How do we bring administrators on board with 21st century possibilities for teaching and learning?
This question has been on my mind since Wednesday, when a colleague shared with me that her principal came to her classroom while she was embarking on a movie making project with her class. In front of the students, he asked her to explain what standards she was addressing and to justify how filmmaking fit into the 4th grade curriculum.
She called me to ask what resources she might share to help him understand the rationale for filmmaking and other forms of digital composing as part of the core curriculum.
Here are my recommendations:
Technology integration in general:
- Begin with NCTE’s working definition of 21st century literacies, which clarifies that we can no longer distinguish between literacy in general and technology literacy in particular.
- Move on to the ISTE NETS, which many states and districts have already adopted (my district is in the process of adoption).
- Provide a window into the ISTE NETS via the classroom scenarios on Vermont’s Transformation Technology wiki.
Movie making in particular:
- Direct him to Mathew Needleman’s site for a view into filmmaking within the Open Court reading curriculum.
- Give him a tour of a student film festival, such as our regional SEVAs competition.
- Invite him to join a conversation I started following last year’s SEVA Awards Night: A Case for Filmmaking in the Classroom.
How are you helping administrators bypass all those 20th century bus stops and keep moving forward? I invite you share any resources you think might help this wonderful, wonderful teacher help her principal!
February 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm
I have one student, in fourth grade and in the beginning of fifth, was very withdrawn. Last year, her teacher described her as someone keeping to herself. It was almost the same story for her being in my class. Fortunately, we started making movies. We saw her confidence in herself as a student rise. She came out of her shell as she participated in movie making.
This “withdrawn” student was no longer withdrawn but engaged. After making one movie, she was invited to read the announcements for the entire school. She’s done an amazing job so far!
I know that this change will lead to more student engagement in more subjects now that she’s experienced success. What does this have to do with our standards?
In order for students to meet to the standards of a school district, maybe they need to know that they meet the standards of being a person. 1) They’re valued. 2) They can be successful. 3) They have something to contribute. 4) They can believe in themselves and others believe in them.
I am grateful for the opportunity to see genuine change in students simply by providing an outlet for their creativity. I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t take up movie making with my students. I’m so glad we did.
February 28, 2010 at 8:39 am
I hope you’re OK with my sharing your “standards of being a person.” Now that this student has found her voice in the classroom and the school site, it’s exciting to think where else she can create, connect and share. And I’m willing to bet she will show substantial E/LA gains – to mention nothing of life skills – that would not have been possible if she were limited to paper, pencil, and drill.
Thanks for all you are doing to help other teachers understand how to weave digital composing into the curriculum. At too many sites, movie making is viewed as an after-school, GATE-students-only activity.