Ms. Donnelly Reads

"A Reader Lives a Thousand Lives" George R.R. Martin

I think a lot of what Rheingold says is still valid inside a classroom. The one topic that rang true with me was Attention. As an educator for the last 18 years, I’ve noticed a significant drop in attention rates in children. Now, I’ve never seen a class at 100% all the time, but a good 70/30 would probably make sense. Now, in a class of 20, it’s safe to say that I’m usually at 50/50. Reasons for inattention range from daydreaming to the inability to read. We are not a device driven school, our laptops are about 5 years old and show it, and the teacher technology isn’t always working, either. But, because I’m not doing handstands and cartwheels or singing and dancing (wait, I do do that in class from time to time), it’s difficult to hold their attention.

The article explains that students were so engaged with their laptops they missed the actual lecture. Kids in my district are not allowed to use their mobile devices in the classroom. I cannot begin to fathom the chaos that would ensue if they were allowed to do that. When they use classroom laptops or we take a trip to the computer lab, they’re always either: rushing through the work so they can play whatever games they can access with our network OR there are tabs open that shouldn’t be and they can switch quickly back and forth between them in case a teacher is walking by.

I really liked the three probes exercise (Rheingold, 2010).  especially the one where the other students got to “feel” what it was like to be ignored when they were trying to instruct the class. There are wonderful teachable moments here. It’s easy to ignore a teacher when you’re playing on your laptop because you think you’re the only one… Except, EVERYONE thinks they’re the only one. And my other favorite was what I call “musical laptops”! Talk about an exercise in collaboration!

It’s important to take students’ heads out of the laptops and allow them to “marinate” in the sage on the stage every once in a while. I know that education has changed exponentially in the last 20 years, but there are tried and true methods throughout the span of time that suggest at the head of things, you need an educational leader.

Rheingold, H. (n.d.). Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies. Retrieved from 21stcentury-social-media-literacies

3 thoughts on “Media Literacy

  1. Kelli Blakeslee says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I also agree that this article is still relevant today. The only thing that dated the article was the mention of Myspace. The most relatable topic for me was also Attention, which I’ve also seen drop over the years. I have a 3D printer in my classroom that runs constantly, and boy can that hold their attention. The most common question when primary students walk in is “What are you printing today?” There is too much competition in my classroom, since I have many projects in my class that the students want to look at and touch You talk about the chaos if your class was allowed to use laptops in the classroom. I can tell you there are more days than not to get students’ attention. I haven’t tried a cartwheel yet. Maybe I can come up with some magic tricks. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily Dubicki says:

    Hi Sarah ,
    I really enjoyed reading your post ! You did a nice job of reflecting on Rheingold’s three probing methods. I think the rotating laptops is one of the most interestign probs. I like the idea of as a collective being able to decide who can be on the compluters at one time. However ,in total honesty I see this falling to shambles in my classroom. I guess what I struggle wiht still is although sustained attention is beocming more of an issue I guess I am at a loss about how to go about teaching the skill and helping students learn how to build this skill. Becuase what is the longevity of these probs even at thier most effective? Thank you so much for your post I really enjoyed it!


  3. Nicole says:

    Changing perspectives and point of view can be powerful, especially for students who find it difficult to see past anything but themselves.


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