From digital consumption to digital invention

Cothran, T


Mirra, N., Morrell, E., & Filipiak, D. (2018). From digital consumption to digital invention: Toward a new critical theory and practice of multiliteracies. Theory into Practice, 57(1), 12-19. doi:10.1080/00405841.2017.1390336


This article was more in the theoretical realm with the stated objective of articulating “a new critical theory of multiliteracies that encompasses 4 types of digital engagement: (a) critical digital consumption, (b) critical digital production, (c) critical distribution, and (d) critical digital invention” (p. 12). However, within this paper the authors described a group of West Oakland youth who engaged in a project about gentrification. The project, also described in a City Lab article (Bliss, 2015), was created with Youth Radio. The students were frustrated with the way the media was speaking about their increasingly gentrified neighborhoods and started asking critical questions around ownership of their narrative. They created interactive maps that included live links to stories by community members ensuring that long time residents’ stories were being told along with newcomers.


Talk about a learning experience with real world implications. It hit the top of the SAMR model (something I also learned via this topic!). The premise of the academic article is that we need new critical frameworks when analyzing digital invention and, like in the instance of this student driven project, the frameworks need to be viewed through the lenses of power and cultural studies. Wow! This article packed a punch. I will continue to reflect on it for a long time.


Bliss, L. (September 28, 2015). A youth driven interactive map of rapidly changing West Oakland. CityLab. Retrieved from

A foundational article that reads like it could be written today

Cothran, T.
Wiggins, G. (1989) The futility of trying to teach everything of importance. Educational leadership. 47(3), p. 44-59. Retrieved from

Summary: Sadly, this 1989 article reads like it could be written today. Whether in 1989 it was a reflection of changing thought on our educational system or a challenge to the status quo, I’m not sure. Wiggins argues eloquently for an inquiry driven process to learning, noting that students can’t possible learn everything there is they need to know by 12th grade. Rather, it should be our job to teach them to question, to check their own assumptions, and the skills to find the answers they need to solve a problem or provide a deeper understanding to something of interest/need.

Evaluation: I think this is an insightful article. I find it a bit distressing that we haven’t moved forward in this direction more in the 30 years since it was written. This was before we saw the explosion of access to information brought about by the internet and our personal handheld devices! In Wiggins arguments, there a couple of key take-aways for me. He talks about standards and how standards should reflect a process rather than content. This makes me think about how the AALS standards are written. I’ve often reflected in my lesson designs that if you are building a strong unit, learners will access those standards throughout their learning process depending on where they are in their learning journey. That’s not to say that some won’t need to be pushed to go deeper, but it’s an argument for meeting learners where they are and helping them become stronger.

He is clearly advocating for teachers as facilitators of learning. He even calls for teachers to be an “intellectual librarian.” This makes me consider how we, as librarians, model this kind of process in our spaces. What can we do (even with our fixed schedules etc.) to engage learners when they encounter our spaces (physical or virtual).

I particularly appreciated his parallel of learning as related to sports or the performing arts. As someone with a theater background, I can honestly say that my most connected learning has come about when developing theater pieces. Depending on a show, history comes alive and I can see it and it’s importance — it’s not just a bunch of names and dates on a page. Scientific arguments and mysteries may be revealed. I question the status quo and want to know more. It’s also a collaborative learning process. If you are an actor, you are deeply immersed in the why and how of your character. A designer is immersed in creating a visual or aural world. All of these pieces come together (aka all of these people collaborate) to create something that is larger than any one of them could on their own. It reminds me of Dr. L’s advocacy for a meaningful culminating activity.

How to Makerspace.

Ward-Sell, Krista

Topic: Makerspace model

Fontichiaro, K. (Dec 1, 2016) Inventing products with design thinking, balancing structure with open-ended thinking. Teacher librarian. Retrieved from :


A good article summarizing the experience of a librarian who needed to institute a framework for makerspace design procedure. She uses the following framework in an iterative fashion. 

Identify a problem,

Research, Observe, Interview, 

Synthesize and focus



Test, Adjust, Test again


Each of the steps include a detailed description of the behaviors the author is encouraging in her students. During the Research, Identify, and interview section, for example, she describes an information inquiry that includes not only traditional research, but observation of the problem in context with users, and interviews with people who actually encounter the problem. 


Not for a scholarly audience, but a casual reader who is unfamiliar with the makerspaces will get a thorough grounding in the topic and a workable model for how to run a makerspace. Fontichiaro writes about her experiences in an engaging way, sharing about how her students were trying to build a bridge and not making any progress. “Building a bridge to nowhere.” My experience with kids working in a makerspace has taught me that the ideal of a self directed space where kids direct their own learning is unworkable without some structure. They do need a framework to explore within to help them focus their ideas. This model serves very well in that capacity.

