Tread Carefully in Teen’s Social Media Spaces, Says Researcher

Teenagers haven’t left Facebook, but they’re more involved than ever in a virtual archipelago of social media spaces that educators can take advantage of—if they tread lightly, a researcher told educators on July 13.

“We need to unpack the myth … that young people are technological wizards. There certainly are some who are, but not every kid is like that. I think before we use these

spaces in the classroom, we have to think about why we’re doing it, and what we’re walking into,” said Amanda Lenhart, speaking at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus.

Lenhart, a researcher with the Data & Society Research Institute, delivered a keynote, “The Shifting Landscape of American Teens’ Social & Digital Media Use,” at the fourth annual Developing Digital Literacies Conference, hosted by the Graduate School of Education.

“If [educators] ask young people to use a social space, we want to give them options so they don’t necessarily have to have their personal space invaded by the academic and vice versa.”

She tackled topics such as the rise of the smart phone, and teens’ need for constant access, texting, relationships, and privacy.

Read the full article at Fordham News.

Get more insights from conference participants via #FordhamDLC on Twitter.


“A Salute to ‘Old Glory’ from the Eyes of a 7th Grader”

Photo via the VAntage Point blog

Joseph Pizzo is a member of the Fordham Digital Literacies Collaborative, led by Dr. Kristen Turner. He is an English teacher at Black River Middle School in Chester, NJ and an adjunct professor at Union County College and Centenary College. The following excerpt is from Joe’s guest post on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs VAntage Point blog.

Patriotism is a belief that inspires us to pay tribute to all who have sacrificed by serving our great nation.  Patriotism also recognizes the bravery both of those who have served and the families, friends, and fellow citizens who have supported the efforts of our brave men and women of the military.

As a middle school English teacher of 42 years, I have encouraged my students often to recognize the fact that it is only through the efforts of our dedicated military personnel that we are able to live in a society in which our freedom is guaranteed and defended daily.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself to recognize our military, I encourage my students to do so.  It is that encouragement that led my student Michael to author one of the finest tributes to our flag that I have ever had a student produce.

Let me explain how this poem was created.  During May of 2015, I assigned Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver to my seventh grade integrated language arts class to read.  We discussed the importance of color and the prominent place color plays for the main character Jonas.  After my students wrote their poems, I gave them the opportunity to use technology to celebrate color in a more vivid manner.  The students created online animations and a couple of iMovies.  When I saw the potential to use technology for this project, I decided to expand the use of technology on a larger scale when I would be teaching Lowry’s novel again this May.

Read the full post at the VAntage Point blog.

Learn more about digital literacy and integrating technology into the classroom at the annual Fordham DLC conference on Wednesday, July 13th.





July 13th: Developing Digital Literacies Conference

822e8-lcoutdoorpic-bmpWednesday, July 13th
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

How do digital tools affect our lives as individuals? As educators? How might we use digital tools to engage students in critical and creative thinking? How can we help students to understand technology as an aid to learning, rather than a distraction from it? Participants will explore these questions and more as they consider the impact of technology on literacy.

Featured speakers include Amanda Lenhart, Researcher with the Data & Society Research Institute, and practicing elementary, middle, and high school teachers, who will give classroom demonstrations.


8:30 Registration

9:00 Welcome and Keynote
Amanda Lenhart, “The Shifting Landscape of American Teens’ Social & Digital Media Use”

10:45 Classroom Demonstrations by Teachers

12:00 Lunch on your own in NYC (not included in cost of attendance)

1:00 Classroom Demonstrations by Teachers

3:00 Apps & Tools Share and Closing Remarks

Additional Information

  • The event will be held at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus (113 West 60th Street at Columbus Avenue)
  • Payment of $100 may be paid by credit card, purchase order, check, or money order by July 13
  • Early bird registration: $85 if payment is received by June 15
  • Fordham discount: $75 for Fordham staff, students, or alumni if payment is received by June 15
  • Professional Development Certificates Provided. NYC vendor # available

Contact Kristen Turner ( with questions.

“Why I Wouldn’t Teach Huck Finn Anymore: Course Design as a Sociopolitical Act”

Rebekah Shoaf is an adjunct professor, founding member of the Digital Literacies Collaborative, and Teacher Development Coach with the NYC Department of Education. In a post for the Writers Who Care blog, excerpted below, she writes about how her experience watching Fruitvale Station caused her to think critically about her students’ interests, and whether texts like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn aligned with those interests.

I was watching Fruitvale Station. It was July 21, 2013, a week after the George Zimmerman verdict was announced and four months after a student at my school was killed by the police in Brooklyn. As I sat there, overcome by this true story of a young Black man losing his battle against oppressive social forces, I decided that I would not—could not—assign The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in my twelfth grade English class again. That realization began to unravel the way I thought about my course as a whole, from the texts we read to what my students wrote and for whom.

