112 updateYou may have noticed that my posts are fewer and further between, and there are lots of good reasons for that, not the least of which is teaching 20 hours, furloughs, busy schedule at home, etc. Just not enough time in the day, not enough time on the computer that has my work on it.
But this doesn't mean I've been slouching with my classes. We have been studying intelligence, so I gave groups of students (in two classes) topics that they could choose from and was grateful when they chose topics I liked: a group in each class chose multiliteracies (21st century skills), and another group chose gifted education. Two groups also did educational toys and videos; and one did men vs. women (in IQ).
If you open the links that lie beneath these group titles, you will find students' reading reaction journals which, unfortunately, are sometimes put in the wrong weblogs. Each weblog should ultimately be a collection of articles and links pertaining to that subject, though unfortunately things don't always work out as I'd planned. It has however allowed me to read a bit on the topics.
I was interested in multiliteracies partly because a friend has written extensively on it yet I still wasn't clear exactly what other literacies there were besides the traditional two (reading and writing). Even now, and after reading a number of articles including his (Vance Stevens'), I'm not clear on how to define the different literacies one would surely need as we go into the 21st century. My students went out and actually asked young SIUC students what kind of computer skills we should be teaching our young people; if getting information from the computer and using it involve so much more than just reading and writing, exactly what else is valuable? It seems that evaluating web content is extremely important, and involves a different set of skills than, say, knowing where in a library to find a book; but, those skills, as far as I can tell, are mostly centered around reading itself. Multitasking is an interesting skill, as it's taken a hit in the mainstream media; but, is it really more necessary now than it used to be? Only because we make it so. The young are proud to say they can text and drive, no problem; they can facebook and write a paper, too, all in an hour. We on the other end are pretty sure that both their driving and their paper-writing are not as 100% as they were, say, pre-texting. But they still value multitasking at the driver's license center and studies show it to be one of the (possibly fluid-analytic?) skills that decline with age...as if there is something elemental, and important, involved.
In the area of gifted education I've had a bug under my ear ever since I found out that much of the original research done on it was flawed; in other words, we should not sit around and wait for education schools to tell us what labeling our children in the public schools would do, either to their education, or to them. I suspect that nobody every really thought it out thoroughly, and somehow I'm not surprised. The articles my students turned up showed it was a hot topic in both the USA and Canada; the very first, in Canada, had something like 550 comments on it, mostly negative, though parents freely admit they would always accept a gifted education program for their child (as I have, several times), if offered.
The writing on both topics is interesting, and still coming in; I don't mean to neglect the other two groups either, as they have interesting topics too. Each weblog ultimately will house the story of how they went out, spoke to SIUC students about the topic, and got data about how people felt....should be interesting.