Josh White
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  • Raleigh, NC
  • United States
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Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Plural art and global learning in the group Global Learning, 2011
"I would most definitely categorize this learning experience as both global and pluralistic in nature. Contemporary art has largely been influenced by post-modernist philosophy resulting in a relativistic nature of the style. There exist, therefore,…"
Jun 20, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Plural art and global learning in the group Global Learning, 2011
"William,   I think you bring a valid point to the table in arguing that art might become something else when it is taken to the public arena and becomes a political statement of sorts. However, in some regards, I think Bansky is known for the…"
Jun 20, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Plural art and global learning in the group Global Learning, 2011
"Palmer,   This image immediately brings to mind the Americana and nostalgia that you mentioned in your commentary. I am automatically carried back to the roadsides of the 1950s when life was good, the war was over, and consumerism and…"
Jun 20, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Plural art and global learning in the group Global Learning, 2011
"Kelvin,   Extremely provocative image and excellent commentary on it. I would agree that this image is a critique of Christian circles and the seemingly "two-faced" nature of religious leaders. I am reminded of the character…"
Jun 20, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Plural art and global learning in the group Global Learning, 2011
"Melissa,   Very neat mural! I also see what seems to be indigenious meeting colonizers in this mural. It seems as though on the left hand side of the mural, some of the indigenious people are looking out to sea while others have a smug…"
Jun 20, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Plural art and global learning in the group Global Learning, 2011
"Alison,   Excellent image because I think it can definitely be interpreted in so many ways, thus the pluralistic nature of this assignment. I see some religious overtones to this piece. It seems almost like a conversion experience in some…"
Jun 17, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Plural art and global learning in the group Global Learning, 2011
Jun 17, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Being cosmopolitan in the group Global Learning, 2011
"Joshua Slocum was a sailor, shipbuilder, and adventurer best know for his circumnavigation of the globe in his immortal ship, The Spray, completed from 1895-1898. His biography offers some interesting notions about cosmopolitanism including ideas…"
Jun 7, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Children imagine the world in the group Global Learning, 2011
"Alison,   I thoroughly enjoyed the map that you picked to highlight where the children had written their pleas to humanity about ending injustice. You had some great captions that went along with the maps you picked. I think the idea of role…"
Jun 7, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Children imagine the world in the group Global Learning, 2011
"Melissa,   Great job on your analysis of the map done by the student from China. You explained how this student brought a certain perspective to the table (as all students do in our social studies classes) and was able to depict it. It is a…"
Jun 6, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Children imagine the world in the group Global Learning, 2011
"Kelvin, Excellent interface! I have never used Prezi before but found it to be really neat! You did a good job of relating the maps back to concepts that we have already covered in the class including pluralism, treatment of acting locally and…"
Jun 6, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Children imagine the world in the group Global Learning, 2011
"William,   Your captions/comments for the map produced by the student from Iran and the one from the child from Chile were fantastic! You did a good job interpreting those maps and offered some thought provoking ideas. I especially liked the…"
Jun 6, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Child imagine the world in the group Global Learning, 2011
"See PowerPoint of Maps/Comments Below.             The map entitled “The Earth Began to Cry in a Profound Grief” by Elena Skochkova of Russia depicts a war torn Earth in which the hands…"
Jun 5, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Pluralism, freedom, and social media in the group Global Learning, 2011
"Lanette,   Your words in this post were quite prophetic, especially when you predicted that these protests and demands for more freedom would jump from country to country. When you wrote your post, just Egypt (who has now ousted Mubarak),…"
Jun 1, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Pluralism, Social Media and Freedom - continued in the group Global Learning, 2011
"After reading through the comments made by the students in the Spring 2011 section of ECI 524, two major changes caught my eye. First and probably the most interesting, Syria was only mentioned in one post and that was in relation to its level of…"
Jun 1, 2011
Josh White replied to John Lee's discussion Pluralism, Social Media and Freedom - continued in the group Global Learning, 2011
"(Picture taken from the article “Not Over Yet” at “The Economist Online” - http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2011/05/protests_syria)             Protest pictures like…"
Jun 1, 2011

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Learn Digital History Blog

Gettysburg Address: Online, in the classroom, and In history

Gettysburg Adress from Matthew Pinsker - Google Cultural Institute.

On this sesquicentennial of the Gettysburg Address, I've been looking at online resources and thinking about how the speech is represented speech online and in the classroom. The Google Cultural Institute (http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/home) -- which aims to elevate and present important works of art, historical works and other cultural treasures --- has a very interesting online presentation of the Gettysburg Address (HERE).  The presentation, developed by Lincoln Scholar Matthew Pinsker, functions as a timeline of sorts, focusing on Lincoln's composition of the speech. As you scroll from left to right, the story of Lincoln's refections on Gettysburg unfolds, beginning July 7, 1863 and culminating on November 19. The presentation offers a long view of the Gettysburg Address that is often missing when we teach about the speech.

Another online resource I looked at today was the well traveled close reading lesson from Achieve the Core on the Gettysburg Address. While I really appreciate the rigor and clarity of this lesson, I worry that it perpetuates a short-sighted or even sort-circuited historical interpretation of the speech. This post from the Washington Post raises similar concerns. Tim Shannahan offers a useful perspective, reminding us that the Achieve lesson is an exemplar from english education and should not be confused with what might be done in a social studies class.

Problem is that the Achieve the Core lesson is being used to teach social studies.

The lesson (HERE) - download over 16,000 at this posting - presents a guide for a close reading of the speech. While the close reading aims of the lesson are laudable, it comes up short as an exemplar of disciplinary literacy. The lesson's instance on students' sticking with the text as the only source for information (hence close reading) is understandable, at least from the perspective of close reading. However, this determined focus on the text, is problematic from a disciplinary perspective.

For example, the lesson offers guidance on the following"erroneous guiding questions."

Why did the North fight the civil war? 
 Did Lincoln think that the North was going to “pass the test” that the civil war posed? 

The guidance reads.

Answering these sorts of questions require students to go outside the text, and indeed in this particular instance asking them these questions actually undermine what Lincoln is trying to say. Lincoln nowhere in the Gettysburg Address distinguishes between the North and South (or northern versus southern soldiers for that matter). Answering such questions take the student away from the actual point Lincoln is making in the text of the speech regarding equality and self-government.

Of course, no historian would pose such limitations. Such thinking is antithetical to historical inquiry. Historical are constantly on the hunt for sources - leaving no stone unturned. So, while this lesson may serve an important purpose in getting students to making meaning from the text, it is highly problematic as an historical exercise. So much so, I think it would be better to use a non-historical text for close reading exercises.

This lesson (HERE) from Gilder Lehrman makes clear the importance of context in trying to determine the historical value of the Gettysburg Address. The lesson opens by suggesting that teachers ask the following questions.

Where is he giving the address? 
What happened there?

Of course, both of those questions will require that students leave the text to build out a context around the speech toward making interpretations about the meaning and important of the speech from an historical perspective.

Both of these lessons are valuable and important, but given the current dominance of the Common Core, we have to be careful that close reading does not strip away the disciplinary literacies that make social studies the rich subject it is.

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