The Program at Science Leadership Academy

The film was very interesting to watch because it tackles one of the popular fears most people have about digital media; that it affects reading, writing, and literacy in general. But in fact, when students take advantage of digital media, they are “reading and writing more than they ever did but they’re just not doing the type of reading where you sit in your bedroom by yourself reading a novel” one professor says. Also, Nicole Pinkard, who is the founder of Chicago’s Digital Youth Network, argues that the outcomes of digital media are “built on traditional literacy”; if students want to become graphic designers, first they’ll have to learn about shapes, and if they want to become film makers, they will need to write scripts. Most importantly, digital media allows students to take responsibility of their own learning by using their interests, research, inquiry, imagination and creativity, and team work as the basis of it.

I think that the program at Science Leadership Academy truly embraces the learners of the 21st century through their advocacy of digital learning. As one SLA teacher says “the digital media and social networking is just so ingrained in this next generation of kids that it had to be incorporated. Ignoring it is just being irresponsible as an educator because it’s such a powerful tool”. Indeed, when students get the chance to produce a product or content using digital media, they are exposing that product to a much bigger audience, rather than giving a paper to a teacher and receiving feedback that they wouldn’t normally share with others. Therefore, the goal of using digital media at SLA is to allow students to put all of their efforts and hard work into their project because it will be viewed by so many people, and it is they who will give feedback to motivate them to push forward. Digital media is also helpful for those who are quiet in class by giving their voices a boost through their postings in forums and chat rooms, and therefore, everybody gets the chance to let their voice be heard.

I believe that even though the learning goals are the same for an age group, the students are ought to be given an array of options to show their learning outcomes based on each student’s unique skill and interest. That’s why at the SLA, students are given the same learning goals and same project summary but different options to produce them depending on their skills. For example, verbal students can create podcasts, while others who are artistic can create digitized sketches. Therefore, digital learning allows students to take responsibility of their own learning based on their interest, and gives them a lifelong learning because of the huge amount of information they receive throughout the process of doing their projects whether from their researching, collaborating with peers, receiving feedback, and reading the conversations of everyone in class through forums.

If technology in education will grant students the ownership of their learning, then that is the ultimate goal and benefit anyone would hope to receive from getting an education.

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One thought on “The Program at Science Leadership Academy

  1. Danya, I really enjoyed reading your post! You brought up a lot of interesting ideas! I especially responded to your comment that students should be given options to demonstrate their knowledge even if they are all expected to work toward the same learning goals. I think this is so important because it recognizes the individuality of each learner. One of the really exciting things about integrating technology in the classroom is that it opens up so many opportunities for customized learning experiences and it also provides a wealth of options for students – just as you mentioned – to create products that demonstrate their knowledge and skills in ways that are engaging and meaningful to them. I like how you put it in your final sentence: “If technology in education will grant students the ownership of their learning, then that is the ultimate goal…” I think that is a really great point that highlights the important role technology can play in allowing students to make choices about their learning experiences so they will indeed take greater responsibility for their own learning — an important responsibility that students will certainly carry with them beyond their elementary years.

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