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Early Adopters to Participatory Professional Development

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A group of early adopter-teachers in the state of NH engage in a blended model of professional development. Research conducted, authored and presented by Vanessa Vartabedian at AERA Conference, 2012.

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Early Adopters to Participatory Professional Development

  1. 1. Preventing a Participation Gap with Teachers: A Participatory Action Research Approach to Professional Development New Hampshire Early Adopters Program with Project New Media Literacies by Vanessa Vartabedian & Erin Reilly Abstract This paper demonstrates the importance of​ teacher​ development as a necessary first-step toward integrating ​the new media literacies​ ​into the K-16 curriculum. Emerging participatory practices have given rise to a new model of knowledge distribution. Increasingly, information and expertise are spread across a broad network of people and tools. Widespread access to networked technologies means that, in theory, the same information is available to everybody. In such a world, knowing how to find, process, and exchange already-known knowledge is as important as knowing how to work together, deliberate, debate, argue, and create knowledge (Jenkins et al., 2009). Participatory learning entails a major shift in the nature and conduct of schooling. The tension between participatory learning and schooling is not a consequence of incompetent school personnel. The tension stems from incompatibility between the nature of participatory learning and institutionalized schooling, especially as related to accepted conceptions of the roles of teacher and students (Bosco, 2010). A model of “distributed expertise” is intended to contrast with the traditional “expert” model. The expert paradigm assumes a static, bounded body of knowledge (Clark, 2003). In this model, expertise is hierarchical and generally brokered by credentialed authorities. In contrast, the notion of distributed expertise assumes that knowledge is distributed across a diffuse network of people and tools. ​In 2009-10, Project New Media Literacies (Project NML) ​worked with a small group of New Hampshire teachers to foster the first Early Adopters (EA) Working Group in the state. This Group used the distributed expertise model as a ​teacher ​development strategy to promote technology use in service of classroom instruction. Project NML introduced the Learning Library, a multimedia activity platform where EAs learned about and practiced the new media literacies by completing and creating lessons, which were known as “challenges” and sharing their own media content with other members. As a result, the group “became designers and not just executors of Web 2.0 oriented tasks” (Lund & Rasmussen, 2010, p. 4060). EAs stated that the challenges provided an easy entry point into better understanding how technology can be applied toward learning and instruction, while learning how to adapt and integrate the learning library challenges into ​their​ core curriculum. Project NML’s study with the EAs shows the importance of the teacher-as-researcher role as a necessary first-step toward developing expertise and sharing practical experience with other educators. One of the participants noted, “NMLs (new media literacies) are seeping through my skin and reflecting in practice. The environment of my classroom is so exciting, I'm letting go of control and truly learning how to facilitate.”
  2. 2. Overview Project New Media Literacies research has always been guided by the goal of fostering a more participatory culture, one in which every young person has the skills, access, knowledge, and adult support they need in order to meaningfully participate in the new media landscape, one which supports them not only through school but across the learning ecosystem, one which does not only provide them scaffolding now but gives them the sense of empowerment which will enable them to lead creative, rewarding lives. What we are calling participatory culture is not "learning 2.0", a term which derives from the concept of "web 2.0." Web 2.0 is a business plan, pure and simple, while participatory culture describes a cultural, political, and educational movement to insure greater grassroots access to the means of cultural production and circulation. While we have seen dramatic expansion in the communication capacities accessible to everyday people in the 21st century, especially youth, we also know that many are not yet able to participate, locked out by both the digital divide (which has to do with access to technologies) and the participation gap (which has to do with access to skills, knowledge, and support). Schools, museums, libraries, and other public institutions are best situated to help young people overcome these challenges, but only if they move beyond fear of the digital and confront its mixture of risks and opportunities from an informed and engaged perspective. The skills which will allow young people to more meaningfully participate are often highly social, having to do with the prospects of negotiating across cultural differences, navigating the complex media landscape, pooling knowledge with others, and engaging with affordances offered by new media tools and practices. Most often, these skills are learned now outside of school, through participation in informal learning cultures, including those that some young people are entering through their interests and hobbies, through their fandoms or through their engagement with games. Yet, more recent reflections about connected learning suggest the value in helping young people articulate more fully what they are learning through these activities in language which can be grasped and valued within more informal institutions. Moreover, the new media literacies skills need to be coupled with a core set of values which encourage young people to reflect on their own ethical choices as media producers and circulators - and as participants in diverse communities of practice. The New Media Literacies Project NML comprises a team of researchers led by Professor Henry Jenkins and is part of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. Our goal is to help realize and further the ideas and research articulated in the white paper, ​Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education in the 21st Century​ (Jenkins, et all, 2009).​ ​Central to the paper is the idea of literacy as shifting from individual expression to community involvement, where creative expression and active participation are hallmark characteristics. The eleven​ ​new media literacies (NMLs) identified in the paper, as well as the twelfth - ​visualization - added in 2008, explore some of the cultural competencies and social skills young people need to fully engage in a digitally connected, culturally diverse world.
