you will need, get step
    by step instructions to set up for your first call. Find out strategies
    and discover projects to join as well as links and resources how to
    find and contact more partners. You will hear advice from real teachers
    on how to prepare your class for successful Skype connections, help
    your students learn, document, reflect, and many more ideas how to open
    up your classroom to the world.
  • Vance’s synopsis: This cheery and well-choreographed presentation makes an excellent how-to for connecting your class to the outside world using Skype. It
    gives the essentials and tips, how to record your calls, how to manage
    conference events, anticipating problems, and perhaps most importantly,
    gives you a few rounds of ammo to fire at admins to convince them that
    you need this tool in your classroom!
  • Delicious tags: K12OnlineConference k12online k12online09 SilviaTolisano 21stcenturylearning 21stcenturyskills presentation evomlit multiliteracies literacy literacyskills technology web2.0 ict skype
    tutorial howto how2 pedagogy school2.0 collaboration


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  1. Nina Liakos permalink

    Wow. I’ve just had time to watch Joyce Valenza’s extraordinary keynote. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Vance Stevens permalink

    The good news is that with Nings and social networking, this session can continue long after it "ends" on Feb 21, 2010.

  3. Vanessa Vaile permalink

    So much here. It will take more than just the week to digest. I’m getting portfolio pumped + sense evolving of what I want to do with it & how ~ not iGoogle but Googlio (using existing static pages, keep wheel reinvention to minimum) with link to iGoogle. Now, I’ll put something on to load while I tend to something else. Multi-tasking dial-up style.

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