By Wendy Traas and Yvonne Dawydiak

Education Librarians were impressed by the quality of responses from students in the Unlock Library Literacy workshops in LLED 350 and LLED 360. As part of the learning activities during the workshops, teacher education students were asked to consider what questions they had about incorporating digital technology into the classroom, and how to integrate Indigenous perspectives and principles. Especially considering they were in the first few weeks of the teacher education program, the thoughtfulness demonstrated by students in response to these questions was noteworthy.

Many responses to these questions would make for great inquiry questions to explore throughout the year so we are sharing them with you here. We teamed up with Yvonne Dawydiak to think about how to move some of this learning forward. In this post we describe some of the feedback students submitted, and point to opportunities and resources to support further inquiry on the topics.

Digital Technology Integration

Working in small groups, students were asked to consider the following question as part of the Coding and Computational Thinking station:

What questions do you have about working with digital technology in the classroom?

Responses to this prompt included practical considerations of accessing and managing digital technology in the classroom, designing cross curricular connections, ensuring equitable access to technology, finding educator resources and strategies to improve knowledge of computational thinking, and how to balance engagement with distraction. A selection of student responses are listed below:

  • How can we keep students on task and not distracted by the really cool digital technology that facilitates the learning?
  • How would we integrate an activity like coding into an ELA classroom?
  • How do we make these kinds of learning opportunities more accessible for lower income school districts?
  • How do we choose what tech to invest in within budget limitations?
  • How do you incorporate full class participation when you only have access to limited devices?
  • How do we find balance between being a part of the digital world and not let it take over?
  • How to teach kids to be digitally literate and safe online?
  • How do we teach healthy relationships with an reliance on technology?
  • What are some adaptations for visually impaired students?
  • How do you work with a technology you’ve never used before? What resources do teachers use to keep up with technological advances?
  • From what age is it appropriate to introduce digital technology?

Further Learning Opportunities

Teacher Candidates will find information to support some of the above questions on the Scarfe Digital Sandbox. Resource posts include information about Assistive technologies, teaching digital citizenship, coding, multimedia creation and much more. Blog posts are more comprehensive descriptions of pedagogical approaches that might integrate digital technologies to support authentic learning opportunities. https://scarfedigitalsandbox.teach.educ.ubc.ca/

In addition to this online resource, Teacher Candidates are invited to bring their questions and ideas to some drop-in opportunities this year:

Scarfe Tea Party:
Mondays, 4:00-5:30 in Scarfe 155, Education Library
Please RSVP https://scarfedigitalsandbox.teach.educ.ubc.ca/events/event/scarfe-tea-party/

  • Create, Make Innovate: hands on STEAM activities
    Every Tuesday this Fall, 12:00 – 1:00 in the Scarfe Foyer
  • Drop in learning design: Scarfe Sandbox Support.
    Weekly topics include coding, making, multimedia creation, lesson planning foundations, hooks and activating prior knowledge
    Every Wednesday this Fall, 11:00 – 1:30 in Scarfe 1007

These events are hosted by Yvonne Dawydiak, Learning Design Manager, Teacher Education and are intended to allow opportunities for TCs to have hands on experiences to develop their understandings as well as providing time for TCs to bring their questions about any aspect of planning and preparation during their BEd year.

Another excellent Canadian source of information about digital citizenship including helping your students grapple with many of the weighty questions we saw in the Teacher Candidate’s responses to our question, can be found on the MediaSmarts website: http://mediasmarts.ca/

Incorporating Indigenous Perspectives

Working in small groups, students were asked to consider the following question as part of the Critical Literacy and Indigenous Perspectives station:

What questions do you have about selecting and integrating Indigenous perspectives and principles into the classroom?

Students raised questions about how to determine authenticity in texts, how non-Indigenous educators can respectfully teach Indigenous ways of knowing, finding local resources and information, designing appropriate activities, interdisciplinary connections, understanding protocols around knowledge sharing, and finding age-appropriate ways to engage with the legacy of colonization in Canada. A selection of student responses are listed below:

  • What are some ways we can ensure that the material we are selecting is authentic and appropriate? How can we ensure authenticity and avoid cultural appropriation?
  • How do I know when I’ve selected the right piece of literature?
  • What avenues are there for finding Indigenous voices in youth literature?
  • As non Indigenous educators, how can we be sure that Indigenous resources that we want to use in class is authentic and true? How do we approach this without overstepping boundaries?
  • How do we navigate such a politically charged subject and teach the principles respectfully, but with confidence?
  • Is it worth sharing cultural appropriation texts as a way to educate students about Indigenous people and colonization?
  • How can we be inclusive of the multiple identities that fall under the Indigenous umbrella term? How can we connect learners to their own ancestry?
  • How do we connect with the nation whose land we’re taching on and what are the protocols?
  • What consultation should we do if we want to do Indigenous projects in our classrooms?
  • Are there resources we can use to facilitate collaboration with Indigenous educators in relation to incorporating these perspectives and principles into all areas of studies?
  • How to approach difficult topics with younger children and is there an age appropriate way to discuss racism and false representation and appropriation?
  • What is the best way to integrate Indigenous perspectives and principles into STEM classes?