  3. 3. Despite the connotation, the NMLs are not exclusively related to gaining proficiency in using digital technologies or familiarity with different mediums. Rather, this framework suggests using some old skills in new and relevant ways, and the addition of a few new skills, as they apply to modern ways of interacting with media. Collectively the NMLs support students’ self-efficacy, attitudes and behaviors throughout the learning ecosystem (both online and off). The media-literacy movement has effectively evolved its definition of literacy from teaching students to analyze the media they consume toward viewing themselves as both consumers and creators of media. However, this learning is still often relegated to electives or to after-school programs. Project NML’s approach was to integrate the new media literacies across the school curricula and throughout all other spaces where learning occurs. For example, one of the many projects we collaborated on was the​ ​Moby Dick​ project​. The complex and often intimidating novel was dynamically transformed into a stage performance where students remixed relevant themes and cultural references with an old text. Learning goals for students were addressed through applying the new media literacies (such as appropriation and negotiation) to traditional content, and in turn, students experienced increased and deepened levels of engagement with the material. This produced a teachers strategy guide called​ ​Reading in a Participatory Culture​ (and a forthcoming book!). The new media literacies allow us to think in very new ways about the processes of learning, because they acknowledge a shift from a top-down model of pedagogy to one that invokes all voices and all means of knowledge-building. Viewing learning as emergent rather than pre-structured; transmedia rather than unified; situational rather than universal; and collaborative rather than hierarchical is what we mean by participatory learning (Reilly, E. and Klink, F. "Mad Skills" [submitted to JMLE for review]). The Need for Participatory Professional Development “What a kid can do at home with unlimited access is very different from what a kid can do in a public library with ten or fifteen minutes of access at a time and with no capacity to store and upload information to the web. We further handicap these children by placing filters on the Internet which restrict their access to information which is readily available to their more affluent classmates. And now this legislation would restrict their ability to participate in social networks or to belong to online communities. The result will be to further isolate children from poorer economic backgrounds, to cut kids at risk from support systems, which exist within their peer culture, and to limit the social and cultural experiences of kids who are already behind in acquiring important networking skills that will shape their professional futures. All of this will compound what we are now calling the participation gap.” Henry Jenkins (Handley, 2006) While nationwide initiatives are seeking to close the gaps between students who have regular access to technology in schools and libraries and those who do not, efforts to address how students are learning through technology are lagging behind. Some state media literacy standards are addressing this issue under the umbrella of ​21st Century Skills. Frameworks for media literacy are being implemented in certain states, such as Montana, where the Information Literacy/Library Media Content Standards Framework ​states that ​by the end of
  4. 4. fourth grade a student should be able to “​participate and collaborate in intellectual and social networks following safe and accepted practices” and by high school graduation will be proficient in applying “copyright laws and fair use guidelines when using the intellectual property of others” (Montana Office of Public Instruction, 2008). In Massachusetts the 2012 Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) asks test-takers to answer ​how they would use social media, such as Twitter, in their pedagogy. Although this is hopeful, in most states, such as ​California, the state standards for media literacy are mainly limited to ​analyzing, evaluating and​ identifying the role of mass media, and do not include utilizing or interacting with it creatively or collaboratively until grades 11 and 12 (CA Dept. Of Ed., 2004) – much later than youth typically start participating in using media outside of classrooms. It makes sense that school should be a primary place where basic competencies and skills related to engaging in a participatory culture would be developed. Lack of training and mentorship for teachers, filters and laws blocking access to core social media platforms, poor knowledge about how youth are engaging with and learning through media outside of school, and pressure to meet state and national requirements are among the factors contributing to this painfully slow shift (what author Matt Levinson calls) “From Fear to Facebook” in schools. Professional learning opportunities in their current, widespread form are highly prescriptive and didactic in terms of approach and goals, and do little to address the participation gap with teachers. Nor is adequate attention paid to relevancy in terms of the actual needs of teachers, or differentiation for accommodating varying learning styles. Typically, professional development programs designed to teach educators new technologies do little more than highlight specific technologies and encourage them to deploy an arsenal of new tools as a means of hooking students to engage more deeply with curricular content. Rather, we propose fronting this process with the curricular goals at hand and then identifying (or facilitating students to identify) the appropriate technologies to meet them through playful experimentation. In this way, technology honors learners by putting the focus on the process of learning and not on the deployment of it through tools. The NMLs and Professional Development with New Hampshire Early Adopters Overview. Project NML tackled its first professional development in 2009 with a grant from the state of New Hampshire. Our work with the educators there asked, “How can the NML Community inform a participatory professional development model?” The project focused on implementing such a model in ways which were highly collaborative and that were aligned with the New Hampshire Department of Education's goals as outlined in​ ​The ISTE National Educational Technology Standards​. One specific goal was to “support the professional development of teachers and administrators and the integration of technology into instruction, in order to
