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Our students’ digital spaces: From walled gardens to communal allotments.

April 23, 2009

allotmentHere are some of the ideas and related links that I am going to refer to in my presentation at the JASCD at YIS event on Saturday. 

I am going to talk about my Dad. Why? Well because the reason I first got to use technology was because of him. He taught me to respect computers, it is hard to think what we got so excited about now in our pre-web home computer days, but we did and it wasn’t just games, although it was mainly games for me, but not for him. He also, more importantly, is relevant to notions of digital nativeness. If this term relates to an instinctiveness around digital technology then he is far more native than me. He may only have two followers on twitter, but he can probably do more with it than I can and would definitely do a better job of explaining how it works. Ewan McIntosh writes in a more direct fashion about this topic in a post debunking myths about the connected generation. allotment-31

I am also going to talk about walled gardens and Shibuya. Why we don’t really need to distinguish so much between real and virtual dangers and responsibilities. Connected to this, I will use another horticultural analogy and talk about digital spaces that need to be nutured and tended much in the way that we were taught about plants at school by growing daffodils. I will  then return briefly to my father and talk about his failed attempts to teach me about more basic technology, namely engines and how to fix them.

allotment-22I will talk about register, language, text message language,  digispeak for example “MIR” and why although these school gardens need not have walls, they do need specific audiences to encourage rich, varied and self-conscious use of language. This aspect though is definitely a work in progress on our YIS student blogs

I will talk about digital fluency and the important of problem solving and critical thinking that technology is good at helping students uncover. 

I will then let my participants loose on the YIS English department blog amd hopefully they will write lots of comments on my students blogs and maybe even my own.

Hopefully there will be some discussion….cc


This is the motorbike I will refer to which helped me to finally learn how to fix things. The idea to put the St Andrew’s Crosses on the sides of this Belarusian Minsk 125cc motorcycle came from a Canadian of course, not that I was opposed to it. This process was all part of me taking real ownership and care of this vehicle. As far as I know the Irishman that bought the bike has kept the flags. This photo is taken at the sand dunes in south of Mui Ne in Southern Vietnam.

I will also refer to Erica McWilliam and her ideas about teachers as meddlers in the middle and unlearning.

More links I used.

Garr Reynolds: Zen presentation

Will Lion’s Images and slogans

Edublogs homepage

WordPress homepage

Digital tools map

Here are the slides I used.

View this document on Scribd
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