This blog is designed as a resource for CURR 501, Media Literacy, Popular Culture and Education at Rhode Island College, summer 2014. The course is driven by the essential question: How is new media and digital culture produced and consumed in ways that help us understand ourselves and each other in the context of the current educational landscape?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Inquiry Based Learning

Here's a website about "Inquiry Based Learning." 

I haven't checked it out totally, but it looks like it has a lot of resources and advice for trying this out.

Ken Robinson and Sugata Mitra: What is Learning?

Ken Robinson, Education's Death Valley
"Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility."

3 Principles Guide Human Life in Flourishing
  • Diversity (as a strength to embrace) vs Conformity 
  • Curiosity (as the engine of achievement) vs Compliance 
  • Creativity (to allow flexibility and thinking outside the box) vs Standardization
He argues that the standardize testing landscape forgets about the relationship between "teaching" and "learning" as it deprofessionalizes teaching, and emphasizes control at the federal level. He makes a strong case for the importance of TEACHERS in awakening the the floor of the Educational Death Valley.

He believes that schools work when they:
  • Highly personalized
  • Strong teacher support
  • Tight links with community
  • Broad and diverse curriculum
  • Student involvement in and outside of school

How does this relate to Sugata Mitra's vision of a School in the Cloud that he articulates in his 2013 Ted Prize Wish?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Notes from Carolyn Fortuna

Dr. Carolyn Fortuna's Presentation


The use of standard protocols that students come to know and use allows more depth and structure in conversation.

Carolyn uses Google Sites for her own materials, AND she has each student in the class create his/her own Google Site using a pseudonym in order to protect their anonymity on the web.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Fwd: Story Map JS

Link to this tool: 
What can you do with Story Map?  Story Map is a tool that allows you to tell a story using maps to highlight major events in accordance with a location.  Story Map has also added a new feature that allows users to tell a story using large image files such as historical maps, works of art, or photographs.   The link below is an example Story Map of Arya's journey in "The Game of Thrones" series.

Rating and Ease of Use:  Story Map is free, but to use Story Map,  you have to have a Google e-mail account.  The Google e-mail account is where the Story Map is saved.  This creates an obvious problem if the user does not have a Google e-mail account.  Additionally, the Google e-mail account must support public Google drive sharing.  My personal google e-mail account does not support public Google drive sharing and after spending some time trying to make my Google e-mail support public Google drive sharing, I was unsuccessful. Therefore, I experienced difficulty when trying to create my own Story Map and give the tool a grade of a B. 

What does it bring to the table in an educational sense?  This digital tool is very creative, visual, and highly engaging.  As a Geography teacher, I can see endless possibilities to use this tool.  I picked this tool becauseI h onestly thought that I would have my students use it next year.  However, the google e-mail requirement unfortunately will prevent that from happening as my students do not all have Google e-mail accounts and setting up e-mail accounts for all students requires district-level approval that I am not sure I would get.  I really do love the idea of this tool because it allows the user to participate in the process of mapping in a modern and relevant way.  I can also see how this tool could easily be used in all subject areas.  

Jayna -- Sent from my iPad

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Amazing App I just Found

Playing with my iPad yesterday and I found this app/internet service, verso,  for classroom flipping.  I'm absolutely in love with it.  It is very inexpensive too.  They give you three classroom flips for free and then after that they are less than a dollar each which I think is very affordable.  I might try this with my senior physics class this year.  They even have a library of resources to use that contains some great links.  Check out the video to show students how it works on the lower right hand corner of their home page.  It is very well done.