Igniting a Spark: 2012 New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute
Submitted by Kylie Cafiero on Mon, 07/16/2012 - 4:00pm
Teachers and administrators from North Carolina attended a collaborative institute that encouraged them to Inquire, Collaborate and Create while focusing on how literacy is changing as a result of emerging technologies. The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation hosted the New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute for a week-long experience that created challenging and engaging learning opportunities for the teachers, administrators and their future students. This year, the Institute collaborated with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction through their Impact V project, an ongoing effort to prepare teachers in 13 school systems to use emerging technologies.
“The possibilities for being innovative as a teacher are endless, and we believe that all students—not just a few—should have high quality, creative educational experiences,” said Dr. Hiller Spires, NC State University professor of literacy and technology and senior research fellow at the Friday Institute. “That’s why we chose Inquire, Collaborate and Create as the theme for the week.”
The New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute (NLI 2012), in its fifth year, featured a new dimension by adding North Carolina administrators joining the teachers in learning and collaboration. “All participants developed instructional plans for teaching with the tools and techniques they learned about during the week. School-based teams also developed plans for introducing the new literacies for their classrooms,” said Dr. John Lee, associate professor in social studies education.
“The NLI exceeded my expectations, and I feel more prepared than ever to enter the classroom as a 21st century leader,” said Travis Crowder, East Alexander Middle School English Teacher. “The highlights were the breakout sessions engaging us in a project-based inquiry process, and the Cool Tools Carousel that highlighted how to leverage Web 2.0 tools with academic content. I have sung the praises of the Institute since I returned and look forward to maintaining contact with the wonderful people at NC State.”
The Cool Tools Carousel Session had participants learn which technology tools are available for them to use and how to use them effectively and efficiently. From products like iRubric, a free assessment tool website, to the ability to create multimedia stories with an Apple application, Sock Puppets, the teachers were shown a variety of ways to teach and engage the 21st century learner.
On reflection about how this institute was different than others, Enka High School English Teacher, Susan Stanley Marino, said, “The New Literacies Institute had hands-on elements, and a balance of interaction, organization, and information. There was a ‘spark’ of fun and innovation rarely present in school system workshops.”