  5. 5. advance student learning.” The ultimate goal being “to support a statewide cadre of skilled, informed teacher leaders and principals who are empowered to support their colleagues in creating truly 21st century learning environments.” (see EETT Grant Application 2009-10 at www.nheon.org/oet/nclb​) Participants. The pilot group consisted of six participants, all veteran teachers with over ten years of experience who worked with elementary and middle school students. Although all participants were able to define media literacy, only half of the participants had past experience teaching media literacy in the classroom, which was often limited to internet safety, how to use specific tools, and a piecemeal approach where media literacy was used as needed and never integrated into core curriculum. When asked what topics of media literacy the participants wanted to explore, half said they were eager to learn more about copyright and safety. Of the 6 participants, 4 held technology support or coordinator positions for the school beyond their teaching role. All participants felt comfortable and familiar with using various media production tools, with all but one knowing how to edit using basic editing software such as iMovie or Windows Moviemaker. 100% of participants had access to technology for use with their students, including tools such as smartboards, cameras, netbooks and iPods. Most of the teachers described the climate of their school district as difficult to work within. Difficulties ranged from network issues to leadership crisis to too many initiatives to have the time to focus and really understand this shift needing to happen in schools. All participants felt comfortable adapting new curriculum ideas into the classroom, although more than half shared that it would be hard to implement due to the current district climate, which is heavily focused on meeting standards and tests. Program Overview. The exact ways in which the Early Adopters group organized their work and was supported by Project NML was not pre-determined in the grant; this open ended and fluid structure was a purposeful decision set by Project NML and NH’s Department of Education. Fostering the NMLs ​collective intelligence and ​distributed cognition within this group of educators was a main priority for the PD. We define ​distributed cognition as the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities, and ​collective intelligence as the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal. ​Collective intelligence focuses on the skills needed to collaborate through accessing our individual skills and knowledge, while distributed cognition extends beyond our individual capacities to the tools we use that help us think and act ‘smarter’. In thinking through what individual cognition ​is in the 21st century, many educators and students we worked with did not consider ​distributed cognition a ‘skill’. Perhaps the reason educators grapple with its merit is because ​distributed cognition can be seen as ‘cheating’ in an academic setting, when, for instance, teachers allow students to access the internet to find answers or use a calculator. However, the pace of life has changed since we told time by
  6. 6. reading the sun. If we didn’t refer to clocks most of us would not be able to stay on a schedule. Just as reading and writing today look differently than they did 100 years ago, so do the tools we use to complete these tasks, freeing our minds to reach larger objectives. By utilizing ​collective intelligence within the model of the professional development itself, we challenged educators to examine the value of the collective knowledge of the group versus their individual expertise. Educators, in our opinion, need to adopt and practice emerging literacy skills in the same ways and in similar environments as youth in order to value and facilitate new modes of learning. A model where teachers and students learn from each other (co-learning) is in contrast with the more traditional approach of the teacher imparting knowledge to students (expert paradigm). The expert paradigm assumes a static, bounded body of knowledge (Walsh, Peter as cited in Jenkins Convergence Culture, Chapter Two). In this model, expertise is hierarchical and generally brokered by credentialed authorities. In contrast, the notion of distributed expertise encourages collective intelligence and assumes that each person has something to contribute. The distributed expertise model deployed by the Early Adopters Working Group emerged through: 1. Allowing participating educators to align the goals of the project with their own needs as teachers, 2. Encouraging the group to respect each others’ expertise and work as a collective, and 3. Personalizing the approach to allow individual educators to gain a strong foundation, adopt the practices and become advocates for the state. Contributing factors to its success include: 1. The process of ​negotiation in regard to the meeting schedule as well as the level of participation and responsibility the group would hold as part of the early adopters working group and to one another, 2. The group's decision to postpone the first webinar by one month due to comfort level with the material and meeting platform, and 3. A sense of ownership over their experience as "teachers as action researchers" based on defining their own personal and professional goals for the PD. Initially, the idea was that each early adopter would work as a part of a team with another early adopter to fulfill their participatory role/responsibility for that particular month as follows: 1. Webinar creation 2. Webinar follow-up / group moderation in the Ning community 3. Lead and moderate d​iscussion threads/groups in the Ning community 4. Welcome new members/member outreach/chats via the Ning community By the third month of the PD, the group had clarified its primary tasks to include actions and a timeline to accomplish them by: 1. Agreeing upon a common goal more specifically tailored to the objectives of NH defined as: · ​"Developing expertise with Project NML concepts and resources such that Early Adopters can effectively and independently facilitate learning among other NH educators, as well as in
