Teachers as Contemporary Learners

Today I will be speaking with those at the Fordham Literacy Institute about how teachers can harness contemporary literacies for themselves and for their own professional growth. We’ll be taking their already great Guiding Questions and making a little twist in order to ask:

  • Who are contemporary teachers?
  • What is the potential for professional development in an age of Web 2.0?
  • How can we use technologies to build our literacy & content teaching knowledge & skills?
  • How can we use technologies to expand the walls of our professional development?


  • Who am I as a teacher, and where do I need to grow to meet the needs of contemporary learners?

I thought we’d start with a quote from a recent blog post by a Making Learning Connected  or #clmooc participant Joseph McCaleb. In the post Joseph reflects on taking up the role as a connected educator himself and with the teachers he teaches. He concludes:

Teachers have to transform into risk-takers, re-mixers, and collaborators.

Untitled After a literal bird walk down memory lane when I reminisce about my first “very high tech” professional development training in the 90s…all about hypertext and how to make a hyperdeck (whoa!), we’ll consider what the current culture of education is in regards to literacy. How are we talking about literacy? What do we value as literate in schools? And most importantly, what are our potential blind spots in this culture? You can watch this conversation live—and contribute—at our #fordhamlit13 padlet page.

For me, an important part of the culture we’ve developed in regards to literacy in schools is positioning the teacher as automaton. It leads to some critical blind spots.

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For learning’s sake, we need a culture that’s conducive to “risk-taking, re-mixing and collaborating” for teachers and youth alike. In the meantime, we can’t wait. All of this will be building to the group participating as Connected Educators in a special #literacies chat all about new literacies and teachers as contemporary learners. This is happening live on July 3rd from 10:30-11:30 AM. It will also be archived, but please feel free to join us if you can! In this chat we will be asking:

  • What changes have you seen in literacies in your lifetime?
  • What changes have you seen in your own literacies practices in the past few years?
  • Who are teachers as contemporary learners?
  • How are teachers learning in an age of Web 2.0?

If you’re feeling antsy about diving in, I recommend taking a look at Joe Bower’s reflection on this beautiful learning moment in a post he calls:

Here’s What Learning Looks Like

We often talk about helping our youth harness the power of new literacies, but we rarely invest in our own development in kind. Could our professional development look more like Michael Thorton’s classroom?

As always, I apologize that WordPress has begun to force ads on each post. Please ignore any ad that follows. I have not vetted and do not support whatever is advertised below.

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