Welcome to Webcasts of the 2015 PDE Conference | Patricia Hozella - Director, Bureau of Special Education

Apply Discuss Succeed Participate Enhance Share Learn Achieve

Making a Difference:
Educational Practices That Work!

February 4 - 6, 2015 | Hershey Lodge and Convention Center

Visit us on Facebook

01. Leading the New Literacies: Digital, Media, Global, in Every Classroom for All Learners

02/04/15, Hershey, PA
>> Thanks, Ann. Hi, I'm Diane Funsten from the PaTTAN office in King of Prussia, and it is my great pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker, Heidi Hayes Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs is the executive director
of the Curriculum Mapping Institute, and president of Curriculum Designers, Incorporated, and is recognized internationally as an expert in the fields of curriculum and instruction. Dr. Jacobs has
consulted nationally and internationally on issues and practices pertaining to curriculum mapping, dynamic instruction and 21st century strategic planning. She is the author of seven books, most
recently, Curriculum 21, Essential Education for a Changing World, Mapping to The Core, integrating the Common Core standards into your local school curriculum, and Leading the New Literacies:
digital, media, global. Dr. Jacobs has taught at Columbia University's Teacher's College in New York City from 1981 to the present. She has worked with numerous organizations, including the College
Board, the Discovery Channel, ASCD, the Kennedy Center, East Asian Council of Overseas Schools, the International Baccalaureate, and the European Council of International Schools. Dr. Jacobs has
published curriculum materials with Prentice Hall, Milton Bradley, The Electric Company and Bomar Publishing. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Jacobs!
>> Good afternoon! I am on the tail end of a cold. Who can relate? I've been listening, I can hear you. My husband said, "Tell them you sound worse than you feel, and you'll get a lot of sympathy." I
in trouble!
Okay, the first thing I'd like to do is thank you for having me here. It really is a privilege and an honor. And what I want to do is, make sure that everything technologically is good to go, so we're
going to switch over. The other thing I'm going to do is very quickly engage you in some tasks. So, while I'm checking on this, what I want you to do is to find a trio, get with two other people. If
you are a group of four, then someone will have to talk to themselves. The point here is, get in a group of three, if you can, twos or threes, okay? Okay.
I've been an educator almost 40 years now, and I've had the good fortune of working in every state in this country, and in six continents. I have not worked in Antarctica, though I've sort of felt
that's where I've been working the last week, how about you? I'm really confident in what I'll share with you. I have a lot of experience. And the other reason is, at this stage in my life, there's
something I don't think you can know until you reach this stage in your life, and that is, I'm very comfortable with not knowing something. I don't have to prove things. It's, like, if I don't know
something, okay, I don't know it, so teach me. So, I don't know what you know, and that is for sure. And what I want to do is to share the best I have with you, and I'm humbled by being invited here.
Some of you, have any of you ever heard me speak anywhere? A few of you have. You may have heard me speak when I'm working on curriculum or modernizing schools. I will often say that I think we often
meet with the wrong people all the time in schools in America, the wrong people meet regularly. They meet out of habit, not out of who should be at the table. And I often give this example: If I were
in a middle school, and my eighth graders were having difficulty in mathematics, that isn't an eighth grade problem, it is an eighth, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one problem. But I know the
research on this, and it's probably 50% of the errors are reading errors, anyway, right? So, the other thing you'll hear the math teacher say is, "We don't know how these kids just don't know how to
break it down." And I'm going, "So, where are your Special Ed teachers at this meeting right now?" I said, "They're the best trained people in your school on how kids learn. They know how to break
things down." So, let's make sure they're not in the meeting!
You know, in a certain way, the expertise that's in evidence in this room serves everyone. I read a wonderful book, some of you may be familiar of it, Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree, how many of
talks about the notion at the end of this years and years of study preparing for this book, he said, "What I realized is that I was not alone in my special needs, that, in fact, the exceptional is
ubiquitous. It's everywhere." But the really lonely state, and almost unheard of, is someone who is, what, totally normal?
And so, to me, what I lead with is the fact that I'm looking at a sea of faces that represent a sea of children behind you, representing an array of needs. And as your president and your director
got it, I'm going to read it on the way home. I'm not driving, so it's okay! The thing that I'm also aware of is, you are united, but you're different, too. I have worked in Blue Feather School, the
school for autistic children in Brooklyn, a K-12 school program, and we did mapping there. I'm no expert on autism, but I found learning about the spectrum of services fascinating, which was
different from the work I did at Rochester School for The Deaf, or when I've worked with so many teachers who deal with children with dyslexia, or children who have needs resulting from mental
illness. You have a lot of differences in the room, a lot of specialties. And yet, I'm sure what you have in common is this sense of mission.
You know, I heard the word "compliance" used a lot. And frankly, I don't like the "compliance" word, I'm going to be honest with you, because I don't think it's a motivator. "Mission" is a motivator.
Compliance, that serves a mission, makes sense to me. Like, I want my doctors to comply to the rules, not because they have to, but because they're committed to my well-being, if that makes sense.
So, I just want to begin with a personal statement, before I launch into what, for me, is some of the most interesting work I've ever had a chance to work on in my career; I can't think of a better
time to be an educator. One of my great mentors said, "Heidi, in your whole career, always go for the chlorophyll. Go for the green stuff, go for the growth. Sometimes it's a little uncomfortable; in
fact, if it is uncomfortable, you know you're learning something." Who remembers what Piaget said? "An organism isn't growing unless it disequilibrates."
So, our goal is for all of us to be a little uncomfortable, and the goal for the conference is, everyone leaves emotionally disturbed, it'll be perfect! All right, now, to the focus of my comments,
and what I'd like to work with you on. In planning, I have a new book series that came out this year with Solution Tree; last year, actually, 2014, just recently. It's a four-book series, I was the
editor and author, I was the author of many of the chapters, and I had a wonderful group of people who joined me with it. But for the last few years, I have been looking at the modernization of
curriculum assessment and instruction, because it's so striking to me how dated our programs are, and yet, we still keep running it this way. I mean, having a digital tool, having a computer, doesn't
make you modern, at all. It doesn't. I can have kids use a tablet on dated curriculum topics. How's that? You know, the fact that I use an LCD projector doesn't make me a woman of this century. And