  7. 7. their classrooms. Means for accomplishing this should not abandon Project NML’s overriding philosophy of participatory learning, or its goal to explore the potentials of an expert / learner paradigm shift in pedagogical practice." 2. Suggesting Actions and Outcomes: Begin building on existing Project NML resources to create their own in a way that targets the goals specific to NH for future use in PD training and suggested uses for inclusion in curriculum by: · Exploring the existing NML resources such as: the video library, challenges in the Learning Library, the Digital Media and Ethics Casebook and Teacher’s Strategy Guides to gain a thorough understanding of how to adapt and incorporate these tools and lessons across curriculum. · Building a singular webinar synthesizing the group’s collective understanding of Project NML’s concepts and practices, as well as educator reflections to present to Teacher Learning Cohort group at end of the year. · Individually creating a challenge in the Learning Library from scratch for their classrooms, including trying it out with students and other teachers, and reflecting on the outcomes. · Conducting a professional development workshop and share with others their knowledge of the new media literacies at the Christa McAuliffe Conference in December 2010. 3. Defining Meetings and Time Commitment for each month (2 hrs per week): · 1st week of each month – Complete assigned explorations around new material/skills · 2nd week of each month – Meet as a group synchronously to discuss experiences/findings with new material · 3rd week of each month – Attend and participate in webinar · 4th week of each month – Meet as a group to perform peer review, provide support, reflect on webinar and introduce new skills · In addition – Participate in Project NML’s Community, TLC Community and Google Group by adding resources, opening-up discussions, sharing experiences and facilitating chat sessions on relevant topics. 4. Determining collaborative platforms for the group as follows: · The Ning platform ​http://projectnml.ning.com/ · Huddle workspace on Ning for private collaboration and individual work · Groups, forum, blog as open exploration and public participation · Elluminate virtual meeting space · Google Groups for asynchronous collaboration based on its capacity for closed space to explore learning with one another first The EA working group began its online collaboration in the Project NML Ning community, however, participation was slow to emerge and educators expressed resistance to it in part because of its public nature, as well feeling fragmented between too many online educational communities. When asked if they would prefer the Moodle site, which is the standard platform for online professional development courses in NH, Jennifer stated she felt it never worked because it created a process of engagement that was too linear for real learning. Bridget
  8. 8. referred to the Moodle as more of a “directive commentary site - read this, view this, then comment and then read and comment on someone else's comment”. Holly mentioned liking that the Google Group centralized information, as well as afforded collaboration with other members of the group. And Elissa described her experience with the NML PD as “open ended learning” which helped her to critically reflect on her own teaching practices, which and recognize that this program strayed from her prior experiences with PD – “usually we are spoon fed!” Overall this exemplified the shift in question from the Project NML Community as the platform for public participation, to an alternative space (Google Groups) which valued peripheral participation. Throughout the first six-months of the PD the teachers continued to express the need to discuss their process before beginning to trust their insights as valuable to the general public. Those educators more confident in their ability to teach using the NMLs began to share examples publicly via the webinars or by posting their class work to public spaces. Educators who began creating challenges for use in the Learning Library expressed readiness to share their insights from the professional development more broadly. Data Presentation from the Early Adopters Program The New Media Literacies in Practice. The EAs began exploring the new media literacies in depth one month into the professional development after norms and workflow were established. Each month the group focused on either a single literacy or a pair of NMLs which were predetermined by Project NML. Below is a summary of how the early adopters enacted some of the new media literacies as action researchers in their classrooms and reflected on their own understanding of these skills during the course of the PD. When the early adopters explored the NML ​collective intelligence (defined as the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal​) they struggled to differentiate how to extend the practice of ‘collaboration’ to one that respected and acknowledged each member’s expertise. Allowing one student to share knowledge with another without the other students having the same or similar knowledge alerted teachers to their own sense of concern about students not being on equal footing. Wikipedia was introduced as a case study and using it with students was encouraged as a means of exploring how this type of shared knowledge might work in classrooms. This prompted teachers to examine ways to incorporate the pool of student knowledge present in the classroom that extends beyond the teacher’s expertise. The new media literacy ​play - defined as experimenting with one’s surroundings as a form of problem solving- had not yet been formally explored by the early adopters, but began to emerge as a necessary form of pedagogy to encourage the shift away from the ‘sage on the stage’ paradigm none-the-less. Some educators flatly denied the value of ​collective intelligence stating it could not be practiced
  9. 9. in learning settings and that it had no practical value. ​Bridget, for example, stated, ​“​Personally, I am not a collaborator. I hate the idea of an adhocracy. I don't mind getting together with like-minded individuals with specific skill sets to solve a problem but to suggest that this is replacing the workplace hierarchical model is baloney... I prefer my own autonomy, thank you. And will consult experts as necessary but prefer to work on my own to find the answers I require. Just my two cents on the whole collective intelligence thing. Just don't believe in it, or want to be a part of it. I don't believe that the concept is real...”