Fruitvale Station is a feature film about the last day in the life of Oscar Grant III, a young Black man who was killed by a police officer in an Oakland train station on January 1, 2009. He was unarmed, handcuffed, and lying face down on the ground when he was shot in the back. At the time that I saw the film, I was an English teacher at a small public high school in New York City. Roughly ninety percent of our students were Black and/or Latino/a, more than two-thirds of them were male, and more than eighty-five percent qualified for free or reduced lunch. They could have been Oscar Grant III, Trayvon Martin, or any of the other young people of color who have been tragically killed by police officers and armed civilians. They were–quite literally–Kimani Gray.

I assigned Huck Finn several times in the ten years that I was a teacher. I thought it was a worthy text for twelfth graders to read because I believed it had a decidedly anti-racist, anti-slavery message and because it is a foundational work of American literature. My students wrote required essays comparing and contrasting the novel with other texts we studied. Everyone—they, me, parents, administrators—seemed content enough. Fruitvale Station opened my eyes.

Read the full story at the Writers Who Care blog.


Connected Reading: Navigating Print and Digital Texts

How should digital elements be approached in the English classroom? How can students learn to filter, analyze, curate, and share digital content, while making the best use of new technologies and tools, sometimes in coordination with existing print texts?

In an article from The NCTE Council Chronicle titled Teaching Teens – and Ourselves – to be Mindful, Connected Readers, Dr. Kristen Turner tackles connected reading, digital literacy, and how students can manage print and digital texts.

For their book “Connected Reading: Teaching Adolescent Readers in a Digital World“, Dr. Turner and Dr. Troy Hicks of Central Michigan University surveyed and interviewed over 800 middle- and high-school students about their reading motivations and habits. The NCTE Council Chronicle highlights their findings and recommendations, such as introducing students to tools that help them become more mindful readers.

Most students don’t know about RSS readers, for example, which let users subscribe to blogs, newspapers, or other sources and receive articles directly to their devices. They don’t curate content via aggregation tools like Flipboard, which lets you create collections of articles based on topic areas. They don’t use browser tools like Pocket and Readability, which let you easily save articles for later, offline reading.

The article also profiles teachers who practice connected reading, including Lauren King, Adolescence English MST student and member of the Fordham Digital Literacies Collaborative. Lauren teaches English at the Urban Assembly School of Design & Construction.

Last summer, she put a reading project on Twitter, posting high-interest articles that kids could read over break and comment on via tweet—which raised participation. Why? “Their reading and discussion was authentic and visibly connected to the rest of the world,” explains King.

Read the full article.

“Google Exec Urges More Innovation in the Classroom”

Jonathan Rochelle, the co-founder of Google Docs


Jonathan Rochelle, the co-founder of Google Docs, said teachers should be inspiring their students to be ready for jobs that don’t exist yet.

In his July 22 keynote speech, “You Should be Innovating,” Rochelle mixed anecdotes about his children with discussion on the creation of Google Classroom and other platforms that seek to teach innovation. He spoke at the Graduate School of Education’s second annual Developing Digital Literacies conference at the Lincoln Center campus.

Read the full story from Fordham News.

Digital Literacies Conference: Creativity, Optimism, Passion, Decisiveness, Experimentation, Collaboration, Acceptance of Failure, Communication, Research

On July 22nd, Dr. Kristen Turner and the Fordham Digital Literacies Collaborative hosted the Digital Literacies Conference.

Participants heard from keynote speaker Jonathan Rochelle, project management at Google and co-founder of Google Docs, and attended classroom demonstrations and a panel.

Read insights from conference participants below. Check out the full conversation on Twitter at #FordhamDLC.




Examining the Role of Technology in Education

Jonathan Rochelle

“Jonathan Rochelle, product manager at Google and the co-founder of Google Docs, will deliver the keynote speech at the second annual Fordham Digital Literacies Collaborative conference, to be held July 22 at the Lincoln Center campus.

“The focus of the conference will be primarily on the impact of technology on literacy, which Kristen Turner, PhD, professor of education at the Graduate School of Education, wrote about earlier this year.

“Turner, a conference organizer, noted that Rochelle, whose talk is entitled ‘You Should be Innovating,’ co-created Google Docs and Sheets, two apps that teachers use regularly in their classrooms. He is also primarily responsible for Google Apps for Education, which reaches more than 40 million educators and students, and most recently launched Google Classroom and Google Expeditions.

“‘He is passionate about K-12 education. I expect he will talk about how failure is the key to innovation and that we need to experiment in the classroom and allow kids to innovate,’ she said.”

Read the full article at Fordham News.