Are they Students or are they Innovators?

Lisa Schwartz is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Colorado, Boulder, working with Dr. Kris Gutierrez and a research team on the Connected Learning Research Network (CLRN). She recently completed her dissertation, “Forming a Collaborative Model for Appropriating Youth and Digital Practices for New Literacies Development with Teachers and Latino Students,” at the University of Arizona in the Department of Language, Reading & Culture. Her dissertation documents ethnographic research involving high school English teachers and predominantly Latino students who they were asked to work together to develop new ways to approach schooling and education. Schwartz was a Summer Fellow at the Research Associates Summer Institute 2011 hosted by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. She is also conducting comparative survey research (Arizona/Netherlands) on new media and youth learning networks with the Wired Up Group at Utrecht University. In the video below, Schwartz references her ethnographic research when speaking about the positive impact new media tools can have on current education models. Here are some highlights from the video (below):

I’ve always been interested in inquiry based learning and the opportunities that providing different spaces or different tools can do for expanding outside of normative ways of classroom production.

What are the connections between social affordances and identity and learning? If we do bring tools into classrooms, it has to come from that angle first, because that’s the human angle.

If you change schools to emphasize youth as creators, you are going to see different kinds of products. If you allow youth to be genre creators and not just reproducers, I think you’d see a lot of innovation.

Youth and teachers have so many creative resources that they bring to these spaces that aren’t really valued or allowed…it’s like this stop gap — you’re not supposed to bring in the digital tools that you have, you’re not supposed to bring in your interests or relationships…these are incredible resources. I think it’s more dire that we’re not allowing those resources in.

Banner image credit: America Redefined

Video production credit: Marc Bacarro