Friday, September 28, 2012


 Media and Information Literacy

New and converging technologies are playing an important role in every aspect of our lives (social, economic and political change) today. It explains how new digital and electronic forms of media have evolved from traditional media and how they are enabling greater access to information and knowledge. Recently, there was a deadly attack on the USA consulate in Lybia. A YouTube video, known as an anti-muslim film, spread spontaneously following protests in the Muslim world.  The broadcast media, the Internet, mobile phones, and social media widened access to information and created a participatory culture where citizens from all over the world not only consume information, but actively participated with tweets and comments about this embarrassing event. Online newspapers, blogs, twitter and Facebook can spread any current event in just a few minutes. Today anyone with a smart phone and access to internet can have information in real time at their fingertips.

This text mentions that new information and communication technologies have opened up opportunities for greater audience participation in information and knowledge sharing, and are encouraging people to actively engage in the democratic process, causing more societies to open up. If you want to express your own ideas about political or social issues, you can create your own blog and let the world know what you think.

New media is impacting the social and academic lives of teachers. We, as educators, have to teach 21st century skills. For that reason we have to be trained with courses like "Authoring for Educators" to be able to teach our students to find, use and communicate information effectively and ethically. If we are active engaged in professional learning,  we can move forward for improving universal access to digital media. The greatest challenge for me would be to collaborate with colleagues at Cedros. I feel I need to inspire them to learn new technological tools.

Great opportunities provided by open education resources in teaching and learning has impacted positively for the Digital-Age Classrooms. But there is more to do. We need to design and develop better ways to asess our kids' progress to make sure they are getting ready for the future. For instance, when our children know how to work collaboratively in a classroom, we can assure they are developing literacy skills that can use later in a 21st century job.

New Media Technologies

Friday, September 21, 2012


Hattwig, D., Burgess, J., Medaille, A. ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Association of College and Research Libraries. 2011

Which essential skills represent your strengths in order to engage capably in a visually oriented society?

I often work with keynote presentation for my science lessons. That’s when I teach my students to use images in an appropriate way, related to the topic. I make emphasis in the amount of text to be balanced with one image in every single slide. My fifth grade students google images to find the appropriate visuals for their presentation. As a mentor, I have to be monitoring them to make sure they are using those visuals in an ethical and cultural way.

When my students make keynote presentations, I have the feeling that I’m pushing them to be exposed to digital media use and visual literacy. I need to take into account that students have different learning styles. Therefore, when the students are learning with the help of  text and images they have better chances to learn deeply. By now,  I think that my students can define the purpose of an image within a specific project after their second or third keynote presentation.
Which skills do you need to build on in order to facilitate the development of your students’ skills and competencies to engage with images, and to critically use and create visual media to enhance their learning in your classes?

After reading this article, I’m deeply aware that there are more skills to learn in this globalized world. I must have a clear idea to teach my students to select the most appropriate sources and retrieval systems for finding and accessing needed images and visual media for school projects.

One of my weak skills could be visual literacy assessment, to evaluate images and their sources in means of copyright. In this course of “Authoring for Educators”, I understand that in order for my students to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media, I have to be a model for them. That means that if I use images for my lessons, It has to be as a visually literate teacher.

Integrating visual literacy into your curriculum may require partnerships and shared implementation strategies across departments and/or units. Whom might you be partnering with and why?

Honestly, I feel alone in this matter. Nevertheless, I have tried working along with computer teachers. They do not seem very interested in becoming critical consumers of visual media. Only the librarian assumes the role of contributor to use and share images in an academic environment. 

I believe the right person to talk to is David Berriolope, Director of Innovation Technology. He has the power to engage, first, computer teachers by supporting efforts to develop measurable improvements in students’ visual literacy. Then with a teacher training on information literacy, we can start working with media literacy.  Once David is involved in this topic, we can all have the sufficient tools to incorporate visual literacy into our curriculum.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Lemke, C. “Innovation Through Technology,” 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn. (2011) pp. 243 – 269.

