Cheryl Rosaen (MSU) and Marjorie Terpstra (Calvin College), Project Directors
In the Exploring New Literacies in Teacher Education Project we investigated whether and how two cohorts of teacher candidates’ conceptions of effective literacy instruction and ideas about teaching new literacies in the classroom evolved during one semester (spring, 2009; spring, 2010) as they engaged in an Exploring New Literacies Project in a senior-level literacy methods course. Web 2.0 environments that enable blogging, public video posting, and web authoring through wikis and online software emphasize our two-way relationship with technology. An expanding and ever-changing conception of literacy requires strategic knowledge in new literacies and an understanding of the social nature of learning, and it shifts the role of teacher from knowledgeable expert to co-learner with students (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro & Cammack, 2004). Therefore, today’s teacher educators must prepare teacher candidates to help their students develop the literacies needed to use existing and future technologies (Buckingham, 2006; Kymes, 2005; Reinking, Labbo & McKenna, 2000). During the course, the teacher candidates learned about new literacies through course readings and their own research, used a technology that was new to them to teach their colleagues about a new literacy, and kept notes on their learning. They created and updated concept maps representing their ideas about effective literacy instruction and wrote a final reflection on their learning. They also created a new literacies lesson plan. We examined how teacher candidates’ conceptions of new literacies and their connections to classroom practice evolved over time, and how our own evolving conception of new literacies influenced ways the project was conceptualized, structured, and supported. The candidates’ learning experiences seemed powerful enough to help them expand their conceptions of literacy, including digital literacy, and most were able to talk broadly about implications for classroom teaching and learning. However, many were not able to fully integrate technology and new literacies in their planning. We conclude with suggestions for improving the project and directions for future research, and invite dialogue among teacher educators about their own pedagogical challenges and promising approaches to designing authentic learning opportunities.
- Rosaen, C. L. & Terpstra, M. (forthcoming). Widening worlds: Understanding and teaching new literacies. Studying Teacher Education, 8 (1).