. This mindset is not surprising in a culture of education which values individual knowledge and skill mastery as a primary goal for preparing students for a competitive workforce. It ignores, however, the process of thinking critically with others to solve more complex problems than one person could on their own. ​Collective intelligence is not about displacing expertise, but acknowledging that utilizing collective expertise is advantageous in solving problems of greater complexity than without it. ​Collective intelligence requires collaboration as a necessary part of this process, but acknowledges the differentiated knowledge and skills within the group as necessary to improve the effectiveness of the group as a whole. Early adopters who were open to this potential in their classrooms, noticed resistance to the practice of ​collective intelligence among the students themselves. Holly, an elementary technology educator, noted that her more gifted students were hesitant to accept the idea because it would deny them ownership of the total knowledge being expressed, and confusion around how their learning would be assessed (ie. graded) came into question. Elizabeth, in reflecting on her students who struggled with large concepts stated that,​ “students who are used to working harder to understand (the material) are better able to use collective intelligence.” However, she also agreed with Holly in that she found her top students were not fully aware that their own learning process depended on the knowledge of others before them and so ”may not value the input of others.” All in all, students who did traditionally well within the current model of education had a more difficult time letting go of owning ​all the knowledge and in consulting the expertise of others. Gradually, however, reflections from the Google Group’s discussion captured the evolution of educators’ understanding through experimenting with the new media literacies: Holly: “Today I captured the very beginning stages of CI with (2) boys who are in 2nd grade through ​play. http://www.flickr.com/photos/41142045@N04/4524147307/in/set-721576238...​” Joanne: ​“We as educators make connections by embracing what our students can teach us to be able to truly educate them. This is my favorite kind of collective intelligence. I have a 100 reasons not to teach but collective intelligence is probably the main reason I could not ever give teaching up... Elizabeth: “There is a shift toward project and inquiry based learning. These two instructional approaches are more likely to provide opportunities for "ad-hocracies" to be used during instruction. Students need to be able to make greater academic
  10. 10. choices for themselves and need to be more self-evaluative to be effective learners.” Holly: “​NML skills are seeping through my skin and reflecting in practice. The environment of my classroom is so exciting, I'm letting go of control and truly learning how to facilitate. I have posted "snapshot" videos of students engaging in CI. Group support most likely needed as I begin to build my Challenge...I was so used to being a consumer and taking in the knowledge "lurking" as Elizabeth noted, that it is still requiring me to step out to contribute, organize my thoughts and speak in a manner that is collective and professional. The more I participate the more comfortable I feel. I imagine the kids will feel this same when asked to step out!” http://www.flickr.com/photos/41142045@N04/4541303109/ Caitlin: ​“I have become totally intrigued by the reflections and ideas being shared by all of you. Every time I see a post like Holly's, I feel it confirms the decision we made to have a NML specific initiative.” During the monthly webinar for the public, which focused on ​collective intelligence, the EAs helped to design the experience as a way to model the skill in practice. Breakout rooms were created in the Elluminate platform for small groups to play a game called “Stump the Expert”. One expert (Henry Jenkins) wrote a list of everything he knew about science fiction, while each small group simultaneously wrote their own lists to compare with his once they returned to the public webinar room. This activity can demonstrate (and did) that people’s perspectives on science fiction affected the knowledge they brought to the pool of knowledge. For example, someone looking at science fiction from the perspective of a fan talked about following the flow of stories, while another who spoke of it historically offered context for the form. One group purported to utilizing Wikipedia as a form of ​distributed cognition to increase their knowledge pool. The question remains - would teachers and students consider this form of knowledge acquisition cheating? Transmedia navigation, which is ‘the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities’ relates strongly to rethinking the ways teachers approach research with students as a literacy in a connected learning ecosystem. The EAs looked at this skill through the lens of ​transmedia learning and ​transmedia lessons planning. Project NML asked, “What would modeling transmedia learning look like through a lesson plan?” In yet another webinar, we explored this concept and then scheduled a follow-up chat for participants of the webinar to attend where they could play with and adapt a template suggested for this type of lesson planning. These templates used the previous examples from the ​collective intelligence webinar - where the show “Survivor” and “Lost” were discussed in terms of the knowledge-base of the fan culture surrounding the shows. Both of these examples also had a strong transmedia storytelling component in place, which both the producers of the programs and fans alike created. To take the example of “Lost,” we assigned the discipline of philosophy or social studies. The template suggests starting with identifying the learning goals through one medium
  11. 11. (here: television) and how the extension of the learning goal could be exemplified through various other mediums. This allowed multiple ways and means for students to access information, dig deeper into various aspects of their research and provide scaffolding and assessment opportunities. One main tension, which arose was educators’ struggle to understand the difference between transmedia and multimedia. Multimedia is defined as different content forms of media used to represent the same message. Examples include creating a lesson that incorporates several mediums to express the same idea, such as a PowerPoint presentation with embedded video, text and images, or showing the film version of a book students had read. These are common ways that teachers deliver content in order to paint a fuller picture of the content, appeal to different types of learners as well as captivate attention through the use of digital media and digital tools. State standards require students in many states to create their own original PowerPoint presentation as a way to demonstrate literacy using media tools and expressing ideas using different forms of media. ​Transmedia navigation utilized as a mode for research in these contexts provides opportunities for students to practice other important NMLs such as judgment. By evaluating the credibility of various sources of information and being able to read across different mediums, students must in turn express and synthesize their understanding using multimedia.
