Week 3: Seeking Equity

Happy Monday! So great to see so many of you “in person” this past week via our online gathering. For those who couldn’t make it Tuesday, here is a link to the archive (we get started around 14:30) and the related google document.

Since it was a small group, I am thinking Tuesday at 7pm might not be the best time — I will send out a doodle poll via email this week to see what might be a better time for everyone. These are not required of an online course, of course, but I do think it’s helpful for us to actually see and talk to each other from time to time so I’ll aim to keep them going every two weeks during this semester.

Also, a response to your great blogs re: annotating … First, you all did a fabulous job. Second, I did get you started in a hard place … ie. an article which is really very crowded with annotations already. Here is a link to the #ed677 annotations; you can look at the most recent if you want to see this group’s thinking, specifically.

This week we will look at another article that already has annotations (although I think less) … and then in a few weeks, we will experiment in a private group with some annotations just of our own. I will also invite you to participate publicly in a few annotation events just getting started later this semester. Finally, if you are into online annotation, we will also try another tool call Now Comment just to see how it compares and what the implications might be.

The week ahead … Read/Watch

As we continue to get started and ground ourselves in the values of Connected Learning — social, equitable, participatory — we will dive this week into equity and what we mean when we talk about equitable learning. A key goal of this course is to support you in designing connected learning opportunities for learners (and/or teachers) that focus on issues of equity. But what do we mean by equity? And how do we get there?

Mimi Ito and Justin Reich say, in the report you looked at From Good Intentions to Real Outcomes, write:

We stand at the cusp of widespread adoption of new technologies that have the potential to both radically reduce or exacerbate existing forms of educational inequity. A concerted push for research, innovation, and joint action around a common purpose of deploying learning technologies in the service of equity could dramatically enhance our understanding of how new technologies can truly democratize education.

And while Nicole Mirra reminds us that connecting learning and teaching is not simply learning technologies, learning technologies – and networked technologies, in general – do have a great impact on the ways that we work, live and relate to each other today, both in and outside of schools. That’s why colleagues of mine from the San Diego Area Writing Project spent some time also inquiring into the smart use of technology in support of equity and have defined equity for themselves as:

… anything that supports the full human talent development of every student, and all groups of students.

Read this related article, Smart Tech Use for Equity, from Teaching Tolerance to learn about their work and a summary of their findings.

Next, let’s read (and annotate!) an article by another WP colleague, Linda Christensen Linda is an editorial board member of Rethinking Schools and is the author of Reading, Writing, and Rising Up, and Teaching for Joy and Justice. This essay was published last year in Voices from the Middle and titled “Critical Literacy and Our Students Lives.”

I try to make my literacy work a sustained argument against inequality and injustice. I want my students to be able to “talk back” when they encounter anything that glorifies one race, one culture, one social class, one gender, one language over another: texts, museums, commercials, classes, rules that hide or disguise domination. A critical literacy means that students probe who benefits and who suffers, how did it come to be this way, what are the alternatives, and how can we make things more just?

Read Critical Literacy and Our Students Lives this week and experiment with the ways you approach this reading and annotation (hypothes.is is again with this article and many annotations already exist) . For example try to keep the annotations on as you are reading it for the first time — what’s that experience like? Where does it lead you? Read and/or make annotations in whatever way is most helpful to you and to others; if you do annotate, use the tag #ed677.

This article was made available for annotation via a 2017-18 collaboration with the National Writing Project & Marginal Syllabus called Writing Our Civic Futures. As part of that collaboration, we also interviewed Linda about her work; this discussion includes teacher Kevin Hodgson whom you met previously, and might be of interest before jumping into the article:

What insights are important here as you think about equity in learning? What questions get raised for you? What are some implications?

Finally, let’s turn to a widely circulated image on the web you might have run into meant to support distinguishing equity from equality .

If you aren’t familiar with it, you can skim this article The Evolution of an Accidental Meme by Craig Froehle.

Then, before you start your make this week, please fully read this blog post which is an important set of reframing by organizer Paul Kuttner that looks at the harmful consequences of deficit-thinking: The problem with that equity vs. equality graphic you’re using.

Make/Remix

Starting with the syllabus, I quoted Juliet Shor from a 2013 webinar called Connected Learning As Pathway to Equity & Opportunity:

New institutions and new practices, as they arise in a highly unequal and stratified society … will take on those inequalities unless they are actively combated.

