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New Visions of K12 Teaching

Reflection, Refraction and Representation:
The New "Three R's" for K-12 Multimedia Scholarship Teaching

Reflection
The websites developed by CASTL K-12 scholars offer several means of gaining direct access to events, tools, strategies, and materials used in teachers’ classrooms, directly reflecting classroom experience. more....
Refraction
The CASTL K-12 scholars who have developed multimedia websites have not only included their classroom materials and records of class events, but they also refract these materials through the interpretive lens of their scholarship and inquiry. more...
Representation
The websites displayed in this exhibition have taken diverse approaches to representing the scholar’s inquiry focus. In many ways, the choices they have made to represent their work interactively and visually reinforce and advance the central themes of their inquiry. more...

The development of new technologies can open the doors to the classroom and enable many people to see what goes on inside. For the most part, unfortunately, the quality and character of teaching in many schools and classrooms remains largely unexamined. In a number of settings around the country, however, K-12 teachers and their colleagues are carefully documenting what goes on in their classrooms and developing valuable new insights about teaching and learning. In a few cases, these teachers are also experimenting with new ways of using multimedia and the Internet to make those insights and knowledge – and the sounds, pictures, and teaching materials that go with them – accessible to others.

This exhibition highlights some of these initial efforts of K-12 faculty to make their teaching public. By putting their inquiries into teaching practice online and providing video clips of classroom activities and events, examples of classroom materials, and access to student work samples that reflect their classroom experience, these websites serve as mirrors that can directly reflect many aspects of classroom experience. Like an analytical lens, these websites also refract classroom experience through the interpretations and commentaries that the scholars (and sometimes their students and other colleagues) provide. At the same time, these websites also demonstrate the possibilities for developing entirely new ways to represent classroom experience. More than lists or collections of various materials, the careful arrangement, layering and juxtaposition of teaching materials, student work, classroom videos, interpretations and commentaries – like the effective organization of a book into chapters or the artful rendering of works in a gallery – can bring critical issues to viewers’ attention and encourage them to go beyond their initial impressions.

These examples show the potential for combining the functions of reflection, refraction and representation in complex, yet comprehensible and engaging works of scholarship that can greatly inform the educational conversations on K-12 teaching. The websites included have been selected from the larger collection of K-12 examples of multimedia scholarship of teaching to illustrate some of the ways that K-12 teachers are documenting, organizing and representing scholarly inquiry into their teaching practice.


Reflection

These websites illustrate several means of gaining access to events, tools, strategies, and materials used in teachers’ classrooms that directly reflect classroom experience.


Yvonne Divans Hutchinson (High School English, Los Angeles, CA) focuses particularly on sharing how she embeds her English instruction with rigorous discussion and performance opportunities for her students, establishing high standards and scaffolding to support student achievement. Her site provides direct access to her classroom materials, such as a “class scribe prompt” (along with examples of the students’ “class scribe” reports in which one student each day reads their notes on the previous day’s discussions). Hutchinson’s materials show how she bridges her students’ oral language talents and academic language achievement. Heidi Lyne (Social Science, Boston, MA) videotaped faculty planning meetings to show the development of her school’s portfolio graduation process, as well as school documents showing their mission and high standards set for the students. Audiences can follow several students through the portfolio process and look at video clips of the students’ preparation along with the documents they created and revised for their portfolio presentations. Irma Lyons (4th grade, Santa Monica, CA) collected extensive documentation of a one-day community event that her students staged to showcase their extensive knowledge of the Harlem Renaissance. The website showcases student video performances, panoramas of the “Harlem Renaissance Museum”, and teacher interactions with former students and community members attending the day’s events. The net effect is of walking into the school “Cafetorium” and being surrounded by the voices, work, and performances of Lyons’ students, as well as the audience responses of the parents, teachers, and community members who participated in the day-long event.


Refraction

The CASTL K-12 scholars who have developed multimedia websites have not only included their classroom materials and records of class events, but they also refract these materials through the interpretive lens of their scholarship and inquiry.


Joan Cone's (High School English, El Cerrito, CA) website about the challenge of student achievement in her detracked AP English class includes a “director’s cut” commentary on video clips from her classroom, so that her site visitors gain access to Cone’s own perspective on how the video clips illuminate her “essential practices” for constructing her students as achievers. Sarah Capitelli (1st/2nd grade Spanish bilingual, Oakland, CA) collaborated with her own 6 and 7 year old students to videotape their English language instructional time in the classroom and showed the video to her students so that they could collectively identify effective strategies for learning English. In her website, Capitelli illustrates her growing understanding of her students’ learning of English by showing not only the video of her students speaking English, but videos of how such video clips were examined and analyzed by Capitelli’s teacher inquiry group and by her students themselves. Emily Wolk (3rd-5th grade extracurricular class, Santa Ana, CA) chronicles how she worked with a student group of Participatory Action Researchers (PAR) to advocate for a reduction in pedestrian injuries in their neighborhood. Wolk and her PAR group collected data on traffic and pedestrian behavior, analyzed their data and presented it to their city council. On her website, Wolk juxtaposes videos of the students’ observations of what they did and what they learned with her own theoretical frame of the significance of students doing research on their communities. Her website represents her scholarly struggle to articulate the rigor and relevance of her students’ work to teachers and students in different educational contexts.


Representation

The websites displayed in this exhibition have taken diverse approaches to representing the scholar’s teaching and their inquiries. In many ways, the choices they have made in organizing and describing their materials and highlighting particular issues and concerns visually reinforce and advance the central themes of their inquiry.


Marsha Pincus (High School Drama, Philadelphia, PA) chose to have her site incorporate the dramatic elements that she emphasizes in her “Drama and Inquiry” class. The home page of the site plays off of visual elements of a “Playbill” theatrical program, and when audiences click to enter the site, they immediately can see two of Pincus’ students performing monologues that reflected moments of discord in her instruction, and the “Circle of Inquiry” that Pincus focuses on in her scholarship. The website develops and presents her notion of the “second stage:” through writing, revising, and performing their own work, Pincus’ students created an alternative space for the experimental presentation of ideas and perspectives. Interestingly, in subsequent work, Pincus has found that the “second stage,” through increased attention from the school, has become more like the “main stage,” an observation with interesting ramifications for school reform. Yvonne Divans Hutchinson’s (High School English, Los Angeles, CA) site provides a Class Anatomy of one instructional period; her site also includes a timeline navigation so that audiences of her work can see how she began the year that precedes the focus class session as well as how she built upon the work displayed in the following instructional year, in which she taught the same students. By presenting six selected videos on the first page, Hutchinson immediately draws viewer’s attention to the careful preparation and structuring she does of her class discussions – from establishing ground rules and daily routines, through the small and large groups discussions, and follow-up reflections showing her positive relationships with her students. Irma Lyons’(4th grade, Santa Monica, CA) community portrait of her classroom unit on the Harlem Renaissance is organized as a visual display of the faces and performances that constituted the majority of the “living museum” created by Lyons’ students. The site is designed to present a montage that immediately shows the diversity of people and perspectives that are central to Lyon’s approach to teaching. Within the photo montage, each picture is linked to a separate video clip, and each video clip is linked to other related clips, so that audiences can jump from one parent interview to a choice between that parent’s child performing, another parent perspective, or Lyons herself reflecting on her work with that parent and his child.
 
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