ESSA implementation across different states.

Ward-Sell, Krista,

Topic: ESSA

Darling-Hammond, L. Soung, B. Channa, M. Cook, H. Lam L., Mercer, C. Podolsky, A. and Stosich, E.L.  Pathways to New Accountability Through the Every Student Succeeds Act (Palo Alto: Learning Policy Institute, 2016). Retrieved from


A report on the proper implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which places an emphasis on local control of accountability in three areas. Deep learning, “Professionally skilled and committed educators, Adequate and appropriate resources that enable and support the first two pillars.” The emphasis being on continual rounds of improvement. This report documents the structure that multiple states have put into effect, highlighting some of the best strategies for compliance.  The part of this report that specifically concerns us as librarians is the third pillar, the adequate and appropriate supports. While the report categorizes most of the support coming from counsellors and social workers. There is a part to play here for librarians, both in the instructional and the support columns. 


I sit on the California program committee for my school site and have done for the last three years, I will most likely continue to sit on it for the next year. This local control group has input into how to fix the problems sourced from local stakeholders. Getting the ear of members of the LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Program) or sitting in on these meetings can be very helpful in the struggle to fight for more of the resources your library program needs. The description of this program and the contrast this report gives to other state’s plans for accountability is interesting. This report is worth reading for anyone who wants to know more about how different states meet the accountability requirements set out by ESSA.

Universal Design and the Arts

Ward-Sell, Krista

Topic, Collaboration

Glass, D., Meyer, A., & Rose, D. (2013). Universal Design for Learning and the arts. Harvard Educational Review, 83(1), 98-119


Glass, Meyer and Rose make an argument in this article that the arts should be integrated into classrooms. The overarching framework is the idea of Universal Design for Learning, which is a transitional framework, hoping to move student engagement in new directions that take into account different learning styles, offer a methodology for teachers to follow to deliver multiple modalities to reach a wider student audience and encourage engagement with the material. UDL focuses on the why, what and how of teaching and learning. 

The authors assert that not every student can be engaged in the same way, being unique, changeable individuals.  Ultimately, to reach more students, one must have a flexible approach to teaching. Specifically they present the case that co-teaching the arts in the classroom presents a unique and highly exploitable opportunity to engage students in new ways. Given that the Arts are becoming increasingly marginalized in our school systems, Co-teaching opportunities with arts teachers, who may, it is argued by the authors, have more experience in engaging students of all different learning styles and abilities should not be missed. 


I was particularly inspired by the author’s acknowledgement that while variability in ability and cognitive style results in frustratingly different student populations, this matrix of difference is roughly predictable, and when understood properly, can be planned for. I was often the outlier, as a child, this philosophy would have helped me immeasurably, especially in math. Visuals would have been helpful, but the teaching materials from the mid 1980’s were still heavily focused on rote memorization. How wonderful it would have been to have music incorporated in a math lesson, or painting, photography, or sculpture, origami?  While UDL is so much more than this specific example, anyone looking for a method to engage a student that is constantly daydream-drawing in her notebook and not paying attention, this is an article for you.

“Librarying” outside the library

Posted by: Ellis, Ruth, CO

Caladaza, B. (2019). “Librarying” outside the library. Knowledge Quest, 47(4), 36–43. Retrieved from

In this article, Caladaza (2019) highlights programming successes from her area that come from libraries working with subject teachers outside of the library (p. 38). For example, she discusses classroom activities created with the input of subject teachers with the librarians to enhance the curriculum: scavenger hunts for a research capstone class, Dia de los Muertos events in foreign language classrooms, constitutional amendment activities in government, etc. (Caladaza, 2019, p. 38). She describes several of these events, including author visits and a reading contest. The programs she describes range from co-teaching to collaborating with community members to hosting state competitions.  I thought this article was an interesting discussion of the ways that a teacher librarian can collaborate with other stakeholders in a school’s community. While I might have wanted to read more of the key details in how she and her team accomplish this, I do think this article is a great example of how a librarian can develop the role similar to the ways we’ve been discussing in class.

Co-teaching in Higher Education

Richers, Katherine


Lock, J., Clancy, T., Lisella, R., Rosenau, P., Ferreira, C., & Rainsbury, J. (2016). The lived experiences of instructors co-teaching in higher education. Brock Education: A Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 26(1), 22-35. doi: 10.26522/brocked.v26i1.482

Click to access EJ1148312.pdf

 According to the authors’ findings, coteaching can be beneficial to students and teachers alike. Their study focused on a Nurse as educator course, and they interviewed students and instructors. They chose to discuss the results from the instructor interviews.  Overall, the authors discuss some valuable insights about the relationships established by instructors when coteaching.

