Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grassroots Convergences @ Berliner School with TechKnow Associates Partnering

Grassroots convergence, as defined by Jenkins is "the increasingly central roles that digitally empowered consumers play in shaping the production, distribution, and reception of media content." I have witnessed this bottom -up pull approach used in an elementary special education school as a consultant worked with classroom teachers to integrate language arts literacy and science standards that needed to be taught through a channel and manner that the students desired to learn. How did this happen? The students were simply asked about their personal interests. Many of these children were fascinated with wild (predatory) animals and natural (destructive) phenomena. With this in mind, teachers worked collaboratively with the consultant to produce digital graphic organizers via Kidspiration, for scaffolding purposes within the writing process, review and archive media-rich video audio, media, and reading level-appropriate articles via Safari Montage to support research and created class topic-themed wikis via WikiSpaces as a platform where students could publish their final pieces (written articles, podcasts, artwork, etc.) and peers and teachers within the school and throughout the district could provide feedback and ask the newly expert authors questions about the subject of the expertise. It was powerful to witness the level of ownership each student possessed as a result of this process. The students were enthusiastic about this endeavor because they created the platform for learning based on their interests. The teachers listened and delivered what students needed to learn via facilitation by removing the "odor" of flat textbook teaching and providing the "fragrance" that drew the students into the arena of engagement.