This week’s make is meant to support us in imagining how we might get into this fight for equity. We will be using an alternative image/remix of the Equality/Equity graphic and following the questions of a related making project titled #The4thBox from the Center For Story-based Strategy and Interaction Institute for Social Change.

Read through the why and how of the #The4thBox and after doing some reflection about the key questions here, make a 4th image of your own. Use it to discuss the importance of not just telling a different version of the same story, but of actually changing the story (by challenging assumptions).

Questions from this project include:

  • What other story could be revealed in this setting?
  • What other “psychic break” could you make up?
  • What other underlying assumption here could you challenge?
  • Who built that wall in the first place and/or who took it away?

On their website they have paper cut-outs and a digital remix version. Feel free to add and use other materials and imagery.

I also encourage you to bring in resources from our last few weeks of class so far; for example, drawing from our previous readings, what would change if we took seriously the interests of the kids? How might, in the words of Dewey, the matter at hand be of “immediate and personal concern, even to the point of actual participation?” How do social interactions fit in here? Where are the kids own stories? How do social and network technologies support human potential, or not?

Below are a few resources that may support your thinking about equity in education in particular (feel free to suggest others too in your blog posts or Find 5s this week):

Share your #The4thBox creations and then reflect what you made and why you made it on your blog. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, I have also set up a discussion in Canvas as alternative sharing option — you can choose.

Connect/Find

This week we are going to start our “Find 5” process – and we will continue to do this throughout the semester. Here’s how it works — each week we will each find at least 5 things online to share and reflect on that are about each other’s work and/or the larger field of Connected Learning. Create a post on your blog where you can share these 5 things with a short description of what you think is interesting about it.

What should you find? Try find things that:

  • Your fellow classmates have shared or posted that you think are interesting;
  • Ideas from our shared readings/watchings you think would be interesting to others too;
  • Resources, posts, etc. that you find online and that relate to the topics are are thinking about together (for example, this week maybe you can think about how can you connect to other educators working to build equity in their classrooms/learning spaces).

Have fun with this and maybe even challenge yourself as if it is a game … for example, if you can get this done by Friday, then find 5 things and call is your “Find 5 Friday” (or use #F5F as a hashtag). If it is Saturday though when you get this, then you can “Seek 6 Saturday” (#S6S). And if it’s Sunday, the “Search 7 Sunday” is perfect (#S7S).

Here is an example from Learning to Connect who participated in this course in 2018: Seek 6 Saturday #s6s. And a tech tip: When making links within your Find 5s, try to make hyperlinks instead of posting the messy/impossible-to-read link itself. Here’s a digital writing 101 tutorial how.

Note: If what you found is actually not public (ie. you found it in our Canvas discussions for example) please respect its privacy and respond to it privately/in Canvas and not via your Find 5s. Thank you.

Twitter Chat Option

According to their website, EduColor “seeks to elevate the voices of public school advocates of color on educational equity and justice. We are an inclusive cooperative of informed, inspired and motivated educators, parents, students, writers and activists who promote and embrace the centrality of substantive intersectional diversity.”

Educolor hosts a newsletter that you can join as well as a monthly twitter chat. This month’s chat is on January 31st if you are interested (please note that these are very active chats – if you are new you might decided to just follow along and note how people are doing this):


And, In case you are curious about twitter and don’t know where to start, here are a few links that might be helpful.

In Connected Learning Solidarity,
Christina

Marginal Syllabus

At first I was very hesitant about this assignment. I was not sure if I was going to like it. When  I started to make my annotations I couldn’t believe how much I actually liked this. And then I though that this would be a great tool for the classroom. This process got me extremely engaged in the reading and allowed me to be apart of the assignment. For the last couple years I taught 12th grade economics and I was constantly looking for ways to get my students more involved in the assignments. I created google classroom and allowed students to post assignments. When I created a discussion portion and asked them to comment on other students posts it was a disaster. 12th grades are at the point when they are ready to get out of high school and want to do the bare minimum. However , I think annotating would be a great addition to the class. It will allow me to see students highlighting what they think is important and commenting on their findings. It will also allow them to see what their classmates are thinking as well. I think this process is a great engagement strategy and I look forward to learn more about it and see how I could apply it to my high school math courses. 

