All Blog Posts (1,138)

NLC Activities




Technology Enriched Instruction workshop, Wuhan,…


Added by John Lee on March 15, 2014 at 10:29am — No Comments

Lincoln Telegrams on Twitter

Check out our newest digital history project on Twitter. We are tweeting telegram messages Lincoln sent 150 years later at - join @LincolnTelegrams…


Added by John Lee on March 15, 2014 at 9:30am — No Comments

Producing Content

In my Intro to Mass Media course I was talking about blogging. After class one of my students from Italy told me he wrote an English language movie review blog. The next class session I asked him to share it with his peers. The quality of his writing is impressive.This conversation provided the perfect opportunity to show the class that they can start building a digital body of work online. While this particular student's emphasis was on entertainment, options exist for all kinds of content…


Added by William G Covington Jr PhD on October 31, 2013 at 4:10pm — No Comments

Framing and Shot Composition

As literacy broadened to include photojournalism and moving images, the importance of being able to detect subtle meanings created by photographers and video journalists began to take on increased importance. While text still dominates, the ability to apply media literacy skills to visual images is more important than ever. Recently in a media ethics class two students selected this topic to research. A news event can literally be framed in such a way that its meaning is determined largely…


Added by William G Covington Jr PhD on September 29, 2013 at 11:25pm — No Comments

Visual literacies and the depiction of war

NOTE: This is the anchor post for a series of four posts on digital history and the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The other posts are about Timothy O'Sullivan, Alfred Waud, Gettysburg, Memory  ---  using historical illustrations to teach about the Civil…


Added by John Lee on August 8, 2013 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Flexibility is Key

Reading a book by R. T. Kendall caused me to realize how essential maintaining flexibility is as the digital age emerges with ever-increasing ways of connecting with students. Since we are preparing students for jobs that do not yet exist, helping them apply existing skills in new contexts enables them to pursue unorthodox thought. Encouraging "aha moments" experientially helps perserve an atmosphere of constant discovery. Interactivity enables students to create their own futures in…


Added by William G Covington Jr PhD on July 17, 2013 at 5:55pm — No Comments

Easy Bib Blog article

Easy Bib Blog article

Recent blog posting about me and my high school library.

I think the author does a good job of summarizing what I do every day.

Added by Hope Hall on July 11, 2013 at 1:02pm — No Comments

Social Media's Journalistic Role

As the media in the United States becomes increasingly centralized and further removed from the general public, the role of social media fills the gap once held by responsible journalists. Fortunately the Internet still provdes for the widespread dissemination of ideas without huge investments. Individuals have a forum whereby gatekeepers cannot restrict what is conveyed.

It's sad that journalists in this country are becoming more like those in developing nations. The Daily…


Added by William G Covington Jr PhD on June 22, 2013 at 5:40pm — No Comments

Structural Changes Alter Media Use

Digital technology has not only changed the way people consume media content, it has brought structural changes with it. Cherry-picking content for that which is most pertinent to the individual and responding immediately with little or no editing is the landscape of mediated communication in the early 21st century.People who produce content professionally, whether educators, journalists, or those in the entertainment industry operate in this evolving, highly interactive…


Added by William G Covington Jr PhD on May 30, 2013 at 6:31pm — No Comments

New Literacies Spring Symposium 2013

Lets continue our discussion after the New Literacies Spring Symposium which was held on April 17, 2013 at the Friday Institute.

The symposium focused on implications of NC Read to Achieve for educators and children.…


Added by Hiller Spires on April 15, 2013 at 12:54pm — 4 Comments

Teaching Intellectual Property Rights

I'm making this post while attending "Assessment Boot Camp" at the Broadcast Education Association convention in Las Vegas. William Christ, who has published extensively on the subject confessed he had a love/hate relationship with the idea. Having made that disclaimer, he went on to say assessment is inevitable and being proactive is a better option than being reactive.

Mark Tolstedt of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point made a pertinent point on how to teach intellectual…


Added by William G Covington Jr PhD on April 10, 2013 at 2:15pm — No Comments

Storytelling and Truth

Media writers and producers are storytellers whether they're crafting a story for a newscast or developing a plot for a thirty second commercial. The complexities of life don't always lend themselves to neat media packaging. Patterson and Wilkins (2014) elaborate on a concept introduced by Gurevitch, Levy and Roeh called domesticating the foreign, which is a process where American journalists oversimplify complicated international stories for the sake of obtaining and sustaining the…


Added by William G Covington Jr PhD on March 29, 2013 at 1:04am — No Comments

"...Who would ever do that...?! "

"...Who would ever do that...?! "


Added by Baltazzi Phebe on October 14, 2012 at 11:33am — No Comments

MA New Literacies Institute

The Massachusetts New Literacies Institute successfully complete the first non-grant funded conference. Sixty-three educators attended the week long Institute July 30-August 3 with three follow-up session in Oct, Nov, and Dec. 

The Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative managed and funded the Institute and would like to thank the New Literacies Collaborative for…


Added by Jim Walker on August 21, 2012 at 10:06am — 1 Comment

An initiative of great value....!

Classroom on the water, by Marc Ozburn

In my first attempts to learn my native language Greek, having returned in Greece in1993, sometime after I decided  to go study in such a school, a maritime school, graduating as a second lieutenant (in the Navy).  Watching this video, I surely can know by first hand, the quality offered to these students!  They are VERY LUCKY!  Although, I graduated with the second…


Added by Baltazzi Phebe on August 6, 2012 at 12:56pm — No Comments

Cosmopolitan Interview

Cosmopolitan Interview with Indiana Jones

Click here to view interview- Indian Jones Interview

Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr: Archaeologist, College Professor, Soldier& Spy. Particularly notable facets of Indiana include his iconic look: wearing a bullwhip, fedora, and leather jacket, sense of humor, deep knowledge of many…


Added by James Henry Parker IV on August 2, 2012 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Making literature global

As a result of growing interest in developing global leaders, teachers across the nation and world are seeking new ways of embracing a globally oriented way of teaching. So what does this mean for literature teachers? Does reading literature from different parts of the world constitute global learning? If not, what exactly makes a piece of literature “global”?