the point here is, all of you, almost without exception, work in schools that are still, to this day, and you hear it said again and again, but it's the truth, running on 19th century programs
structures and divisions. Nineteenth century. Decided at the Committee of Fifteen, under the direction of Charles Black from Harvard in Saratoga Springs, New York, I believe the year was 1892, we
still are running our schools in the factory model. That's what they were excited about. It was the industrial revolution.
So, we have 19th century structures, I would say arguably most curriculum is 20th, not contemporary. In fact, most all the assessments we give are identical in form to those given the first year of
standardized testing nationally, which I believe was around 1965. They look the same. In fact, even some of the big publishers now, talking about how, "Oh, we're going over to digital," and look at
the tests! They're still multiple choice tests, they're just digital. I don't think so! They're reductive. Do they have purpose? Yeah, but minimal; not all that much, and especially when it's
event-based. When it all comes down to that day, who knows what I'm talking about? It's like Thanksgiving, except it's not as happy, and there's no turkey! No, it's serious! Down to two or three
hours, and if somebody's under the weather, and they're taking that test, or they're scared, or their teachers are scared, and don't you think that gets conveyed to children? If everyone starts
wearing black in May, you know something's wrong!
So, the point here is, I'm very sympathetic to the fact that we have these issues. But I still would argue we have to keep looking at how do we prepare our learners for now, in the future? That's what
we're here for; however the learners are, whatever their needs are. That means we maybe have to do some things that are a little disruptive. It doesn't mean we throw everything out, why would we do
that? But there are some things I believe that need to be shed, and embraced.
So, what I'd like to do is, if I might, ask you, how many of you have a Twitter account? Okay, every hand should go up by the end of this conference, and I'm not kidding you. You cannot make a case
for not using it. Just use it for professional reasons. Who knows what I mean? Just use it professionally. There's not a day that goes by when I don't go through my Twitter feed I don't find a new
resource, a new application, a new study. It's outrageous if you don't have Twitter! There, I'll stand up and say that. You know why? I'm going to argue for the best interest of this child. Would you
take this chair for me, darling, and put it right at the end here, and put it right on the stage? Thank you! And, are you a classroom teacher? Are there any other teachers here? Is anybody a teacher?
>> Alexis.
>> Alexis is here. Thank you! So, we have a deal today. You can raise any point you want with me, with each other, through the conference, as long as it's in Alexis' best interest. So, somebody has to
show me how it's in her best interest for her teachers not to be connected to one of the finest, quickest, most efficient social media tool for sharing information between like-minded colleagues, and
So, if you will, I'm going to have a few prompts, and we'll use the Twitter feed today as part of our social media. So, here's your first task. With the group you are sitting with, I'm going to ask
you to look at your curriculum as an artifact, as if you were Margaret Mead visiting your school, and you were dating the year that school institution is preparing its students for. You're looking as
objectively as you can, look at your schedule as an artifact. Look at how you group your kids as an artifact. Especially look at curriculum, and you know, all cultures have totems; they have driving
symbolic forces. Think of religions. They often have symbols that really drive them. In American education, there's no question that our totem, the thing that drives us, is what we value the most for
assessment. It dictates how we teach, doesn't it? What we teach.
I'm going to ask you to be as honest as you can. If you were describing to Margaret the artifacts, what year are you preparing Alexis for? Not what you wish, but as an institution, go. Everybody.
You've got two minutes.
I'm not sure what you said, I'm not going to ask everyone. But I can tell you from my experience, I'm hard-pressed to find a school, really a whole institution, I'm not talking about individual
teachers or a project here and there, that isn't preparing students for roughly, in America, I would say roughly 1985, 1990. I wish I were trying to be funny; I'm really not. I've never been in an
television literacy, even though it's infinitely more of a force than print. It's like it doesn't exist. Come on!
And if you want to look at history, how many of you can say your graduating seniors know much of anything about the last 20 years of history? A lot of places go, "We got to Vietnam, you know, that's a
long time ago!" It's true! And I don't see teachers happy about it, I don't see teachers thrilled about it. I feel a lot of times, everybody's just running on a treadmill. Americans, I think,
the one-room schoolhouse. I think a lot of people are working awfully hard out there, and I don't think people are thrilled on holding back.
I was interviewed by Ed Week about a year or so ago, and the interviewer said, "Dr. Jacobs, what do you think about American teachers being so reluctant to embrace the new literacies, digital tools,
and all of that?" I said, "You're talking to the wrong lady. I don't see resistance. What I see is, we want to do it, but we want to know how to do it, while we're juggling everything else we're
I think we have to change our mission statements, and say, "We are preparing Alexis for 1990, we were happier, then," or whatever you want to say! It's not now, and here's the problem. Guess what
century this girl is in? This one. She's right now. She gets it. And I don't want Alexis time traveling, going back in time in school, and then out to the 21st century. Or, an occasional foray with
the one or two teachers that are "really good" at this, our token "right now" people. I'm tired of hearing it, I really am! I meet a lot of principals who say, "Oh, we've got some great things
technology at all. Pencil is technology; look, here's the pen, here's the pencil. You know, when the pencil came out, I'm sure there were pencil media specialists. I'm sure we had pencil labs! "Kids,
go down to Pencil Lab, then when you come back, we'll get out the quills and ink, and I'll be just fine," I mean, the point here is, it's the literacy piece, it's the teaching and learning that we
really need to focus on.
So, I'm basically asking you to choose your century. I think most of you want to be, and are full lead learners in this century. My statement about Twitter was to get your attention; you may use other
social media, of course. But you see, if I want Alexis to be digitally literate, media-savvy and a good media maker and globally connected, then her teachers need to be digitally literate,
media-savvy, media makers and globally connected. And that is a fact! And I think it is particularly important for a child who feels like an outsider. So yeah, I'll take a stand on it, I'm leaving
town! But so are you. And the question is, what do we go back with and make more of a commitment to? And I don't know, for all I know, I'm sure a lot of you are doing some good things, so we'll share
that with one another, too.
a movement, but a lot of thought work and mind work and hard work, and learning from one another, a network of people, really, really looking at how we need to shift the whole thing, man! We really