After reading Chapter 11, Innovation Through Technology by Cheryl Lemke, I understand the importance of becoming a leader for my school community. My responsibility is to ensure that my students live, learn, work, and thrive to be sync with the globalized world.

Why do our schools need to embrace the innovations of visualization, democratization of knowledge and participatory cultures of learning?

The 21st century brings us millions of visual images in multimedia through a host of mobile devices at a rapid pace. That is why we need to make our students, become informed viewers, critics, thinkers, and producers of multimedia.

Today we, educators, need to consider in using technology to capitalize on the power of visualization and build students’ visual literacy: first, to develop students as informed consumers of information; second, to engage students in thinking critically and creatively using visuals; and third, to engage students in communicating using visuals.

Cheryl emphasizes that we need to engage students fully in deep learning. I totally agree. They need to be motivated, curious learners through visualization, democratization of knowledge, and participatory learning in the classroom. Every day our children are exposed to visuals, videos and hours in front of TV with hundreds of commercials, even with interactive games.

Which of the three innovations will you be most likely to be able to address in your classroom and division?  

I think that visualization will be the innovation that I can work better in Lower School at Cedros. My students watch a lot of movies, TV adds, and play video games. So they are exposed to a tremendous amount of visuals. It wouldn’t be challenging to inform our kids to recognize visuals and to interpret media appropriately.

One way to start teaching visualization to my fifth grade students could be simply by using this link.  I can introduce the topic to make them as informed consumers of information. One of the ways to achieve this is to help students analyze how advertisers manipulate images. An informed consumer recognizes that people are impacted emotionally, psychologically, physiologically, and cognitively.

In addition to interpreting visuals, students should also understand how to create original visuals to communicate their ideas, represent their data, and tell their stories. In the following video, you can see how my students have been working to become producers of media.  I'm proud of my kids because they created their own video all by themselves.

What challenges will need to be addressed?

The main problem is access and infrastructure. Cedros doesn’t have broadband access to support the access to technology, so it’s difficult to have online learning.  If you are lucky, there can be only two or three mobile devices with internet access in the classroom.  Our connectivity is 512 kb. I have been fighting with the board of directors to invest in  to have better wireless access.

There are also other obstacles; not all educators and staff are involved with 21st century learning. There are a few teachers who have been at Cedros for more than 20 years and they are loyal to their traditional methods. They don’t like taking any risks.

To ensure my Cedros students are ready to thrive in today’s global, knowledge-based society, our school needs to embrace the innovations of visualization, democratization of knowledge, and participatory cultures for learning. This begins when I engage in professional growth and leadership through SUNY. Then I can teach old teachers new tricks. By taking these baby steps we can all modernize our teaching.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


The Wrong Bet: Why Common Curriculum & Standards Won’t Help

After reading “The Wrong Bet” by Zhao Y., I completely agree with the idea that the traditional education paradigm is outdated.  The world has changed. Emerging technology has been changing the world at a tremendous pace. 

Zhao mentions that many countries want to adopt national standards to compete successfully in this globalized world. Governments have invested billions of dollars to make new reforms, new standardized tests, be aligned with college and work expectations. Governments want to modernize by prescribing and enforcing what students should learn. But they have failed so far.

For instance in Mexico, private schools are more concerned in the results from PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment). If schools get higher scores, students are more prepared in Maths, Language Arts and Science. That is not true. Mexican teachers focus their instruction on content rather than critical or inquiry skills.  I think that we are having a “test oriented” education. In the past, there was more classroom instruction and today we are more worried about test preparation.

In order to compensate some deficiencies in our educational system, we need to have professional development along the massive technological changes. One way is to prepare students to develop innovative products with the use of mobile devices working collaboratively. Another way is by inviting parents to be involved in their children’s interests, needs and potentials. Let's try to implement different kinds resources in classrooms in a 24/7 environment  to motivate learners to be fully prepared for the future.

There are over seven billion people living on earth today. There is plenty of competition for everyone. That’s why I truly believe that today educators have to teach our kids 21st century skills to survive in the global economy. I want to contribute with the education in Mexico by preparing students to become World Class Learners.

My Cedros Student Using QR Codes