Why Bother with IML?

One question that arises often is simply why bother? Why bother to spend time learning technology? Why bother taking time away from learning PLO’s to learn technology? Why bother teaching something that is not in a PLO?

The answers are really simple –

1. It is required by the British Columbia Ministry of Education. This means that to teach reading and writing, digital must be included. It is malpractice to not include technology.

The term “text” is used to describe oral, visual, or written language forms including electronic media. … The expanded definition of text acknowledges the diverse range of materials with which we interact and from which we construct meaning
(http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/pdfs/english_language_arts/2006ela_k7.pdf Accessed Aug 8, 2013)

2. It is required for students to be literate in today’s society and shutting off one form of communication with my daughter.
My 13 year old daughter may send 80 texts in a day. It is a form of communication. If I am not able to use a cell phone, read a text, and respond to a text, I am illiterate for today’s society.

Based on UNESCO – “Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy (Accessed August 8, 2013)

While using a term like malpractice is strongly wording it, sometimes it takes provoking to create a dissonance with the status quo and what needs to happen.

We can’t wait for students to be X years old before starting with Information and Media Literacy. Traditional literacy shows a slump at Grade 4 because the language of learning changes. Students may be good readers for pleasure, but not understand how to read to learn. In the same way that we need to start teaching academic or reading to learn before Grade 4, we need to have a learning path for Information and Media Literacy.

James Paul Gee explains the Fourth Grade Slump. Although from 2008, very applicable to learning today.

Students of today and tomorrow live in an increasingly digital world. Not only is it important to learn how to read words, it is important to learn to read images and other media through digital delivery.
According to Marzano (2003), the School-Level Factors Impacting Student Achievement include:
1. Guaranteed and viable curriculum
2. Challenging goals and effective feedback
3. Parental and community involvement
4. Safe and orderly environment
5. Collegiality and professionalism (p. 15)
Challenging goals and effective feedback can increase student achievement between 18% and 41% (Marzano, 2003). Although the performance standards are not a curriculum, the IML assessment tools can act to support School-Level Factors 1 and 2 listed above.
The Surrey School District has developed the IML student learning capacities as a grade-leveled continuum. Clear IML student learning capacities serve as an overall benchmark to check and inform whether the diverse needs of learners are being met.

IML Capacities are a critical tool to highlight the need for and support the change to classrooms that better meet the needs of our learners. All members of our learning community and its stakeholders need to be involved in supporting IML in the Surrey School District. Students, teachers, parents, staff and administrators need to be familiar with the capacities, the assessment of the capacities and growing capacity.

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