You know, it's interesting to me. You invited me to come and speak at this. I didn't call you up and say, "Hey, you really need me," that isn't me, I know that! I'm too old for that! It's the message.
It's that everyone is really, really concerned about not just an occasional foray with an application, but how do we really cultivate? We've got a new kind of learner. We've got a self-navigator. In
fact, how many of you have seen a two, three or four-year-old teach themselves a skill on an iPad? Raise your hands. Then, how come the majority of pre-K's and K's really don't reflect that? How many
of you have ever taught a six-year-old? Answer this question with a Yes or a No: Does a six-year-old know what a Triceratops is? Yes, because they're motivated. So, don't tell me they don't like
multisyllabic words. They know what a Triceratops is. She can know at six what an icon is, what a setting is. She can know it, and she's already taught herself touch and effect.
So, what we have is, we have new learners emerging, and we have a global shift to refresh our standards. I took a few images from a number of countries; we're not alone. In 2010, it was very
interesting, a lot of this happened around 2010, but quite a number of countries began shifting their standards to new types of standards for the century. I'm very familiar with Pennsylvania's
adaptation of the Common Core, and I know the PDE SAS side; I've followed it for years. It has so many great resources. You know, people all over the country use it; for sample essential questions,
and your assessment guides, and so forth. But the thing that I think I would say I'm a little critical of, the Common Core in this regard, I like the majority of what I see in those standards, and I
think there's depth to, in particular, the reading and writing.
But I think the speaking and listening was underwritten; I think it should have had a lot more, so that's one criticism. The other is, I think there's lip service paid to media. It's mentioned, it's
identified, whereas if you look at other countries, they really get it. In fact, there's requirements for making documentaries in almost every other country I work in. It's a requirement. It should
be in your schools, too. Alexis shouldn't leave middle school until she's made at least five documentaries; maybe one in science, maybe one in social studies. Maybe something about her family
history. Or, don't do it. Just have her make a poster. I'm not joking!
See, you can't have her do both, so guess what you're going to have to do? You're going to have to do some replacements. Is a poster important? Yeah, but not 50 times. You see where I'm going? I
I'd almost rather see that child periodically use something like Little Bird Tales and create a book that has her voiceover and her images, and she can learn how to edit. And what's interesting, a
lot of times, they're more motivated, too. And if we're working on all four, language capacities, reading-writing, speaking, listening, we can bring them in together.
So, you're part of a national movement. It's a great opportunity, but I want to reassure people. There's a lot of times, people say, "I know, but they're not going to need me anymore! You know?
They've got these new tools, and we don't need people anymore!" And I think that's nonsense! You know, anything classical is timeless. Turn to the person you're sitting next to, if you're still on
speaking terms, and what I'd like you to do, I'm going to give you 30 seconds. It's going to be 30 seconds, that's it. I want you to stop for a minute before you do this, I want you to think of a
work of literature; it can be narrative, it can be non-fiction, it can be religious, I don't care what it is. I want you think of a classic work of literature that has stood the test of time, and it
means something to you. Think about that. Now, share it, go!
Okay. I'm not sure what you said. One of the table start laughing really hard, I'm dying to know what they said. But here's the point: Did anybody say Shakespeare, anything of Shakespeare's? Okay. Now
watch this, excuse me, everyone. Shakespeare is always timely! It's why he stands up, he's timeless. Anything classical is timeless. We don't get rid of it! And some things are more timely than
others, isn't it true? Like, you know, Shakespeare we usually do in eighth grade; Midsummer Night's Dream. That's perfect for middle school! It's a guy who thinks he's a jackass with fairies running
around, it's the middle school experience, really! And then, we start high school with Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy. Love doesn't work, you're going to die! Welcome to high school! You know?
Shakespeare plays we just don't teach. And so, the point here, it doesn't mean everything, or all works from the past are equally timely. Some really do work. Right? Here's my point: In teaching,
there is antiquated teaching which does not hold up, coverage, where there's absolutely no responsibility or reaction to the student. The role of the student, so pedagogy of student is receptacle,
some of our greatest early teachers. And it was very much about the interaction of the teacher with the student; how to pose a question, when not to say anything, how to group them, out of sequence
things. We need it! That's not going away!
But, we have a new kind of learner! We have a new setting, because learning is no longer four walls, it really isn't. Your Web page as a teacher, and every single teacher in a school needs their own
Web page, is your classroom as much as, if not more so, than the four walls that surround your kids during the day. It is right there.
Let me go back to one example: Who in the room tries to teach middle schoolers? Those of you who are laughing don't teach them. The middle school people go, "She's right, it's what it's like, we do
Academy, if you like, you know, Khan Academy, K-H-A-N, if you don't, start making your notes. But the point here is, you can be making your own, they can be looking at your video clips. If I'm a
special needs child, the ability for me to replay things a bunch of times and go to the resources is pretty important, don't you think? And also, they're out navigating themselves, and some of them
really don't know what they're doing. Just because I can access the Internet, doesn't mean I'm necessarily going to the right places. Just because I can drive a car doesn't mean I'm always going to
the best parts of town; I'm just telling you that one of the things we have is, we have a new student population that is learning differently from the past, that needs us in a lot of the classical
So, we have new kinds of learners that are requiring information through a lot of self-navigation, open 24-7. They're networking with others. Today, after school, my guess is seven to eight thousand
children in Pennsylvania will be playing video games with a child in another part of the world. They're already globally connected! So, what we want to do is, have a new kind of school that keeps the
best of the classical, responsive to modern learning, and we need teachers that are digitally literate, media-savvy and globally connected. We also have new learning genre. So, to me, when somebody
says, "Oh, we use virtual tools," I don't like the imprecision of that. I'd really much rather, in curriculum language, begin to talk about the difference between an online course, which is different
from an event. This is an event right now. This is being wide-streamed, right? So, you can take this event, it can be replayed, which is a different kind of tool than an online course, which is
qualities out there, some are better than others, but they never make a mistake. Who knows what I'm getting at? If they make the wrong move, so to speak, it's not a wrong move. They just go, "Oh,