Further Learning Opportunities

Check out the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) website (www.fnesc.ca) , especially:

Explore the Education Library themed booklists, especially these ones:

The Education Library collection includes resources that support a number of activities, including educational research and teaching–both in the Faculty of Education and in K-12 schools. On our shelves, you will find picture books and curriculum items alongside scholarly works. Our hope is that you approach and evaluate all materials in our collection, and those you encounter in other libraries and classrooms, with a critically literate disposition.

 

What is Critical Literacy?

McNicol (2016) describes critical literacy in the following way: “critical literacy is concerned with the social and cultural contexts in which texts (including not simply written texts, but digital texts, multimedia, visual materials and so forth) are both created and read….The approach taken in critical literacy is not to read texts in isolation, but to develop an understanding of the cultural, ideological and sociolinguistic contexts in which they are created and read” (p. xi). Critical literacy requires us to go beyond what we read on the page to consider the larger narrative in which a text is situated, asking questions about who created a text and why.

Watch educator Dr. Allen Luke further discuss critical literacy, and the role of teaching in developing a critically literate approach to texts, in the following video:

The Learning Exchange. (2018). Allen Luke: Critical literacy.
Retrieved from https://thelearningexchange.ca/videos/allan-luke-critical-literacy-2/
Note that closed captions are available.

 

Indigenous Materials in the Education Library

The texts by and about Indigenous peoples in the Library collection have been added to our shelves (both physical and virtual) over the course of decades and, together, offer multiple representations of Indigenous peoples. In some cases, those representations are inauthentic, problematic, and inaccurate. Those materials remain in the collection to support current and future research but may be unsuitable for use in K-12 schools, at least without properly contextualizing and carefully considering the purpose behind their use. We encourage teacher candidates to apply a critically literate approach to selecting materials from the Library to support their teaching about Indigenous peoples, perspectives, and principles of learning, seeking authenticity in the texts they choose.

According to the First Nations Education Steering Committee (2016), authentic texts are “historical or contemporary texts that:

  • present authentic First Peoples voices (i.e., are created by First Peoples or through the substantial contributions of First Peoples);
  • depict themes and issues that are important within First Peoples cultures…;
  • incorporate First Peoples story-telling techniques and features as applicable….” (“What are Authentic First Peoples Texts?”)

To get a sense of the varying representations of Indigenous peoples found in our collection, have a look at some of the problematic titles we’ve pulled for the display. Then, compare them with the authentic alternatives. What differences do you see?

 

References

McNicol, S. (2016). Critical literacy for information professionals. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/yyoaoxoz

The Learning Exchange. (2018). Allen Luke: Critical literacy. Retrieved from https://thelearningexchange.ca/videos/allan-luke-critical-literacy-2/

First Nations Education Steering Committee. (2016). Authentic First Peoples resources k-9. Retrieved from http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/PUBLICATION-61502-updated-FNESC-Authentic-Resources-Guide-October-2016.pdf

Teaching Through Telling: The RavenSpace Publishing Project

Date and time: June 4 from 9 am – 3:30 pm

Location: UBC Education Library, 2125 Main Mall (inside Neville Scarfe Education Building)

This multimodal event showcases stories – oral, visual, and virtual storytelling on display all day! Come hear stories, and learn about how to use storytelling in the classroom. From 9-11 learn about Musqueam culture through a blend of storytelling and animation with “Musqueam Stories Transformed.” From 1:30-3, learn how to use storytelling in the classroom with a multimodal display in “Teachings for the Classroom – Connecting the BC New Curriculum to As I Remember It.”

Throughout the day, browse the exhibition of Indigenous children’s literature and take a break with some refreshments.

Speakers include:

  • Elsie Paul (lead author As I Remember It)
  • Paige Raibmon (UBC History Department and co-author of As I Remember It)
  • Liz Krieg (Aboriginal education specialist contributing to As I Remember It)
  • Dave Shott (Lantern Films producer collaborating with author groups to create animations for Musqueam Stories Transformed and As I Remember It)

https://www.congress2019.ca/

 

Where: Scarfe 155 – Education Library
When: January 24, 12:00-2:00 Drop-in

Join us in Scarfe 155 for some calming and creative activities! Unwind with some colouring, try your hand at blackout poetry, craft your own puppet, or take a picture in our green screen photo booth.


Join us to meet with the educators from MediaSmarts to find out more how to equip your students to successfully and ethically navigate the digital world. Join us to learn about essential digital literacy skills and competencies, understand the digital experiences of Canadian youth, and familiarize yourself with the resources and tools that are available through the digital literacy framework and Media Smarts web site.

