Panel Sessions

Saturday Morning, February 3:

Emerging Models of Learning

New media resources are profoundly affecting teaching and learning. In this session, we will consider some examples that model how innovative schools can exploit new technologies. In addition, we will explore the assumptions about the learning process that underlie these uses of new media. Panelists should be prepared to explain what new media offers that would be harder to achieve in traditional classroom practice; speakers should also be ready to discuss the limitations of new media and the particular challenges teachers face in trying to mobilize new technologies in the classroom. We recognize throughout this conference that new technology is no substitute for good teaching. But good teachers are among the first to recognize and take advantage of new technologies.

Saturday Afternoon, February 3:

Media Literacy

Media literacy has often been seen as a way of reshaping students' tastes and promoting so-called quality culture. In the digital age, however, media literacy needs to be understood as a set of skills enabling students not simply to consume or critically evaluate media content, but to actively participate in the media environment. We would like to use this session to identify some of the basic skills we think students need; to examine how those skills might best be integrated into the curriculum; and to highlight the success stories of programs that encourage an active or participatory conception of media literacy. A key assumption here is that if we are going to use new media in the classroom, we have an obligation to make sure that students know how to use that media critically, creatively, ethically, and productively.

Sunday Morning, February 4:

Student-Produced Media

Building on our previous discussion of media literacy, we want to look at programs both within and beyond the school setting that encourage students to become media makers rather than media consumers. Media-production classes have existed in at least some high schools since the 1920s, but the advent of new media has generated many new questions. How are new-media technologies creating opportunities for production-based learning? What are the advantages of combining making and thinking? What strategies have schools and teachers adopted to integrate production into existing academic subjects? What work has been done beyond the schools to empower teens to make better use of these emerging technologies as a means of expressing their unique perspectives on the world? What resources are needed to support these production activities? If many teens are learning how to make media on their own outside of school, what can or should schools contribute to this process?

Sunday Afternoon, February 4:

Technology Coordination and Resource Management

At the last MIT Wiring the Classroom event, discussion kept returning to certain crucial matters: how teachers from different schools could share digital resources; how schools could help train teachers to use new media technologies; what classroom resources should schools provide; and how can teachers help students with limited exposure to computers in their homes catch up with their more technologically advanced classmates. We would like this last panel to address some of these nuts-and-bolts questions with accounts of how your schools or school systems have helped provide the infrastructure for technologically enhanced learning. We would like the presentations here to combine war stories about what has and hasn't worked in your schools with some blue-sky speculation about what resources and practices might better meet your needs.