what do I learn from that? I'll get back right in," and what do they do? They go again. Talk about motivating! You're going to see a whole array of new options, but right now, everything here is
So, my thought on this is that as teachers, if I'm looking at IEPs, I'd surely like to see them populated with more words like these. Not, "We'll use technology," who sees what I'm talking about?
That's like saying, "We'll use pencils." Every time you see the word "technology," replace it with "pencil," and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. You think I'm joking? I'm not joking! So,
what I'd like to see, frankly, is more precision in your reporting, in your observations of what you're working on.
Finally, I think what we're seeing is a new type of teacher emerging already. I'll give you an example: Vicky Davis, who is Cool Cat Teacher, does anyone know Cool Cat Teacher? Good! I'm seeing hands
go up. She has a following of 92,000 in Twitter, she's a classroom teacher, third grade. She publishes some of the best resources I know. She's an incredible teacher, but you see what she is. She's
created in a sense, she's elevated herself and broadcasts and shares as an independent practitioner to like-minded people all over the country. Ten years ago, we didn't do that. Twenty years ago, no
You have, within your ranks, in this very room, the capacity to share, broadcast, curate and be much more of a network than I think you are, and I would challenge you to do it! You have such a hard
job! In other words, I'd like to propose that this group start to think of itself as a cyber-faculty, and that you network with people and post and share not just random blogs, but to really
21st century environment. I think that's a myth. People buy computers and they sit, and they aren't used well.
Let me ask you something, how many of you have a laptop? Not here, but just have a laptop? How many of you don't know the half of what it will do? Do you know you're sitting on a media-making
headquarters? Seriously. Who has a Mac? IMovie, ScreenFlow. You can create broadcast quality podcasting on Garage Band, and I see people going, "I just don't know where I get this stuff." I'm going,
"You're sitting on it!" With Movie Maker on PC, here's my proposal: Do any of you have to go to faculty meetings? Okay, here's what I'd like to propose. And are there any principals in the room?
Great! Two of you, you're sitting together, okay. Here's my proposal to principals: I always ask them to eliminate every other faculty meeting, because nobody wants to go. It's at the end of the day,
people aren't particularly perky, right? You don't get excited the night before. "What are you going to wear to the faculty meeting?" You know? "Cotton scarf, let's scarf it up, it'll be just great!"
of them, and have the time to learn a little more skill about how to create a quality video with their kids.
I think we need to use time differently. There's a complaint about time, and I think that we have too many meetings that aren't necessary, we could meet more virtually. You should never go to a
meeting unless it's the right people. And I also think we could be using our time differently, and begin to employ the technology for that environment.
Here's another one - Innovation is a step-by-step sequential process. It is absolutely not. Innovation is messy. There, let's just say it! It starts messy. It starts with clay on the table. It starts
with brainstorming out of the box, as opposed to diving into the boxes too soon. Yes, you do have to eventually come up with structure and plans. But if you want to do innovative work with your kids,
don't start with the narrow thing, always. "Now, what exactly is the problem you want to solve?" Maybe they don't know yet! Maybe they have to explore a little bit more. Sometimes, I think with kids,
and this is my own observation, if I'm wrong, I'll own it. But too often, I've seen with kids who have special needs, we sometimes start almost too rigidly out of a control thing, like, we want them
to really go to that next step, as opposed to sometime starting a little more openly, and then getting to those steps on the things that may motivate them. They need to be innovative, too. I think
they need particularly that way. And some of them are extraordinarily innovative.
case for, "Well, if we have time." I just don't think that's going to work. I'm sure when the printing press came out, and Gutenberg had it way back there, what, in the 1500s. There were a lot of
This one, I think, is the last one, is a big one, and it's a hard one. And that is, we're victims of the system and are powerless to modernize. There are absolute movements afoot to begin to shift and
make adjustments to provide the best learning environments for our kids, and for ourselves. We're losing too many good teachers, as victims of systems that are really promulgating some, I think,
really negative behaviors. And I, for one, think we have to start standing up to it with better alternatives. Nobody's trying to hurt kids, nobody's trying to hurt learners. But I sometimes wonder
an administrator or a teacher. The debates will be healthier than, "We're trying to find the most inexpensive way to test kids." And our goal, I think, is to be strong in our views. I'm not looking
like victims.
So, literacy. Literacy is communication, and classical literacy has to do with print, it has to do with visual literacy, what we see and what we read, and how we speak and we listen. I think all of us
save it. So, let me set it up for now. After I've gone through some of this in a little bit, I want you to examine and share an example of how you've used the new literacies to engage your learners.
And then, I'd like, if you're someone at the table who can tweak this and go to the hashtag that we have available to share an example of how they use the new literacies to engage their learners,
we'll get to that in a minute. Let me start right now by dealing with the three, and how I have them organized the way I do. I wrote a book, and authored a book, and was the editor of a book. There
are a number of chapters by some wonderful writers, called Curriculum 21, it was chosen by ASCD as the World Member book a few years ago. And that book got me to think a lot more about, why is it
we're having so much trouble with these new tools, and the way we're learning? And I think it's because we're mushing things together, to use a kind of New Yorkie phrase, it's, like, "mushed." And
these are really separate from one another, and need to be cultivated differently. And also, there is a misunderstanding about the notion of what literacy is.
Yeah. And so, what it is, is because they have the same phoneme pattern as English. But it's the other side of the coin that makes you really literate, and that is the ability to make meaning and
connections with what you read. It isn't just translating.
So, if I go to Spain, and I read the front of the guide book, and it has a whole bunch of coding, you know, words, "Good morning," "Where's the hotel," so I don't buy the hotel, I just get to the
hotel. I'm not fluent, I'm not literate in Spanish. I can decode it, and translate a few things. All right, now, I want you to apply this notion to this idea: Let's say that---what is your first
>> Wendy. Let's say I'm talking with you about Wendy, all of you, and I go, "I'd like you to meet Wendy, she's terrific. She's a woman of letters. She's so literate!" Oh, okay! This is a role play, by
>> Wendy.
the way, Merrill! Okay, here we go! She's over here, like... Okay. So, here's the point. What I'm saying is, you're a sophisticated reader. She's discriminating. She can make choices. She's
>> Well, we'll figure it out!
>> Adam is such a dear guy! Adam, thank you! Don't applaud yet, until he fixes it, okay?
>> Just start throwing things, though!
