Find 5 Friday, #F5F

This week’s Find 5 Friday comes from our required weekly readings of chapters and articles.

1. From our first article, “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century,” I loved the piece about getting computers to EVERYONE in order to give students needed skills in the new media culture.  The article said that we must ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public and in community.  I live in Philadelphia, and the information below to be such a great stepping stone for low-income families.


Philadelphia will allow low-income families, families that are on the cusp of their financial capacity, to be able to be fully and completely connected.We believe that our public school children should be—their families have to be connected or else they will fall behind, and, in many cases, never catch up (PBS, 2005). Philadelphia’s Emergency People’s Shelter (EPS) is ahead of the curve; the nonprofit group’s free network access serves shelter residents and the surrounding neighborhood. Gloria Guard of EPS said, What we realized is if we can’t get computers into the homes of our constituents and our neighbors and of this neighborhood, there are children in those households who will not be able to keep up in the marketplace.They won’t be able to keep up with their schoolmates. They won’t be able to even apply for college.We thought it was really important to get computer skills and connection to the Internet into as many homes as possible (PBS, 2005)

Having access to the internet is a key component to CONNECT…

Which ties me into the second #F5F!

2. A topic this week was Uniting People for the greater good, and I found the link above about Harry Potter to be such a wonderful reminder about the power in numbers.  I would love to remind my students of this powerful message as well. In the HPA (Harry Potter Alliance), people came together through a common interest; a popular book/movie!  The group has done incredible things, such as donating 87,000 books to communities in need.  As I thought about this, and how connected learning gets people together to do more powerful things that one can accomplish alone, I thought of a powerful advertisement I once saw.  The message of the link below is that an individual may be brilliant and have strong core competencies but unless you are able to work in a TEAM and harness each others core competencies, you will always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you will do poorly and someone else does well.“>


3.  Parenting in the Digital Age

I do not have kids.  Yet.  BUT, as I was reading about Connected Learning this week, I stumbled upon a great blog!  The mother who wrote this says, “I sincerely believe that the ease of access to information, entertainment and virtual friends enabled by having a tablet and a smartphone made the difference between becoming depressed when my daughter arrived and having an amazing maternity leave.”

As much as we all love technology, we know that it can also be dangerous; addicting, perhaps.  There are nights when checking Facebook may keep us up too late, but, when you really stop and think about the digital age, think of all the moments (and moms!) who get connected for the good of the cause.


4.  OUR SOCIAL LIFE HAS UNDERGONE A THOROUGH AND RADICAL CHANGE!  If our education is to have meaning, it must also undergo a radical change.  These two sentences were, in my opinion, the best two sentences in the 1907 John Dewey article we read this week.

The article spoke about mankind making progress through the ways we live.  The children, who wove clothing from the very first flax seed, knew everything there was to know about weaving cotton into wool.  Why? Because they did it.  They knew the process and material better than anything!  They knew that the wool had a certain roughness which made fibers stick, thus assisting in weaving.  The process of making clothing (from start to finish) gave the children first-hand experience and brought the children into contact with reality.  This evidence proves that children must be active participants in order to have relevant understandings.  Reading a book or being lectured does not give students the ability to invest in their studies.  I feel like the idea of “Connected Learning” is what we are really striving for- the “concept” that will help us undergo the radical change in education!  The article wraps everything up perfectly by saying that it is our job, as educators, to “saturate him with the spirit of service, and provide him with the instruments of effective self-direction.  We shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely, and harmonious.”

Amen to those thoughts!

5.  My last thought this week connects with TIME.  Time management.  Time in the day.  Time in the curriculum.  As teachers, when we are given one more task to fit into the day we have a feeling of fear.  How are we going to fit it all in?!  Our PDF article said that, “Much of the resistance to media literacy training springs from the sense that the school day is bursting at its seams, that we cannot cram in any new tasks without the instructional system breaking down altogether.”


