Sunday, February 3, 2008

Two BPS Conferences

I am excited about HOME's blog. Here is my first submission.

I have just participated at two conferences with he Boston Public Schools over the last couple days. One at Media Technology High School and the second at Northeastern University. It was great to see our small but dedicated community of school supporters, students and teachers working together, sharing ideas and picking up new energy and inspiration from each other.

It was truly great to see the students struggling to find their own voice in their work and to see some experimentation and to talk with the students who were very open, confident and aware of risk taking and learning.

One of the interesting points that was raised, was evaluation of media literacy and media projects in schools. I pointed out that we have the tools in schools to evaluate this by looking at student grades, MCAS scores, and attendance records. We recently completed a small study of our students at English High and found that their MCAS scores in language arts were 25% above their peers. We also found that, among other things, our students' attendance records in other courses improved substantially during their enrollment in our media courses. It is important to realize that not all media literacy and media projects are going to yield these kinds of results.

Renee Hobbs from Temple University pointed out in her keynote at Northeastern on Saturday, that there are differences in what some teachers and educators consider to be media literacy. She was clear that it is not enough to include media such as films, video , and the internet, in classes. The approach has to include analysis, peer and teacher support, and a learning environment that allows us to question our assumptions and encourages us to make changes based on what we are learning. A great media program is going to expect students and teachers to stretch and grow.

Both the conference at Northeastern, and the open house at the Media and Technology High School were terrific opportunities for us to see a snapshot of where we are today locally.
Let's keep the dialog going!!!

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