>> Your whole Mac went black.
>> All right.
>> Yeah, [INAUDIBLE].
>> No no no, listen! Don't leave the room! Thank you, I don't know, I think what it is, can I tell you something? I think you've got this on a timed thing, that if I'm not moving the slides, that's
the ability for students to access the Internet, access tools, but they're not selective or discriminating. Who sees what I'm getting at? Discuss that for just a minute, while I get set up here. Do
you see where I'm going? Just because I can access tools, doesn't mean I'm literate with them, okay?
I'm committed to having you leave with a lot more than you came in with, and you will. Watch where I'm about to go. So, the idea here is, I was looking at digital literacy, and doing a lot of research
and reading about this, and what I recognize and began to talk about are four capabilities that need to be cultivated to help Alexis become a digitally literate learner. And the digital literacy is
So, for digitally literate, digitally literate has to do with, first of all, the ability to access. That's comparable to phonemic awareness, in a sense. It's the ability to get in, whether you're
dealing with keyboarding fluency, which is still very relevant and important, especially for coding, whether you're working with touch and effect, or one that I'm imagining quite a few of you are
starting to use, which has to do with voice activated tools. For me, I think Siri is one of the best things that's ever come to speech, because she takes you literally, what you say and how you work.
who have language issues, and they're extremely motivating!
So, most schools have policies on this, and the other thing that is a big one is access. So, right now I'm working on a grant with some of the schools in New Haven, in Connecticut, and in many of
these schools, we're working on a STEM program. It's the first time probably the majority of the students in the elementary schools have ever held an iPad, they don't have them at home. So, a big
part of the policy there is, how do we teach kids how to hold them, where you place them, how you use them, because some children are going to come to you, and they've got one of their own, and
they've had it for a couple of years. So, accessing policies are pretty important.
But here's where I think it gets really good, and this is where I want to ask you to go, and how many of you are online right now? Okay, those of you who are online, I'm going to give you a Website
I'd like you to go to. Those of you who are not, I'm going to ask you to write this down, because this is an amazing resource for you. To me, the thing that will really help you with your children,
and with your own work, and with Alexis' development, is the selection capability. And we're skipping that. Just like you ask students, you teach them how to begin to select books, that they think
are of good quality. You ask students to categorize them. You ask them to put them in groups. You know, when some teacher says to me, "Oh, my gosh, I can't deal with all of these tools, there are so
many applications! I'm just overwhelmed!" Have you ever heard that? I'm going, "Well, you don't say that about books!" "There are so many books..." You don't! You don't say that. "I'm just not going
to deal with them, too many books! Don't know where to begin!" Yeah, you do! And the point here, it's because there's been so much work on selectivity. You've done a lot of work on categorizing them.
want to do this, is to begin to categorize applications and tools, and we call it "tagging." So, if I'm with a group of teachers recently, and we started to come up with some tags, what's a tag? It's
grouped your applications together and tagged them. Who knows what I'm talking about? Right. So, if you were to look up here at mine, you would see one on entertainment, where I have a bunch of
teachers, I think! And Huffington Post, which I think is pretty light. So, the point here is, the person who's navigating this is me. I'm navigating, because I've begun to determine, organize and
select those applications that make sense. So, if I were to ask you as a group of teachers, we're going to set up a clearinghouse, and I want you to choose those applications you think are absolutely
terrific for making presentations, give me an example. Just call some out. Prezi. Sure! What else?
that have value. Because a Prezi is a very different tool. I use Prezi's regularly, they're great at getting attention at the beginning of a session, because they galvanize the eye towards the
center, they're unpredictable. But they're not good for sustained presentations, because of those qualities. Did you hear what I just said? I'm being literate! See? I actually like, out of F. Scott
Fitzgerald's books, This Side of Paradise the best. I'm sorry! I think Gatsby is brilliant, but that's my favorite. And if I explain why, and we discuss it, what is it? It's because we're both
readers of his literature, and we can talk about it. We shouldn't just do skimming on apps. I'd rather see you take a few, and teach kids how to use them well, and to teach them how to choose
quality. You have classical experience with this. And we're just saying, "Oh, these kids are bringing in apps all over the place." Let them submit them! Watch how. You see, all of you should have a
Now, those of you who are online, I want you to go to Curriculum21.com. It will look like this, and for those of you who don't, I'm just saying this is a remarkable treasure trove of resources that's
been compiled by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of teachers from all over the world, it's free. There's no charge. Watch where I'm going with my cursor. All eyes on the screen. If you don't see
this, you're not going to know where to go, okay, I'm really being here a good mother here, right now. Watch.
Home, and you see where it says, "Show?" Say "yes."
>> Yes.
there's 10 pages of these. And if I were saying to someone, "You know, Heidi, we don't know where to begin." But you know where to begin with the Dewey Decimal system in the library, you've worked
language, and you're saying, "Oh, my gosh, my kids just aren't at all motivated to look up words, and I use flashcards. I'm going, "Could we replace that with something?" See, to me, I want you to
use a digital tool that will motivate and take them deeper, and it'll encourage them to go again. So, what are you writing about? Oh, they're writing about leaders. Okay, so let's put in the word
"lead." Oh! Oh, yeah! And look at this!
>> Induce.
>> Oh, it's pronouncing it. Don't you hate things like that? Because, see, then they don't need you as much! Yeah, I'm sorry about that one, I really didn't mean to do that to you. So, the point here
writing is just drivel. He says, "It's so boring, I can't stand it!" And I said, "Why do you think it's so boring?" And he says, "It's a really boring assignment!" And I said, "Yeah, it is, so what
are we going to do?" And he said, "Well, let's come to the clearinghouse." Now, here's the thing he did, and I'm giving you this example for a reason. He didn't just go look at social studies,
So, he was studying the Renaissance, so he says, "I know, I'll take my kids to Italy. So, they go to Florence. And now the assignment is, you're to choose three works of art from the Uffizi Gallery
that exemplified the values, techniques, tone, material and coloration of the Renaissance, and three with the Medieval period, and while you're there, look at this. Oh my gosh, I just love this! You
can walk through the museum. You can go to any floor in the museum and go walk through and see the art. And then, while you're at it, you're going to create audio cast, just like you were a docent