  12. 12. Transmedia as an approach to learning allows for choice in ​how students approach research and express their findings by allowing them to navigate where they look for and what information they choose to use, as well as how to display sharing their learning across mediums instead of compiling in one place. This process honors the autonomy of the learner to transcend the bounds of documented information and to create extensions of that information through following their interests and developing new knowledge. Fan communities demonstrate this point well. Many fans pick-up on missing pieces of stories and extend or flesh them out in ways that the original creators had not considered, or chose to exclude. Fans might also delve deeper into the lives of the characters of the stories, bringing new life to the original version created. We value this process for learners as it offers opportunities not only to develop critical skills for meaningful online participation and deeper learning, but allows for nuanced and individualized interpretations of a learning goal. Appropriation, defined as the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content, was introduced to the group very early on as it calls up important issues, such as copyright concerns, when using media rich resources in classrooms. During synchronous group discussion, Elissa, a kindergarten teacher, and Elizabeth, an elementary school tech coordinator, pointed to examples where they had previously embedded appropriation practices into curricular activities, but never considered them to be primary learning goals for the lessons they were teaching. Elissa stated she had been using appropriation around storytelling with her students for some time, but only just began to gain an understanding of its value as a ​skill in this context. Where she had previously framed appropriation as “stealing”, she would now offer her students opportunities to more consciously focus on the practice of remixing stories with the hopes of deepening students’ comprehension of the material. Elizabeth’s class was adapting stories into songs, and then videotaping the reinterpretations. Not only did her students practice the skill of ​appropriation, but by assigning projects that permitted students to “borrow” ideas and content from others to build upon, related literacy components, such as copyright and fair use practices, were also gained. Elissa found the skill of ​negotiation (defined as ‘the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norm), could be aptly applied to the world her kindergarten students were active in. Social and behavioral skills inherent in the new media literacies and specifically ​negotiation, are central learning goals for students in early childhood. Elissa’s classroom blog shows her students practicing ​negotiation with using vokis –​ ​http://nmlreflections.wikispaces.com/Negotiations​. She reflects, “I'm not sure that this is a great example of negotiations skills in practice but perhaps it helps illustrate how to begin the discussion of how we can be perceived online and how to think about how we (her kindergarten class) might represent ourselves to others." Elissa and her students regularly Skyped with a classroom in Australia to compare cultural and geographic differences and gain an appreciation for diverse perspectives and values. Elissa created a Challenge in the Learning Library focusing on ​networking (defined as the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information) in the classroom in ways that promotes extending learning beyond the walls of the classroom. ​"​The audience (for the Challenge) are teachers and my purpose was to get teachers thinking of ways they could open their
  13. 13. classrooms and create ways for the students to network with other folks to enhance and enrich their learning. This is to be a short challenge - no more than 7 slides with some explanation, examples and questions to help teachers begin to plan the next steps." Learning Library Participation. The Learning Library was used extensively in the Early Adopters professional development. Applying the conceptual framework presented in the white paper (Jenkins et al., 2009), the Learning Library tool houses multimedia learning “challenges,” which support teachers and students to explore and practice the new media literacies and, as well, it provides a platform for creating user-generated learning activities by teachers and students. This tool is multi-site and multi-modal, with learners stitching together their learning experiences from materials drawn from different sources. Using the Learning Library, people can learn more about the new media literacies, acquire skills and have a chance to practice these skills through challenges, and ultimately, to produce and share their own content with other members of the Learning Library. EA, Joanne