The breakdown of SCHOOL, AFTER SCHOOL and HOME helped me remember that all of this is possible.  Media literacy should NOT be treated as an add-on subject. Rather, it should be viewed as a paradigm shift, one that, like multiculturalism or globalization, reshapes how we teach every existing subject.  To help me grasp the concept, I enjoyed reading about school, after-school, and home ways to integrate technology.  In school, we should help students become active participants in the new media landscapes by using educational simulations, reality games, blogs, wikis, etc.  None of this requires extra time! Instead of that traditional paper and pencil activity, the students will become more invested through the use of media.  I learned that after school programs should be a site of CHANGE- or something new.  Something that expands children’s understanding of the world.  I thought of the STEM club at my school.  This is a perfect program that focuses on media education.  Lastly, as teachers, we have to remember (and teach to parents) that guardians play an active role in shaping children’s relationships with media.  Ways that schools can do this is to encourage parents to come and learn about safe and effective ways to


Ivey and Tepper, the authors of our essay, wrote to “ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public, community, [Creative] and economic life?”

The rich opportunities are everywhere.  As an educator, I will stop feeling as though these opportunities are “add ons” and instead question how I can benefit children so that they can fully and successfully give back and serve as positive role models in their communities.


Reflections, 1/25-1/31


  1. The state of participating.
  2. The state of being related to a larger whole.

This week, when asked to participate in something, I attended my usual Yoga class.  I participate in yoga several times a week, for many reasons.  I love fitness, and going to yoga is a great workout!  More importantly, though, attending yoga reminds me that I am part of a whole.  I am part of the Yoga community, the Hotbox Community, and the Manayunk Community.

How does this connect to “Equity and Connected Learning?”  I gain something each time I practice.  I connect with myself, but also those around me.  I am in a room, sweating and flowing for 75 minutes alongside of others who WANT to be there.  Others who share the same interest as I do.  On the website of my studio, the owner has his mission statement posted, which I cut and copied below.

“Our mission is to build a loving community, create a space to find true strength, and foster the growth of vitality and limitless possibility.  Our intention is to give you an inspiring and transformational experience that leaves you empowered. Within our Philadelphia yoga community we will sweat, smile, surrender and have lots of fun together along the way.”

The mission statement matches the way I feel when I participate.  The feeling of community and being connected is empowering, since we all share the common interest. I think this matches what students feel when they have the opportunity to partake in self-driven, self-interest opportunities.  They find a community in which they feel part of, and can work alongside others to share the joys.  I know in Yoga, I rely on the others near me. I use them as motivation, and communicate with them in a variety of ways.  Sometimes, my peers in class help me with a pose.  Other times, the peers in class share a quote or a thought that inspires me, and makes me think beyond my own thoughts.  By definition, participating in Yoga relates me to a much larger whole.

Why Connected Learning?

“Connected learning takes root when young people find peers who share interests, when academic institutions recognize and make interest-driven learning relevant to school, and when community institutions provide resources and safe spaces for more peer-driven forms of learning. … These connected learning environments ideally embody values of equity, social belonging, and participation.” Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design


Hello, ED677!

My name is Lacey Schmidt, and I teach fourth grade in Lower Merion School District.  I love what I do, and am always looking for ways to enrich my students and enhance the way in which they learn.  I can honestly say that I don’t know much about technology, and already (creating a Twitter handle, and a Blog) has pushed my limits.  My husband is a computer engineer, so one would think that I would have more knowledge when it comes to technology, but I don’t.  I am looking forward to learning more through this course.

A bit about myself-

I am currently enrolled working toward my STEM certification through Arcadia University. For the next year and a half I’ll be working towards STEM and Connected Learning to get my Master’s Degree.

I just got married in August.  My husband and I got married underneath a willow tree in his parent’s backyard- it was the most perfect evening.  We exchanged our vows with the birds chirping and a gentle breeze blowing the willow.  We both love the outdoors, and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!

I am a triathlete, and will soon be training to compete in my sixth Ironman Triathlon.  I love triathlons in general, and have a true passion for long-distance courses, such as the Ironman.  Running is my strongest leg of the race, as I’ve always been a distance runner. My husband and I met on a bike team at the college we both went to, so we do a lot of the riding together.  I don’t love to swim, but luckily that’s the “shortest” part of the very, very long day.

I am about to begin my Yoga certification to become a yoga teacher, as that is another one of my passions.  I am excited for the journey to becoming a teacher since it will be the first time I’m combining the two things that I love- fitness AND teaching.

Thank you for reading a bit about me, and I look forward to knowing about each one of you as this semester continues!




Honoring Our Interests

Describe an interest that you had as a young person, whether or not that interest was recognized as learning in school. Write or make something about it that you can share with others … Tell us about what might have piqued this interest. How did you pursue that interest or what did it make you think about? What and who supported you as you dove deeper? In what ways were your interests connected to school, or not? What were the implications?