walking through the Barnes Museum, which is one of the best museums in America, outside of Philly, you know what I'm talking about. And so, the kids now are making audio tape, after they've written
the script. Now, I'm going to ask you, of the two assignments, which one will they hold onto the most, which one will they be more motivated, and can I ask you something else? Do you think that's the
only museum they're going to go visit? Because I can promise you, the one thing that doesn't motivate kids is doing the questions at the end of Chapter Three! "I want more of them, mom! I want to do
another chapter and another set of questions!" They don't even read the chapter! They do hunt and peck, and try to figure it out!
So, the idea here is, we've created a clearinghouse, you're welcome to use it! Just contribute to it. I've got a bunch more things somebody sent me, that I really [INAUDIBLE] for special education,
and some of you may already be aware of this, but this was the really great one, this toolkit. Oh my gosh, it's fantastic! And it breaks down all kinds of tools for special educators. I'm more than
willing, and our team will post anything you want to submit, but here, going back to my point is, every teacher should have a clearinghouse that's been designed and shaped, and guess who else
contributes to it? Alexis! She knows things you don't! You can submit a tool to use in our unit of study. You can submit tools that help with writing, but you have to annotate it, and submit it, and
go through the process. In a way, your clearinghouse is your new library. And to show you what I mean, I'm pretty sure I can get through here, great! Mrs. Parker, here's to you, Oconee, South
Carolina, fifth grade teacher, rural school district, northwestern corner near the Georgia border. Everyone in that district has their own Web page, and it has personality, too. And so, what you'll
see is, if you look at her site, and this is Mrs. Parker, and she says I can say "Hello," and she says, "Hello" to you. You can learn all about her. And when her kids getting ready to come in the
summer, her fourth graders to be fifth graders, what does she send them? The Website. Now, I want you to look at this. Guess what this is? Yes, it's the clearinghouse. And guess who helped make it?
Alexis and her teacher.
debating on what those books are, but at least we're having the debates. And they begin to seriously consider taste and quality. Similarly, they need that with digital applications. I think all of
your students, starting at around the age of probably about eight, should be starting to design Websites using free tools, like Yola, or WIX. Weebly is very popular with early childhood, in
particular. But this is, in fact, how we begin to create and support what are contemporary learning tools and ways of expressing ourselves.
The other possibility is the capability of solving problems, and creating solutions. I'd like to see every student before they graduate create a digital portfolio of their work. This is one from Peru.
This is a young woman who wants to be a teacher. This was her senior year portfolio last year, she's now in a college, Alessandra Navarro, and what I'd like you to notice is this: Take a look at
this. In Peru, I worked there about a year and a half ago, they have competencies, like we have our Common Core, all right, and there's nine of them. So, each student upon graduation was to submit a
module that represented both their work, student projects, tests. The students have to show they've met the standards. Did you hear what I just said? Okay, let me say that again. It would be Alexis'
job to show you she's ready to graduate. Because you know who's supposed to meet the standards aren't you, it's her. Can I also say something? There's not a school district in this state, not one,
not any of us, who can improve her performance. The only person who can improve her performance is Alexis. And there's two subjects that get that, big time. The arts and athletics. She's the one
taking the basketball shots. Who's ever taught music? There's times you want to take the violin out of the kid's hands! Give it to me! Get out of here! But you don't. And the point here is, our job
is to help our kids improve their performance without us.
In fact, I'd say there's an adverb missing from the Pennsylvania Core Standards, and the Common Core Standards. I only see it in the Common Core one place, I don't see it anywhere else. If you put
this adverb at the end of every standard, it is a game-changer. It is the adverb, "independently." So, you want her to edit a sentence without you, eventually. You can add two, if you want.
"Independently eventually." But she's the one that has to balance an equation, she's the one who has to give a presentation. She's the one who has to take the shots. And you're in it together to help
this happen.
What I like about this work here, and the creation capability, is a digitally literate learner can have more control over their own learning, and monitor it themselves, too, if we'll allow them to
participate. I'd love to see some of your students start to create apps; there are app-making tools that don't require programming. What a great project, to solve a problem! You created an app for
this program. Maybe next year, you have some of your kids do it. Just an idea.
And maybe what you ought to be looking at are opportunities for students to be motivated in ways that are very exciting. Remember I told you about Twitter? I couldn't wait to show you this! This is
from Jacksonville, Florida. This, in my view, is a contemporary teacher. Her name is Silvia Tolisano. Silvia is digitally savvy, media capable, and she's globally connected. She uses Twitter with her
class. She has her Twitter account, and they found bones in the backyard of the school. They did a Twitter feed and they searched for veterinarians and schools of veterinary medicine, and they posted
the bones, and they started to get a Twitter feed from all over the world, about what they thought the bones were. And of course, they weren't to touch them, they did different camera angles. And
apparently, it's an opossum, for those of you who thought you already knew. But I'm going to ask you about research skills in science, and writing and interviewing. And the point here is, what we
want is, we can use these capabilities to be creative, as well.
actual experience. There's two capabilities that the New Zealanders talk about, and the New Zealanders are leaders in literacy, as you know, with reading recovery, and they're extraordinary in early
intervention attitude, they're amazing. And they work as teams constantly, and it's an incredible country! And if you have been there, I've had a chance to go there on a number of occasions, and I'm
interaction and critical thought, and take in meaning, okay? That's classic. What would generative be? Speech and writing. Are we clear?
Now, I'm going to add media to this, and I want you to think about this for a minute, because now we're talking about all of those rectangles! Television. Film. Your computer. A canvas in a museum.
Because it's not just what you see, it's what you don't see. Somebody mediated the experience. This is one that I have great concerns about, because I think sometimes our students haven't had enough
Brooklyn, at Brooklyn Museum. And we were walking through the Brooklyn Museum, and on the fourth floor were these incredibly adorable children sitting on the laps of their parents. And if you look at
pay attention to things, and have them go deeper. And he said, the key is to get students to slow down and notice. You know, that's what's real important, here. And I thought, that's classical!
Wouldn't you agree? That's a really good classical example.
Now, when I start to think about receptive literacy, and I think about me, here's one thing I'm concerned about, and that is, I'm afraid students take the source, the first source that pops up. Do all
