MLTI Summer Institute at Castine


Dr. Jason Ohler

Dr. Jason Ohler

I was able to travel to Castine for only part of the Maine Learning Technology Summer Institute this summer but I was so glad to be able to hear keynote speaker Jason Ohler. He is from Juneau, Alaska but could easily be from Maine. Not only is he an engaging speaker and workshop presenter but he is very willing to share his resources. His website has many good links with “food for thought”, ideas to ponder and information to help guide you on a variety of educational technology topics.

I really enjoyed reading one of his articles that appeared in Educational Leadership, March 2009, called “Literacy 2.0 – Orchestrating the Media”. At Castine he emphasized the importance of writing in the 21st century. But when he referred to writing and how we assessed for writing the image on the screen made it very clear how disconnected we are.

On the left was the typical writing paper and directly next to it on the screen was an example of what a 21st century learner should be prepared for.  This looked more like a piece of artwork. It was mostly writing but the size varied and there were images as well. It could have been a slide out of a presentation. Real life learning and how can we achieve it on a regular basis?

My ears perked up when Jason talked about the importance of the arts. He has another published article from Educational Leadership, October 2000, called “Art Becomes the Next R“. Jason believes that “art must be a literacy, not just a content area”. When we think about who our young adolescents are in 2010 this makes perfect sense. Students use of technology tools including video, music, graphics and so many others are integrating the arts naturally. All the more reason why the visual and performing arts are important to their formal learning.

Years ago when I was teaching John Lounsbury said to me: “You, as the art teacher, need to be the best teacher in the building because the arts need to be at the heart of every students education!”

If you weren’t at Castine, you can see Jason Ohler’s key note. It is posted in 5 YouTubes on the meartsed blog. By clicking here you can get to the first one. Thank you to Sarah Sutter, art teacher from Wiscasset High School who was kind enough to video tape them for us to share.


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