Monday, December 7, 2009

De chilldran kanst nut reed!!!

I see the merit of Bauerlein's perspective. I really do. The numbers and test scores are alarming, the lack of reading among youths is troubling, and the fact that some folks dismiss these worries so easily is puzzling to say the least. But decrying the technologies that youths have access to is not useful. While I don't agree with a lot of Prensky's work, I do acknowledge that technologies that we have today is here to stay. There is no recourse but to contend with it.

We know youths love netspeak and shortening everything under the sun. Liek, hu dun noe dis? C'est terribad. But it's here and it's a reality. My gut reaction to this is to highlight to youths that they are never alone on the internet. There is always an audience and nothing is ever private, even if they think so. Knowing that the audience is ever present, and at the same time, encouraging the flourish of prosumer identities is probably the few ways that educators can let youths realize the importance of literacy. Writing for your friends is very different than writing for a wider audience. Making a video for home use and making a video for a bigger audience has very different implications. The audience is not passive - the audience can be highly critical. Creating artifacts (texts, images, etc.)is no longer the realm of adults, it's time to acknowledge youths' diverse literacy practices and let them learn to contend with ours.

On crafts and gender

So I got involved in Diane and Charlene's gig on the Dragon Math game. I don't exactly remember how, but I remember being interested in the game aspect of it. And why not, who doesn't love designing games, even if at times, the consumers revile your design and criticize everything from start to end. When we first sat down to talk about the design, however, I was quite hesitant. Both my team members were designing for princess-type children, you know, the kind that love dresses, wands and all that jazz. As a child growing up, I loathed the idea of playing the gender game. It wasn't fun being a girl, since boys in the yard expected you to cry and whine when things don't go your way.

However, Diane posited the idea that these crafts could be an entry-point for these little girls to get into programming at a young age. I could get into that so I shook off my lack of enthuasism and dove into it. In hindsight, I think that if the girls are not involved in the creation of their costumes, they won't get that you get the nice blinky lights through programming. So, I'm still wondering about the value of our project. Perhaps getting them a simple craft kit as Diane suggests would make me more amenable to it. It is immensely fun making poofy skirts, and even the sewing wasn't terribly hard. At the end of the day however, I have more questions than I do answers.