quickly, and I want you to pull up a country you've never been to, but you've always wanted to go to, and I want you to just look at what pops up. I'm going to give you 30 seconds, go. Go to a
browser, I don't care if it's Safari or Chrome, it could be on your iPhone, just pull up a country you've never been to.
All right, now watch. I put in Cambodia. I have never been to Cambodia. I've worked in Vietnam, I've worked in Thailand, and a number of countries in the Southeast Asia area. I've never been to
Cambodia, I am curious about it. And, so here is what I would just like to say. How many of you found that one of the first sites that came up was Wikipedia? Yes. Because what will happen is, it'll
be usage and the number of hits. And Wikipedia, what you may or may not know, is actually a very good source now. It has been for about five or six years. The British Museum chose Wikipedia and
Wikimedia over any other group to display and archive their work. They're quite reliable. But you know what? They're an encyclopedia, basically. They democratized it. But they're not a go-to source.
They might be a get-start source.
But here is what happens, is students tend to take the first site that pops up. Who knows what I'm getting at? So my task next would be, if I were working with a group of kids, or I were working with
Fact Book. And I know who is behind that. CIA Fact Book is a terrific site; it is absolutely fantastic! But guess what? It has a bias. Hello? It has the bias and the opinion of the United States
government and the Central Intelligence Agency. In fact, its bias might look different than the State Department. What's interesting is that all sites have a bias. Isn't that true when you ask your
kids to look for information from newspapers?
So, I go through and I know what the New York Times is. Now, I don't know what the Cambodia Organization is, what is that? So, I'm going to see if I can, and I'd ask my students, I want you to see
what you can find out that's legitimate information about who is this organization? Right now, I'm not so sure about this. I'm going to have to find out. It was founded by a group of engineers in
Silicon Valley. That's looking suspect for me. How about you?
See, now, here's why I'm doing this. I don't want you to ever do this again, and I'm saying this for Alexis, and if you've done it before, is feel a little guilty and then get over it. But don't do it
again, because we've all done it, including yours truly. I see teachers very excited about having kids go to the internet, and the kid just has to turn in the link. You don't turn in any link unless
you show who is behind it and who did it. That's like saying, "Oh, here is the title of the book, we don't care who the author is." You follow?
So, what we want to do is teach our students on the most fundamental level to be better critics and more astute at media receptivity, better critics of it. I'm also very keen on having our students
watch film more studiously, in order to not only appreciate it, but to also create better-quality film. This is another site, just make a note on it. The Film Canon Project. You can also find it on
the clearinghouse. But I've developed this site, and it's filled with award-winning movies from around the world that have gone through a vetting process to help teachers on the elementary, middle
and high school level, so that you could formally study them. And by the way, a lot of them have screenplays, so your students could read a screenplay, even as they're watching a film, which is a
pretty cool thing to do with kids.
Now, here's the more important one, I think, for right now. And that's generative. If I'm in a school, and I see a group of kids making, with their flip cameras or their digital cellphones, making
little movies, I get really worried, because it isn't necessarily very good quality. And what we're looking at is better quality work, so that our students are able to generate quality products. I
NYU? I mean, I didn't. And yet, you know, I understand that. You have to have at least written a little poetry to ask kids to write some, I get that.
Here's what we did, there's a study, and it's a very interesting study, and it appeared in the new literacy series that I just published. [INAUDIBLE] and Edwards published a three-year study on what
makes quality media. And here's what they found, is that there is no rubrics out there for media projects. And when you go to find one, it's too generic. The key is, before you have your kids use a
specific tool, like what is this one? This looks to be Animoto. Does anyone know Animoto? Animoto is easy, it's great. But before you would have your kids use Animoto to make a media piece, have them
make a rubric first about what makes a quality Animoto with you. Do you see what I mean? So, it's the collaboration in advance, and the quality is fantastic after that.
Here's one on Glogster - Don't just say, "Go make a Glogster," let's look at what makes quality. And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The other thing is, we have a media sharing
tools. I think Animoto is so easy and great. Little Bird Tales is really easy, wonderful. Oh, here's a great one! ZooBurst, anybody ever use ZooBurst? It makes three-dimensional pop-up books.
But before you do it, do one yourself. Make one yourself. It doesn't have to be anything beautiful. But the point here is, you're learning these with your students, and then you can start to use more
sophisticated tools, like ScreenFlow. And I would really encourage, those of you who have any access to any tools, most of these are available on iPad or on your tablet, to just do one, just do one
VoiceThread, and you hear his voiceover, and here is what his teacher said. And this is a child who struggled a lot with speech, and it's really well done, is because he was using VoiceThread, he
wanted to practice and practice, and he could hear himself. And he saved the iterations, who sees what I mean, and he saw and heard himself get better.
See, one of the things I think media does is, it gives us immediate feedback, and allows us to improve. Or, here's some from a school in Florida, public school, and students created avatars. What was
with the Green Room, you know you can do that? And they could create really exciting pieces. I did a video recently with a principal. This is from New Haven, Connecticut. Get ready!
>> We interrupt this program with a special news report. It has been reported that animals in learning zoos have been released!
>> According to our sources, a hundred percent of animals have been let go by angry [INAUDIBLE]. Now animal survival is being put to the real test!
>> Free the animals! Free the animals! Free the animals!
>> This is where it gets good, watch this! After this!
>> Yeah, even though that tons of animals are being spotted outside of their natural habitat, and are in areas where their survival is at risk, let's check in with our very own [INAUDIBLE], who is
live on the scene with a Rank News exclusive! [INAUDIBLE], are you there?
>> Yeah!
>> Right now I am at the shoreline of the ocean. A lion has seemed to make its way over here, [INAUDIBLE]. If this carnivore inhabits the ocean, it will need special [INAUDIBLE].
>> I love the sound effects!
>> I interviewed an animal specialist and here is what she said.
>> Hello, I am the kind of the jungle!
>> Okay, you get the drift. And here's the point, I could show you. I have one from a high school, and if we had time, I am telling you, it is so hilarious, it's the best parody, it should be on SNL.
they work on it. Do you do these all the time? No. The key is the Green Room. And, you know, this is in a little school in New Haven, and the guy just got himself a big green sheet from Radio
