Presentations for Sunday, February 4

Morning Keynote :

'It's the Only Thing In My Life That I Have Total Control Over': Teen Culture On the Web
Henry Jenkins

In the wake of the Columbine shootings, the national news media focused enormous attention on Harris and Kleibold's use of the net and the web without providing a meaningful baseline for understanding what aspects of that use were typical of all teens, and which were deviant. In a multimedia presentation that draws together words and images from teen-created websites, Prof. Henry Jenkins focuses on the ways in which young people are using the web to build community, to express political opinions, to explore their personal identities, and to display their artworks and creative writing. Jenkins sees teens as central players in the digital revolution and warns of the dangers of censoring or regulating web content. What can educators learn by looking more closely at the websites teens design outside of school settings? How can they give us insight into the new media literacy and communication skills that our students are developing on their own? How can we use classroom activities to reinforce those skills and to help students become critical, ethical, and creative users of new media?

Morning Discussion Session:

An Inside Look at The Mirror Project
Robert Arevalo

A multi-media demonstration of the philosophies and teaching methodologies that have been used at The Mirror Project since its inception in 1992. Demonstration will include discussion, video clips, photos and web illustrations.

Morning Discussion Session:

Technology to Engage Active Learning and Thinking
Valerie Becker
Martha Stackpole

The West Tisbury School seeks to embed technology into the learning work of children. These children are using word processors, database management systems, HyperStudio, intelligent software, multi-media presentation applications, video-editing software, electronic bulletin boards, portable computers, telephones, video cameras, digital cameras, classroom computers, the Internet and CD Roms as they endeavor to investigate, and to make sense of and share their learning. Technology is not an end in itself, but a means that supports children's engagement in active learning and thinking. For children already experiencing school success, it provides yet another learning resource; and for those who have struggled previously, it opens the door to a whole new range of possibilities for manipulation, organization and presentation of information as well as for self-expression. For these children, technology has become the bridge to active learning and enhanced self-esteem. A variety of media and visual illustrations will inform this workshop including web pages produced by students, QuickTime video projects of field trips, and a multi-platform CD-ROM produced for children to take home and share with their parents. Participants will receive handouts with the project plans, software and hardware needs, as well as helpful tips for using these applications and tools.

Morning Discussion Session:

Exposure, Creation, Presentation and Discussion
Joseph Douillette

Media tools allow for the most elaborate collaborations or the most intimate creations. Respect and celebration for both the group and the individual can be taught using media as a tool. The ideas and creations of those traditionally unheard can be amplified and disseminated with the power of electronic media. These ideas are explored through the various components of the Teen Media Program, including the Do It Your Damn Self!! National Youth Video Festival. The most successful curricula I have used give equal importance to four areas: exposure, creation, presentation and discussion. The elements of presentation and discussion make the reasons to create more real for youth. How do we create these opportunities to present and discuss? How do we provide the opportunities to create when access to equipment is limited? In the breakout session, successful and unsuccessful curricula will be presented along with examples of videos and other media work made by TMP youth and youth from around the country.

Afternoon Keynote:

(Yet Another) Digital Divide: Research vs. Practice
Brian Smith

As someone who develops new educational technologies, I often confront the gap between research and classroom practice. Let's call this a digital divide: a divide between ideology and the day-to-day realities of schools. On the one hand, researchers develop tools and methodologies that attempt to radically change educational settings. At the same time, many of these approaches are simply impractical when placed in school contexts where teachers have to deal with strict curriculum standards, overcrowded classrooms, and, of course, machinery that crashes every other minute.

In my presentation, I will talk about some of the difficulties I have encountered trying to bring new technologies into schools. Some of these issues are technocentric (e.g., reconfiguring multiple machines for a single piece of experimental software can be a nightmare). More important, however, is the problem of changing pedagogical practices in classrooms, and I will share lessons I have learned while working with teachers to adopt new curricula. In addition, I hope to talk some about my own work in creating applications that foster critical inquiry in science and the humanities. Also, I would like to explore some ideas about ways to rethink our assumptions about computers to make them more amenable to the demands of schools.

Afternooon Discussion Session:

Best Practices for Technology Use
Joshua Farber

At Northfield Mount Hermon School, a four-year phase-in of standardized laptops, software, and network resources has led to a belief that best-practice technology use requires a support structure consistent with digital modes of knowledge-sharing and knowledge-creation. In working towards technological best practices of teachers and students, NMH has developed a responsive, redundant, accessible but non-intrusive, and distributed service and resource model. We concentrate on curricular context and pedagogical outcomes, provide multiple paths towards the same classroom goal, and centralize access through department heads and educational technology specialists to deliver people and places, not machinery and wires, to learners.

The implementation of several classroom projects over the past year best demonstrates our approach. Each is teacher-prompted; and each uses an interconnected tool-set (chat, Web, e-mail, PowerPoint, MSWord) to serve the teachers' needs. Most importantly, each project pairs a teacher with a teacher/specialist trained as a synthesist. Available in and out of the classroom, the synthesist is the teachers' meta-resource, coordinating resources and service for the project so that teacher and students can stay focused on pedagogy and curriculum. The changes in ways of thinking about technology and learning exhibited by both teachers and students as well as the increasingly comfortable use of technological resources speaks to the success of this organic approach.

Afternoon Discussion Session:

Integrating Technology into the Curriculum
Dennis Mercurio

Designing and maintaining a vibrant and growing technology program requires the cooperation and integration of a number of elements, both human and electronic. This session will offer some practical suggestions about how to promote and sustain the integration of technology into the curriculum, primarily but not exclusively at the secondary level. We will focus on ways to marshal a school's often underused but highly capable resource - its students - to advance the utilization of technology throughout the system. Several projects, the results of student-teacher collaborations, will be examined.

The questions we will address include: How can schools help train and prepare teachers to take advantage of the new media technologies?; how can teachers help students with little technology experience or few resources to gain parity with their high-tech classmates?; and how can schools provide the infrastructure necessary to sustain technologically enhanced learning that meets the Massachusetts DOE Frameworks?