shared,​ “​Challenges are great for educators. They convey concepts with a ‘hook’ and activity type lesson and are easily translated into classroom teaching.” Each month prior to the required EA seminar, Project NML provided participants with a list of resources to explore the new media literacy that would be explored and practiced as a group. Each list of resources includes a couple of Learning Library challenges that exemplified the skill. To introduce the Learning Library to the participants, the beginning of the project encouraged them to complete the four required challenges in order to gain full access of the Learning Library. These required challenges introduce the practice of attributing authorship to media and tagging media. These are both active ways to make connections between producers and fans of their work and between work that shares similar characteristics. Overall, it gave people a sense of how these concepts could go beyond citation and keywords to being a participatory process of learning. 100% of participants completed all four of the required challenges. Ownership and authorship issues constitute a pretty important part of media literacy, as noted in the pre-survey with participants wanting to learn more on the topic. However, many of the teachers’ understanding were limited to only copyright. Three of the four required challenges gave users a chance to work through ideas about copyright, fair use and Creative Commons. From the comments by the participants, these were valuable lessons. Sample comments: ● My photos uploaded on Flicker have CC license, this video really helped me understand the different attributions. Thanks ● Copyright is a form of protection for the artist or producer of the work. Allowing sharing and remixing for non-commercial purposes is a benefit to others and helps develop a community of learners and expands the work. I think there are places for both things in a creative environment.
  14. 14. The Learning Library proved to be a useful professional development tool as EAs have stated that the challenges provide an easy entry point into better understanding the skills, while at the same time the Learning Library offered an open framework that encourages adapting and integrating into varied core curriculum. Outcomes The focus for this pilot was on increasing educators’ grades K-8 use of the new media literacies across content areas and enabling a spreadable model (Jenkins, Ford and Green, 2013) for the state by developing a leaders cohort. Although leadership was desired and not required, the educators who emerged as leaders and who​ ​continued to sustain their efforts were those who took up the challenge of teacher-as-action-researcher most fully. Inherent in this challenge for them was the willingness to embrace the new media literacy ​play both in classroom pedagogy with students, and in their own learning. Overall, the new media literacy ​play emerged as the participants’ most coveted literacy. “[By embedding the new media literacies into curriculum,] class projects involved more open ended starting points. Students were asked to think "outside the box" to find solutions, be creative, collaborate, research and experiment. The technology skills were not the driving force for the activity, simply a tool they used to assist them in exploration and creation. My classroom became much more of a ‘process’ classroom then task oriented.” NH Educator “I have truly embraced the concept of play. I feel it is one of the most important aspects of my job as technology teacher. I want students to know that their exploration and understanding is deepened just by playing with a program or application or concept.” NH Educator These examples showed us: ● The importance of the ​teacher-as-researcher role as a necessary first-step toward developing expertise and sharing practical experience with other educators. ● Participants’ ability to identify the relevance of the NMLs to the learning process of their students, as well as to their own growth as educators. ● Participants’ awareness of NMLs as both integral to their existing curriculum as well as a starting point for re-envisioning curriculum in new ways. The outcomes from this pilot showed that this shift in disposition was a result of several factors the PD afforded participants, such as: ● Collaboration – Modes of communication, scheduling, how time was structured, and ways in which assignments were approached were collectively decided. ● Autonomy – Individual learning styles were respected, and approaches to content and course requirements were personalized. ● Co-learning – Participants learned alongside each other in a non-judgmental environment valuing collective intelligence. ● Coaching – Course facilitators actively supported teacher’s efforts to try-out new pedagogical approaches and strategies that felt risky or unfamiliar.