Hypothes.is & Marginal Syllabus

So, story time, I actually installed hypothes.is on my computer before it was assigned to do so because I saw it mentioned in the syllabus and have been in search of an online annotating program. I wanted to stop feeling the need to print out every one of my reading assignments this semester. When I first installed it and opened a pdf that I was going to read and annotate, I was completely overwhelmed because apparently a million people had already annotated on it (I didn’t realize the online pdf would have so many comments on it already or that I would opt into seeing public comments. This describes a bit how I was feeling:

So, of course, I backed out of there real quick and printed out my reading assignments. This week, when Hypothes.is was actually introduced and there was a helpful video on how to make private/public annotations and highlight I was a little uneasy, but more likely to give it a shot. I did decide to keep my personal notes on a GoogleDoc before inserting public annotations to be viewed by our class and the public. By the end of it, I was cruising through online annotating like this..

Honestly, I really enjoyed the experience. It’s really great that Marginal Syllabus exists, so educators can annotate and share thoughts and ideas together. I think this really exhibits one of the most important ideas of connected learning: relationships. Although we do not know most or any of the people on the website personally, we are still able to engage and share thoughts on topics related to the field with one another. I think that is really powerful. Especially because we, as ED677, are engaging in an online learning environment - hypothes.is can be a really valuable tool to engage on a deeper level.

Although I did find the online, public annotating really interesting I did realize and accept that I absorb and retain information much better when I am reading, annotating, and highlighting on a physical copy. So, although I’d love to save the trees, I think I will go back to annotating on paper and inserting my favorite annotations online after the fact. Everything is a learning process though, and I definitely learned a lot from my first (kind of second) experience with online annotating.

Happy annotating to me and the rest of ED677!

The Power of Virtual, Interactive Annotations

I have added another tool to my connected learning tool belt this week.  My exploration of the online educator participatory forum, Marginal Syllabus opened my eyes to a virtual world of educative contemplation and a wealth of people’s viewpoints.  As a lover of learning, I have marked up mostly all of my assigned readings and books over the years.  It is a way to bring the words to life, to latch on to a deeper meaning, and to make personal connections to the author’s thoughts.  As an eighth grade social studies teacher, we use highlighters and pens every day to mark up primary source documents as well as news articles.  Modeling this skill is something I find important for their own journey to high school and beyond. And teaching the students to develop their own unique style of notetaking and reflection is at the center of it.  

But, this type of text annotation is old school compared to the power of Marginal Syllabus and the hypothes.is tool.  When using Marginal Syllabus, I was able to connect with other educators and education philosophers.  Reading the comments of others helped me understand Dewey’s words more, and in different ways. Having a chance to use an online medium for annotation was easy, and it was wonderful to have a community working on the very same text, not just my own independent notes.  One of the most helpful features is the ability to use hashtags and connect your work to the work of a unique community of thinkers.

In the realm of connected learning, educators could utilize Marginal Syllabus to cultivate an activist group, whether they want to simply discuss ideas or put together policy for change.  Using such a staple text like John Dewey’s “The School and Social Progress,” it would be easy to peruse the comments and find people who align with your own thinking as well as think in a different way.  Using a tool similar to this in my classroom would provide students with a chance to learn from one another and capitalize on the varying thoughts of their classmates.

Democracy and Participation

One new thing I was able to experience this week was participating in a Marginal Syllabus. This concept is all about connecting educators to one another through a collaborative effort of annotations and ideas. You can learn more here. Through this process I was able to read a chapter from John Dewey’s book, “The School and Social Progress.” As I read this chapter I was able to highlight sections that stood out to me, make annotations of my own interpretation of the text and read annotations of previous readers. At the conclusion of this post I will share my own annotations. First I would like to write about my experience with the Marginal Syllabus process. One of the things that I liked about  was the highlight feature. It works just like a traditional highlight and paper method by helping certain points of text to standout. However, to contrast this like, I did not like that I could see the highlights of other contributors. The second thing that I did like about this process was the annotation feature. I really enjoyed typing my own annotations and reading the annotations of others. I did not reply to other annotations simply because some of them were dated more than 6 months old and I am not sure how or if the original writer would see my reply. Something I hope to see improve about the annotation feature is perhaps the use of footnote markers instead of additional highlights. The highlights of the annotations of other contributors made the text quite colorful in ways I did not like. (There is an option to turn off the highlights but once you begin to add your own annotations, the highlights remain lit.)

As a supporter of Connected Learning I believe using a system like the Marginal Syllabus is a very useful tool for all educators. In a book that I read, titled “Thrive” by Meenoo Rami,  taught me of the importance of networks and collaboration with colleagues to support education. Tools like the Marginal Syllabus is one of the ways the educators can not only interact within the network of their colleagues but also gain an objective point of view on the writings that they are using.