This was one of my favorite articles for Project 1. The authors focused on co-teaching in higher education; I’ve tutored at the freshman and community college level. At the time of publication (2016) research in co-teaching in higher ed tend to focus on reflections from faculty. I’m getting the impression there isn’t much research on this subject. I did not find much in my original search. I might have to conduct a survey on how prevalent co-teaching is in American universities.

Topic: Fake News and Media Literacy Program

posted by: Maday, Connie – ID

Perez, Sarah. Google’s new media literacy program teaches kids how to spot disinformation and fake news.  Tech Crunch.


This article discusses a recent announcement from Google that it is expanding the digital safety curriculum to include media literacy.  The new “Internet Code of Awesome” covers key elements to internet safety and media literacy that is necessary in today’s world.  It includes teaching students to share mindfully, not fall for fake news, making sure to be safe with internet use, using kindness when on the internet, and always making sure to talk to an adult if there are questions or think that they are uncomfortable about. 

The listed key points in the article include:

Five fundamental topics of digital citizenship and safety form the Internet Code of Awesome:

• Share with Care (Be Internet Smart)

• Don’t Fall for Fake (Be Internet Alert)

• Secure Your Secrets (Be Internet Strong)

• It’s Cool to Be Kind (Be Internet Kind)

• When in Doubt, Talk It Out (Be Internet Brave). 

The article also discusses related classroom activities that teach students how phishing words, how to check credible sources, and spotting deceptive URLs.  The goal of the course is to “encourage kids to make checking all news and information a habit- not just those they think seem suspicious.”


This short article provides helpful links that show that can be used for reference when gathering lesson ideas for “fake news” and working on media literacy.

A Vision of What Collaboration Looks Like

Smith, Chloe


D’Orio, W. (2019). Powerful partnerships. School Library Journal 65(1), 24–27. Retrieved from:

Summary: This article from School Library Journal discusses collaboration strategies for teacher librarians/media specialists and classroom teachers. It acknowledges the challenges involved, particularly around scheduling and time commitments, but also emphasizes the value of collaboration. Librarians can build strong relationships with their colleagues and raise the library’s profile within the school and–even more importantly–students can benefit from the insights and creativity of multiple staff members working together. The article points out that library staff need to actively pursue these partnerships, reaching out to classroom teachers, making sure that projects are aligned with learning goals, and following through so that projects see completion.

Beyond these tips, the article spends most of its length discussing successful examples of long-term, collaborative learning projects in different school settings. Teacher librarians and classroom teachers worked together to create units for 7th graders to explore the the complex interrelations of systems in the human body or to support kindergartners working together to create a machine that can paint. These and other examples show that collaborations in the library setting enabled student inquiry and design thinking. These learning projects pushed students to explore, take ownership of their work, and use tech solutions to create new things.

Evaluation: I really appreciated the specific examples in this article. The strategies and tips for librarians and teachers weren’t anything I hadn’t seen addressed in more detail in other sources, but the descriptions of successful projects were really inspiring. It showed the breadth of possible successful projects that collaboration can make possible.

Collaboration and Co-teaching – Nicole Walker

Smith, N. (2017, August 16). Balancing Teacher Autonomy and Collaboration. Retrieved from

Summary: This relatively recent article published by Smith is all about how to balance co-teaching and collaboration in a teaching environment with teacher autonomy. It attempts to answer the question: how can we collaborate while also allowing teachers time to plan and reflect for themselves? It discusses the reasons why allowing teachers to work alone occasionally is also incredibly important, and is just as important as collaborating with other teachers and school staff members, such as librarians. It also provides feedback for administrators and those running professional learning communities on how to get the most effective collaboration among teachers without creating burn-out or diminishing their autonomy in their classrooms.

Evaluation: While a highly opinionated article, this article really resonated in the way it described reflection and independence as integral parts to the learning process. It discusses in a candid way how finding a balance between expertise and working together can be difficult, but it also provides ways to manifest healthy, collaborative relationships in schools for both teachers, staff, and administrators, and outlines the clear benefits for all involved – from teachers to students. It also links other articles that are relevant on the topic, making it an information rich piece of literature that can be a very valuable resource for anyone who is a teacher or is working and collaborating regularly with teachers. Overall, I found it very helpful for my own project and learning, and felt that despite its apparent biases, it was valuable and worthy of being shared.