  15. 15. ● Research-based programming – Although the program was a pilot by design and implementation, the structure and content of the professional development was grounded in public research and case study exemplars. ● Relevance – Personalizing the value of ‘participatory culture’ was central to teachers’ self-efficacy in implementing the new media literacies and other practices of participation in their classrooms. At a New Media Consortium conference, John Seely Brown said, "When thinking about 21st century learning, perhaps it's not [teaching] a skill that matters but a disposition." This is clearly proven to be true through implementing the New Hampshire’s Early Adopters Working Group. The group has negotiated norms that work for them to come together. These teachers have moved beyond “messing around” with technology to “geeking out” with like-minded teachers in deepening their understanding of the new media literacies through practice and reflection. Giving them the time and space to collaboratively discuss, practice and problem-solve will help them to gain a disposition that will have a more lasting impact and understanding. This project was successful in helping these teachers achieve a deeper understanding of ways to identify and implement learning practices that integrate the new media literacy and foster participation in their classrooms. Our goals to encourage EAs to develop their own Learning Library challenges, practice integrating the new media literacies into their own classrooms and reflect on their own and their student’s process were considered successful. Two years later, Joanne is a leader in her district for new media literacy education and has appropriated the content from this course for the teachers she is working with. Moving Forward This New Hampshire research helped suggest five characteristics which are required for a participatory learning environment. Project NML identified and defined them as: 1. heightened ​motivation and new forms of ​engagement through meaningful play and experimentation; 2. learning that feel ​relevant to the learners’ identities and interests; 3. opportunities​ for exercising ​creativity by using a variety of media, tools, and practices; 4. co-learning, where educators and students pool their skills and knowledge and share in the tasks of teaching and learning; and 5. an integrated learning system - or ​learning ecosystem - where connections between home, school community and world are enabled and encouraged. (Project New Media Literacies, 2010) In the spring of 2011, Project NML designed their new research initiative named PLAY! - an acronym for Participatory Learning and You! - which holds the new media literacy ​play as central to its philosophy. PLAY! is funded by the Gates Foundation for their college-readiness initiative. Our goal is to help meet educator needs to become more proficient in adapting to today’s rich media
  16. 16. landscape through a blended learning program that fully integrates the use and modeling of participatory pedagogy. PLAY!’s overarching question is, “How can we integrate the tools, insights, and skills of a participatory culture into the public education system in the United States?” Orienting questions and sub-questions based on three key themes: 1) How can we adapt the current NML model for integrating new media mindsets and practices into public K-12 schools? 2) How can PLAY! inform the conceptualization of a participatory model of professional development? And 3) How (and in what ways) does/do the PLAY! Program impact the educational practices of public K-12 teachers in the state of California? During the 2011-12 school year, we conducted a pilot with LAUSD teachers and students and are currently analyzing data from our PLAY! program. We have found the New Hampshire pilot to have been invaluable in creating a framework for our current model.
  17. 17. References (as adopted by) California State Board of Education. (2004). ​California State Standards for Media Literacy. Retrieved from http://www.medialiteracy.com/documents/CalifStateStandards.pdf. Handley, Ann (2006). ​From the Digital Divide to the Participation Gap. Retrieved from http://www.mpdailyfix.com/from-the-digital-divide-to-the-participation-gap/ Jenkins, Henry. (2008). ​The Participation Gap - A Conversation with media expert and MIT Professor Henry Jenkins. National Education Association. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/home/15468.htm Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Clinton, K., Weigel, M., & A.J. Robinson. (2006).​ Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Chicago: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Jenkins, Henry, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green. (2013). ​Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York, NY: New York University Press. Lenhart, Amanda. (2010). ​Teens, Cell Phones and Texting. Pew Internet American Life Project. Retrieved from​ ​http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1572/teens-cell-phones-text-messages Lenhart, A., Madden, M., Smith, A., Purcell, K., Zickuhr, K., & Rainie, L. (2011). ​Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites. Retrieved from http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Teens-and-social-media/Summary/Findings.aspx Lenhart, A., Ling, R., Campbell. S., & Purcel, K. (2010). ​Teens and Mobile Phones. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones/Chapter-2/Part-4.aspx Long, C. (2008). ​The participation gap: A conversation with media expert and MIT Professor Henry Jenkins. Retrieved from ​http://www.nea.org/home/15468.htm Madden, Mary. (2010). ​Four or More: The New Demographic. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Retrieved from http://pewinternet.org/Presentations/2010/Jun/Four-or-More--The-New-Demographic.aspx McFarren, C.K. (2011). Laughter diplomacy: Transcultural understanding at play in Rwanda. Theatre Topics, 21, 2, 163-173. Nathanson, A.I. (2003). Rethinking Empathy. In J. Bryant, D. Roskos-Ewoldson, & J. Cantor (Eds.), ​Communication and Emotion: Essays in Honor of Dolf Zillmann (pp. 107-130). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
  18. 18. Montana Office of Public Instruction. (2008). ​Montana K-12 Information Literacy/Library Media Content Standards Framework. Retrieved from http://opi.mt.gov/pdf/Standards/10ContStds-InfoLitLibMed.pdf Project New Media Literacies. (2009). ​Early adopters working group. Retrieved from http://www.newmedialiteracies.org/early-adopters-working-group.php Reilly, Erin and Vartabedian, Vanessa. (2010). ​Early adopters research summary: Midpoint evaluation. Cambridge, MA: Unpublished manuscript. Wartella, E., & O’Keefe, B., & Scantlin, R. (2000). ​Growing up with interactive media: What we know and don’t know about the impact of new media on children. Washington, DC: Markle Foundation.