Reading Response #7 : Opting for Change
- Nilsson (2010): Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality
- Jody Rosen and Maura Smale: Open Digital Pedagogy = Critical Pedagogy
- Audrey Watters: Openness and Ownership: Who Owns School Work?
- Opting Back In: The Influence of Time at Home on Professional Women’s Career Redirection after Opting Out
The research paper, Nilsson (2010): Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality, clearly identified two ways literacy can be defined. The first is simply the act of reading and writing and the second is taking materials and making meaning and associations, drawing conclusions, and connecting text to reality. These distinctions are important in consideration of what we have been learning and creating in digital storytelling and the value of this work. The first definition describes what is currently wrong with our education system, the rote learning, the standardized tests, and the focus on particular skills without knowing or seeing a larger picture. The second definition has the ability to open up worlds in education. It’s learning deeper and more complex with social knowledge, cultural understanding, and creative focus. This shift moves away from a teacher centered classroom to where the student takes charge of his or her learning, interests are explored and skills are learned as a part of a bigger whole.
Nilsson’s study involved a nine-year-old student, with learning difficulties, who used digital storytelling to grow academically, emotionally and intellectually. It is a perfect example of the shift needed away from our current education systems to one with more of the pulling-in approach and intellectual/skill expansion. This student gained his voice in creating multimodal storytelling with the support of his teachers and in collaboration with other students. This couldn’t be a better example of the reasons for learning the particular skills and theory we are in this class.
Another way to move along this educational change is for open pedagogy, which can be described in Open Digital Pedagogy = Critical Pedagogy by Jody Rosen and Maura Smale. Once again, there is a call for students to become more empowered and invested in their education and not subjugated to a curriculum that is pushed upon them. With open tools and platforms, students can construct their own knowledge, have space for reflection and experience productive dialogues with others. Students end up doing work not just to fill a requirement or go through the motions but to engage, produce, inspire and create with intrinsic motivation.
I am opting for change, not just in education but also in my professional life as an educator. I have found a research study and paper that perfectly describes where I am in my life and my desire for work-life balance (my focal theme). Opting Back In: The Influence of Time at Home on Professional Women’s Career Redirection after Opting Out by Meg Lovejoy and Pamela Stone speaks about the a group of people in the “Opt -Out Revolution”. The “Opt-Out Revolution” occurred (and still occurs) when a large group of college-educated, married women in professional carriers left their jobs to become stay at home moms. These women left their positions out of necessity when their careers became less than family friendly, even as the media deemed it a choice, creating a negative stigma. I am one of these people. In this research paper and in reality, it is a problem that our society does not value children, family life, and care-taking as it should, which in turn can make working mothers lose their career track. This research involved 54 stay at home mothers who left their careers to take care of children/households and to take part in the community. Now, like me, they want to opt-back-in but find stigma, skill depreciation, ageism and lack of confidence holding them back. According to this paper, there is a huge penalty for opting out in income and advancement. 93% of women in this study wanted to opt back in but only 73% were successful with 30% less in earnings. Because of this, most women in this study wanted to change their career path now that they have spent time at home and their priorities have changed from work to family. I plan to do the same, hopefully going from classroom teaching to instructional design or development. I don’t know what my life will look like next month after I graduate from this Master’s degree program but hope that eventually there will be a healthy work-life balance for my family. Like the authors of this study, I want the work world to have more flexible work schedules for families, care-work valued and public and private support for family-work life.