Sunday, April 26, 2009


Margaret Niess "the twenty first century literate citizen" (225).


First, twenty first century implies the next hundred years of education. It's forward-thinking. But no one can predict the future exactly...So what does this mean for preservice teachers forming a philosophy of "the twenty first century literate citizen"?

-A capacity to predict and accept failure as part of the learning process

-A continual analysis of cognition in the form of reflection

-An ability to share/network with a large group of learners, peers, and experts

These three ideas can be applied vertically (pre-k-12) and are adaptable, by necessity!

Literacy. The idea of being literate. What does it mean today and what will it mean tomorrow?

it's the ability to communicate, today. People communicate across multiple platforms and multiple age groups, by texting, calling, twittering, skyping, blogging, you name it. People are talking. Each of these forms of communication requires some form of expertise in a language that the computer understands. It's understanding how programs work and function. This type of program knowledge varies, but without it, no one could communicate!

My brother tells me often when I ask him an inane question--"It's designed for the average user--look how many people are selling things out of their garage on E-bay." When I hear that something is designed for the average user, I am inspired to explore the platform further. The idea is to allow people to connect, communicate, and share. Make it easy.

Literacy is more than reading and writing. It's experience applied to new experience. That needs to be the focus when switching gears from last century to this. Designers, creators, explorers of knowledge.

Citizen is the last big idea. This is so staggeringly important a concept for the preservice teacher to understand. The role of teacher has not changed in the last hundred years. The teachers are still the role models. Not becoming familiar with the digital planets that students inhabit is akin to never learning a second language when surrounded by people who speak it. Students need teachers to be role models. They need teachers to understand the culture of their online worlds in safe, constructionist environments. Protocol, etiquette, expectations, consequences for online language, behavior, etc. Preservice teachers must feel the urgency to train students when they are online to protect their offline lives.

How does TPACK address the idea of a twenty first century literate citizen? The models are to approach pre-service individual content areas in order to design learning in a way that is declarative, procedural, schematic, and strategic.


Preservice teachers should be asked to


Pre-service teachers need time to practice their ideas and then reflect on the experiences.

Preservice teachers need to be exposed to a diverse population of learners in order to fully grasp the scope of their chosen vocation. There are many types of learners, and analyzing how different learners communicate their ideas is essential. It removes the preservice teacher from the terrible sin of teaching to how he/she best learned.

Every preservice teacher should be exposed to multiple cultures. It will imprint them that diversity is a grand plan. This exposure is simplified with the tools defined as literacy above--the tools of communication and connectivity. Social media is a natural, communicative literacy that, when examined by the preservice teacher, reveals how students think.

The trick is to tease out of them (the learners) what they learned in the interaction and figure out what they need to make sense of it. Expect failure, remember.

It's tricky.

In the TPACK model, preservice teachers begin to think in nonlinear ways. They will develop a sense of forward motion, as opposed to marching down a path to knowledge. Real learning doesn't work that way. The ideas that come out of natural communication are pure ideas, and when they are examined, discussed, refined, and reflected upon...citizens are formed. That is education. Allowing the ideas to present themselves, seriously wicked problems!

Preservice teachers, when designing learning units, need to think about


Preservice teachers need to develop an effective toolkit, management strategies, etc. Pe preventive rather than reactive. Predict failure. Have a plan B.

Preservice teachers need field try things out and reflect on how things can be improved.

Preservice teachers need to shift content from published data to constant creation of a stream of communication, and learning culture.

Personally, my preservice teaching was nil, except for three summers at a migrant camp with the preschoolers--so my first three years of teaching were very stressful as I tried to find my way...moving home to Maine was the best technology step I ever took.

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