My thoughts about the chapter…

I would title this chapter “The Case for Connected Learning.” If we remove some of the dated references in the text, the concepts of hands-on, individualistic learning is one in the same. The argument that Dewey promoted then should be promoted in every classroom today. Education should be tailored to the child in the classroom. Education should inspire children to do. Through an environment that encourages a child to collaborate and create, children gain skills that will help them to become successful in society.

My annotations….



In response to Dewey’s point that the classroom is in progress of transforming, One of the things that Connected Learning supports is the transformation of the classroom to be more inclusive of the individual student. Technology is now being introduced to students, parents and teachers as a means to connect education with society. Through Dewey’s theory, it can be concluded that Connected Learning facilitates an educational environment of communal learning.

 In response to Dewey’s writing about the advancements of the industrial revolution. This demonstrates that through the advancement of technology and industry how education and learning has evolved. Access to information has helped to create more opportunity for people to learn in ways that were previously limited. Dewey recognized that changes and improvements in how  information is shared, helped to positively transform education.In response to

Dewey’s point about discipline through activity- Achieving order through chaos. By using the definition that “order is simply a thing which is relative to an end,” order can come from an activity that promotes discipline through its method of completion.

In response to Dewey’s point about the importance of transforming the classroom in a meaningful way- Educators should consider the changes they implement in their lesson planning in broad context. Educators should consider how transforming the classroom will impact students individually. Using an approach that is unique to each learner supports a trans-formative plan as viable and with substance and not just merely a generic, narrow- viewed change.  The changes we make in the classroom should be viewed as valuable to all students, not just a select few.

Marginal Syllabus

I just completed the marginal syllabus project by annotating “The school and social progress” by John Dewey. I have never done anything like this nor have I ever really been taught much about annotating. I will admit I found this to be difficult. Maybe because I’m new to it but also maybe because I found this work by John Dewey to be a complex read and may have had a different experience if it was an excerpt of something I felt I was able to understand more. At times I felt lost and did not understand certain things he was trying to say. However, reading other people’s annotations made it easier for me to understand different parts I was confused about and I think this is the beauty of having a tool like this. It connects people, expands thoughts and ideas, and can help educators and students learn from each other. 

Marginal Syllabus     Today, I had the opportunity to participate in a Marginal Syllabus annotation…

Marginal Syllabus

     Today, I had the opportunity to participate in a Marginal Syllabus annotation about an article called The School and Social Progress written by John Dewey.   It was my first time using Marginal Syllabus, so it took me some time to get acquainted with the process.  First, I had to create an account with Hypothes.is, which I didn’t realize was necessary in order to start making annotations.  It was pretty easy to create a Hypothes.is account, and I received the confirmation e-mail to verify my account immediately.  Afterwards, I was ready learn how to make annotations using Marginal Syllabus.  At first, I saw an overwhelming number of comments that had already been made by a lot of users.  I wasn’t used to reading educational articles with so many comments and highlighted sections, but I quickly began to appreciate the comments of others and felt like I was part of a bigger educational community.  It was refreshing to see different points of view and be able to highlight parts that I felt resonated the most with me. 

      As an educator, I feel that Marginal Syllabus can support me in a couple of ways.  First, it will inspire me to continue professional development and deeper thinking about educational topics, such as connected learning and equity, that affect me and my students directly and indirectly.  I felt a great sense of deeper thinking as I read The School and Social Progress because I was able to stop, read comments made by others, and then make reflection comments of my own. As a result, I felt that I made connections to the article that would help me be able to remember and apply the ideas to my own classroom in the future.  The second way Marginal Syllabus can support me as an educator is that it will help me see the educational world through different points of view that may differ from my current way of thinking.  This will challenge me as an educator to either defend or change how I am currently teaching to keep up with changes in our current world.  In conclusion, using Marginal Syllabus will help me stay up to date with current educational issues and apply them to my own classroom. 

     I am left with the following questions about using Marginal Syllabus….. 

 1.     How can I facilitate a discussion about an educational article that interests me, instead of just commenting on one that has already been started? 

 2.     Is privacy an issue since you don’t know who the other people are that may be commenting and responding to you through Marginal Syllabus? 

 3.     Can Marginal Syllabus be used with students as a way to do a “book talk” about a certain piece of literature, since it encourages them to highlight key points and comment on them?