Global literature is literature that gives voice to different ways of thinking, that exposes other customs, that…


Added by Justin Carrington on July 30, 2012 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Creating a Healthy Global Learning Community

In order for a healthy global learning community to be created, the inhabitants of that community must first be educated on global learning. Taking from the theories and philosophies of many educated scholars, I define global learning as the exploration of cultures different from ones’ own in an effort to increase knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and values of said cultures to promote a sense of cross-cultural interconnectedness. A global learning community is a culturally rich…


Added by Ashley Cooper on July 29, 2012 at 10:17pm — No Comments

Can children really relate to each other when they live thousands of miles apart?

Can children really relate to each other when they live thousands of miles apart? So many people question whether young elementary age children are truly capable of global learning or making connections with people half way around the world. However, much evidence has shown that children not only can make global connections, but it often leads to the development of more successful citizens.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is a famous quote by the Chinese…


Added by Brittney Cummings on July 29, 2012 at 11:17am — No Comments

A Creative Synthesis: Can cross-cultural experiences not be authentic?

My synthesis begins with the definition, set forth by Merriam-Webster, for authentic. For this inquiry, it means that cross cultural experiences must be truth and more than an imitation. Keeping this in mind during my research, I began with a website developed to exhibit global learning education strategies to educators. One global experience is described by Klein in an article title Fostering Global Grit, as connecting with a culture through emerging students into the everyday life of an…


Added by Liz Milly on July 28, 2012 at 4:54pm — No Comments

Blog Topics by Tags

Monthly Archives









NLC Salon

You can follow us on Twitter at newlit. Post your tweet to @newlit.
Media Musings: Record and upload your musings about new literacies on our You Tube Channel NLC on You Tube Ning Networking: Share your ideas about new literacies on our Ning NLC Blogs NLC Forum

New Literacies Institute

New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute 2010 in Cambridge, MA. See work from the Institute wiki at

Also see our archived NLI from 2009 at The New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute 2009 Check out the NLI on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube

NLC on Facebook

The New Literacies Collaborative is now on Facebook


The New Literacies Collaborative (NLC) is a multidisciplinary team of scholars and educators who promote teaching, learning, research, professional development, and global connections around new literacies. New literacies emerge from the theoretical and practical intersection of literacy, evolving technologies, and media.

Learn Digital History Blog

Teaching about Historical Reconstructions using the Vail Telegraph Key

The reconstruction of historical inventions can provide a powerful context for students to explore how inventions affect society. In fact, the social impact of the invention of the telegraph ripples through to today. It set the stage for the invention of other communications technologies such as radio, television, and the Internet. The ability to send messages across wires in a fraction of the time humans were accustomed had a profound impact on society. Rossiter Johnson captured the spirit of that change in an 1882 poem written in tribute Morse and the telegraph. The poem describes limits of humans imposed by nature, but imagines that with the invention of the telegraph those limitations begin to fade away.

But one morning he made him a slender wire,
  As an artist’s vision took life and form,
While he drew from heaven the strange fierce fire
  That reddens the edge of the midnight storm;
And he carried it over the Mountain’s crest,
And dropped it into the Ocean’s breast;
And Science proclaimed, from shore to shore,
That Time and Space ruled man no more.

Students often have myopic views about how technologies impact their own lives. While it is true that students today seem to live in a constant state of ‘revolution’ regarding new technologies, an understanding of history can temper our enthusiasms. By studying records and relics from the past, such as Johnson’s poem, students can build up a long view of technological innovation and understand how the telegraph fits in that history.

Students can also use these experiences to explore important historical skills related to cause and effect. A reconstruction of the Vail telegraph key provides students with an opportunity to examine the development of scientific knowledge and challenge the narrowly constructed textbook history of the telegraph.

The history of the telegraph is typically transmitted to students as a neat and tidy story about Samuel Morse and the 1844 transmission from Baltimore to Washington DC of the message “What hath God wrought?” But, history is never so simple. Behind the story of Morse is the complex history of the invention of the telegraph, and that story is impossible to tell with Alfred Vail.

A social studies activity exploring this complicated history might begin with the simple question – Who was on the other end of the message sent by Samuel Morse on May 24, 1844? Of course, it was Alfred Vail. From there, students might explore Vail’s 1845 book length survey of the history of the telegraph, The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph: With the Reports of Congress, and a Description of all Telegraphs Known, Employing Electricity or Galvanism.  The book, which has three parts, includes a detailed description of the telegraph system developed by Vail and Morse; letters, reports, and other correspondences about the development of the telegraph system; and a contemporary history of the telegraph. Students can analyze this source to develop questions for inquiry about the development of the telegraph in the 1830s and 1840s.

From Hathi trust and Harvard Library at

The Lincoln Telegram project provides another avenue for exploring the newly invented telegraph and, specifically, how it affected the course of the Civil War and its participants.

The Lincoln Telegrams Project

The Lincoln Telegrams project ( includes digital versions and transcriptions of 354 telegram memos written by Lincoln from March 10, 1864 to his death in April of 1865.  The telegram memos function as source material for helping students and teachers understand how to analyze historical sources using the Hicks, Doolittle, and Ewing’s SCIM-C method ( Direct access to the telegrams, either via the web or through an iPad app with the same content, allows students to explore the historical context and follow the ways in which the telegraph affected communications during that era.

© 2015   Created by John Lee.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service