When:  4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m, December 5, 2017

 

Where: Scarfe 155, Education Library, UBC

 

Please RSVP joanne.naslund@ubc.ca

First Canadian institution to provide access to this historical resource.

The University of British Columbia Archives recently assisted the Canadian Music Centre in British Columbia in the production of a short documentary film on the work of composer, ethnomusicologist, and UBC School of Music professor Elliot Weisgarber.

The film is part of CMC BC’s Legacy Composer Film Series, celebrating the first generation of Canadian composers to write Western concert music on the West Coast of Canada.  The films each honour one of five B.C. composers, in addition to Weisgarber:  Murray Adaskin, Barbara Pentland, Rudolf Komorous, and Jean Coulthard.  According to CMC BC, “Each of them contributed something unique, completely new and remarkable to the nation’s cultural mosaic, both through their body of work and the living legacy of students they inspired”.

The six-minute film, directed by John Bolton, is titled Aki-No-Hinode (Japanese for “Autumn Sunrise”), after one of Weisgarber’s short works for flute and piano.  Weisgarber’s daughter, Karen Suzanne Smithson, discovered the previously-unknown piece in her parents’ garage in 2002 while sorting through some of her father’s belongings looking for manuscripts to donate to the Archives.

Throughout the film, the sparse notes of Weisgarber’s composition, played on flute and piano, can be heard in the background, while the camera focusses on the manuscripts.  An emotional highlight is Smithson’s story of her discovery of the Aki-No-Hinode manuscript, and playing it “possibly for the first time”.

Aki-No-Hinode was shot in the Mackenzie Seminar Room in UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, with additional scenes showing the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) where the Weisgarber manuscripts are stored.  Karen Smithson and archivist Erwin Wodarczak are featured.  Smithson talks about her father and his work, his fascination with Asian music, and how as a composer he was a pioneer in incorporating Asian (in particular Japanase) influences and instrumentation into Western concert music.  Wodarczak describes how archival collections are stored and can be retrieved from the ASRS.  “There’s a story behind every document, behind every collection” like Weisgarber’s, he says, and describes how gratifying it is when such collections are entrusted to the Archives for safe-keeping.

The film had its debut at an Elliot Weisgarber celebration at the CMC BC’s Creative Hub in Vancouver in April.  It can now be viewed on-line.  The Aki-No-Hinode manuscript is one of 450 compositions by Elliot Weisgarber included in his collection, consisting of textual records and audio recordings, held in the University Archives.

The University of British Columbia Archives recently assisted the Canadian Music Centre in British Columbia in the production of a short documentary film on the work of composer, ethnomusicologist, and UBC School of Music professor Elliot Weisgarber.

The film is part of CMC BC’s Legacy Composer Film Series, celebrating the first generation of Canadian composers to write Western concert music on the West Coast of Canada.  The films each honour one of five B.C. composers, in addition to Weisgarber:  Murray Adaskin, Barbara Pentland, Rudolf Komorous, and Jean Coulthard.  According to CMC BC, “Each of them contributed something unique, completely new and remarkable to the nation’s cultural mosaic, both through their body of work and the living legacy of students they inspired”.

The six-minute film, directed by John Bolton, is titled Aki-No-Hinode (Japanese for “Autumn Sunrise”), after one of Weisgarber’s short works for flute and piano.  Weisgarber’s daughter, Karen Suzanne Smithson, discovered the previously-unknown piece in her parents’ garage in 2002 while sorting through some of her father’s belongings looking for manuscripts to donate to the Archives.

Throughout the film, the sparse notes of Weisgarber’s composition, played on flute and piano, can be heard in the background, while the camera focusses on the manuscripts.  An emotional highlight is Smithson’s story of her discovery of the Aki-No-Hinode manuscript, and playing it “possibly for the first time”.

Aki-No-Hinode was shot in the Mackenzie Seminar Room in UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, with additional scenes showing the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) where the Weisgarber manuscripts are stored.  Karen Smithson and archivist Erwin Wodarczak are featured.  Smithson talks about her father and his work, his fascination with Asian music, and how as a composer he was a pioneer in incorporating Asian (in particular Japanase) influences and instrumentation into Western concert music.  Wodarczak describes how archival collections are stored and can be retrieved from the ASRS.  “There’s a story behind every document, behind every collection” like Weisgarber’s, he says, and describes how gratifying it is when such collections are entrusted to the Archives for safe-keeping.

The film had its debut at an Elliot Weisgarber celebration at the CMC BC’s Creative Hub in Vancouver in April.  It can now be viewed on-line.  The Aki-No-Hinode manuscript is one of 450 compositions by Elliot Weisgarber included in his collection, consisting of textual records and audio recordings, held in the University Archives.

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