Marginal Syllabus

     Today, I had the opportunity to participate in a Marginal Syllabus annotation about an article called The School and Social Progress written by John Dewey.   It was my first time using Marginal Syllabus, so it took me some time to get acquainted with the process.  First, I had to create an account with Hypothes.is, which I didn’t realize was necessary in order to start making annotations.  It was pretty easy to create a Hypothes.is account, and I received the confirmation e-mail to verify my account immediately.  Afterwards, I was ready learn how to make annotations using Marginal Syllabus.  At first, I saw an overwhelming number of comments that had already been made by a lot of users.  I wasn’t used to reading educational articles with so many comments and highlighted sections, but I quickly began to appreciate the comments of others and felt like I was part of a bigger educational community.  It was refreshing to see different points of view and be able to highlight parts that I felt resonated the most with me. 

      As an educator, I feel that Marginal Syllabus can support me in a couple of ways.  First, it will inspire me to continue professional development and deeper thinking about educational topics, such as connected learning and equity, that affect me and my students directly and indirectly.  I felt a great sense of deeper thinking as I read The School and Social Progress because I was able to stop, read comments made by others, and then making reflection comments of my own. As a result, I felt that I made connections to the article that would help me be able to remember and apply the ideas to my own classroom in the future.  The second way Marginal Syllabus can support me as an educator is that it will help me see the educational world through different points of view that may differ from my current way of thinking.  This will challenge me as an educator to either defend or change how I am currently teaching to keep up with changes in our current world.  In conclusion, using Marginal Syllabus will help me stay up to date with current educational issues and apply them to my own classroom. 

     I am left with the following questions about using Marginal Syllabus….. 

 1.     How can I facilitate a discussion about an educational article that interests me, instead of just commenting on one that has already been started? 

 2.     Is privacy an issue since you don’t know who the other people are that may be commenting and responding to you through Marginal Syllabus? 

 3.     Can Marginal Syllabus be used with students as a way to do a “book talk” about a certain piece of literature, since it encourages them to highlight key points and comment on them?

Democracy and Participation

Participatory Culture. That is a phrase that if I am being completely honest I was not familiar with before this week. As a teacher, of course I want the students in my class community to participate and be engaged in their learning, But the question is always HOW. How do I create opportunities for children to participate and really collaborate and share their thinking with one another in meaningful ways. So it was with great interest that I participated in the Marginal Syllabus project. What does this project mean for me as  a learner and teacher, and what implications might it have for my students?

As I read the Dewey article, I was moved by so many of the ideas he expressed about education after the industrial revolution. So much of what I read spoke to my heart about what it means to be a teacher and how children can engage in “actual participation.”  As I thought about this reading, and began to annotate the article I was intrigued by what others had written. Why had they annotated the same passages as me? How was their thinking the same? How was it different? Connections were being made and ideas expressed that I had not contemplated. This reading suddenly got a whole lot deeper as I was no longer just considering my own thoughts and perspective.

Suddenly my mind is flooded with possibilities. How could I create a similar experience for third graders? How might I be able to create opportunities for them to collaborate with on another in this way. My first thought was to use Microsoft One Note which we use in my school to collaborate with colleagues. Using this platform I could have students engage is similar activities to share their thinking as they read, “annotating” an article or passage.  Or even while they are working on a project. Will it work, I’m not entirely sure, but it is something to think about and something I hadn’t thought about before this week!

Connecting Across Time and Space

This week, I thought a lot about digital annotations and what they mean for me as a learner and as an educator. I have used Hypothes.is in another class, and continued to use it when reading news articles, watching videos on YouTube, or browsing for classroom ideas. I believe that using digital annotation tools is reflective of the ways in which we connect online.

During direct instruction times in my classroom, I often made sure to contextualize my lessons for my students. As a literature teacher, it is imperative that I teach students how to annotate (according to the curriculum). Of course, students tell me all the time how much they HATE annotating; they don’t like how it makes the page look, how long it takes to read, or how they will feel judged when I check their annotations. I often compared annotating to commenting on Instagram posts, retweeting someone, or sharing opinions about a YouTube video. Teaching the skill of annotating within this framework builds background that connects with students’ prior knowledge and experience.

Watch for more details on how I teach annotating in my classroom and what I think of online annotations.

Storytelling and communicating through videos, social media, and annotations in a digital space allows young adults to work together as a community of learners (often without realizing it). Unfortunately, it is difficult to bring this community into a classroom if the technology is not available in the school. How can we teach students to interact in a digital world if we do not have a way to provide them access to it?