Or, don't do it. That's it! It's a choice. I'm not saying you do it all the time, I'm saying could you maybe do one project like this in a semester, where you push yourself a little bit with your
kids, and you give them something they won't forget, but they'll also get better at certain skills. And the notion here is, we have to push ourselves to look at, where is a place that just begs for
some kind of replacement? You're not going to get rid of everything. Nobody's asking you to. But you have to come clean, I think, and say, no, I'm not really willing to do this. And you're going to
have to show how it's in her best interest.
I don't think I'm looking at a group that's resistant to this, I really don't. I think more, it's a question of figuring out the best time, and how to make it happen, and getting the support to make
it happen. And I feel that's true. There are people who are resistant. All I would say is, they just have to make a case for how it's in the kid's best interest, because no one in this room would
certain ways.
So, whether it's podcasting, or it has to do with every student creating a documentary, perhaps in an area like social studies really lends itself beautifully, a commentary piece or periodically your
students perhaps create a book, using their iPad. All of you, look at the fingers on this page. There's not a person here who could not create a book of their experience for the next three days,
using their tablet. And I think our hesitation is, we go, "Oh, I don't have time," I'm going, "Well, then just do one thing, and do it well." But you'd better make time, because this it he only time
this kid has with you! This is it!
your table who doesn't use email, raise your hand. Okay. Can I tell you that 10 years ago, there were people who didn't? You know, how many of you get what I'm saying? It's replaced things. You know,
And actually, it's the most important for American kids, because we're so isolated as a country. Geographically, we're very isolated. And our media is a hall of mirrors, because everything you see in
the media is about people either love us or hate us. That's what you see. And if I ask most high school kids in a small group, "What do you think people think of us in the world?" "Oh, they either
love us or they hate us." And somebody may ask on occasion, "I understand you travel, Dr. Jacobs, what do you think?" And I will say, "Look, I'm just one lady who travels a lot. I'm overseas probably
six, seven times a year, and I go for work. So, I do see people.
I just have to tell you, my experience is, most people in the world aren't thinking about us! None of us get up in the morning and go, "How's Paraguay? What's going on over there?" Most people in the
world are just trying to make their lives work, they have their families, their children, their lives, they're trying to do what they got to do. And yes, we are a beacon of hope for a lot of people,
that is true. For me, this is the only country I want to live in. As a woman, I am telling you, this is home, and I am glad to be in America, I really am! I'm not saying it to get applause, but I
thank you for that. No, I do. I think that was sincere. But I also have to say, there's a lot we can learn from other places. A lot. We are not the only beacon. There are other places people want to
go to, too. But we're an incredible place, and we have got our hands full. And we are a leader, and we take on a lot. But we're also one of the most isolated countries.
Okay, so here's my statistics: State Department, you can take a look. There's roughly 330 million Americans. Out of them, roughly 10 percent have active passports, so now we're down to 30 million. In
a year, pending on the year, roughly anywhere from eight to fourteen percent use them. So, here's the bottom line: Over 200 million plus, the overwhelming majority of Americans born in this country,
will never leave this country. Now, travel isn't for everybody. We've got three borders: Russia, and we are bordered by Russia. Sarah Palin was right. She took a lot of guff for that, but she was
right. It's Russia, Canada and Mexico. I have worked up on the border of Minnesota where you can see them playing hockey over in Manitoba. And people say, "Oh, we just never go to Canada," I'm going,
world has already changed. It's not like the world is going to.
If you go around the table, and we started looking at articles of clothing, how many of you know where most of them are from? More than likely China, or someplace in Southeast Asia. If we look at our
global economy, we're starting to pull up and we're starting to do better, but we're highly dependent on what happens in a place like Greece. The world is connected in a way, and what worries me on
this one is that our students are very isolated, and these four competencies come from CCSSO, the Asia Society, and there is a free book that I will show you as well, that you can download. But this
But I just want to give you a couple of Websites to look at, to help you explore these four competencies, on investigating the world, recognizing perspectives and taking action. This is the number one
I'm investigating the world and recognizing perspectives. It allows me to go to every country in the world and pull up a newspaper, and I can translate it into 30 languages. So, let us say I was very
news? Russia. That your kids could look at two very different points of view. What's also interesting, you could look at different points of view within Russia, or in the United States. And what's
exciting is that if I'm looking at taking a point of view and trying to give my kids an opportunity to expand their perspectives, I think that newspaper map is certainly one of the very best.
The other thing I'd just like to finish up with, here, and I realize our time, I had actually prepared for a little bit more time, and I apologize, it's just my misunderstanding, I think. But if
>> Yes.
devoted to helping you find partnerships with schools and projects around the world. And they're age-appropriate ones, and we post new ones all the time. There's everything from the Teddy Bear
Project around the world for kindergarten kids, it's just awesome, to one that I'm particularly fond of, which is the Out of Eden Project, sponsored by Pulitzer, I work with the Pulitzer
Organization. In fact, they have a wonderful Website, too. Paul Salopek is walking around the world, and he communicates by email with kids all over the world. It's incredible! What a great
opportunity for your kids to connect and work together!
Finally, I think every teacher in every school should at least once a year attempt to make a Skype or Google Hangout partnership. Blue Jeans is good, too, there's a bunch of new tools to connect with
another classroom in another part of the world; it could be another part of the country. It doesn't have to be overseas. Not to do, what do kids in China look like, but to do something like the
grandmother project that Alan November talked about, when the teacher in lower Manhattan, in the lower East Side, had 22 little second graders, and a little girl had arrived from India. She missed
home and cried all the time, and they were reading folk talks. She said, "I miss my grandma, she used to read me folk tales. Could we Skype with her?" And so, guess what happened? The grandmother now
reads a story to the class from the other side of the world, an Indian folk tale, and it's free. Or, don't do it. Keep reading Eric Carle. I mean, you know, what I'm saying is, there's opportunities
I thank you very much! Have a wonderful conference. Thank you! Thank you!


Opening and Welcome

Starts at 00:02

Our Essential Question

Starts at 13:16

Digital Literacy

Starts at 40:46


Starts at 49:16

Media Literacy

Starts at 1:00:04