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July 2013: M-Passioned Member Rebecca Reynolds

[ 0 ] July 1, 2013 |

Rebecca Reynolds1) What do you do?

I am an assistant professor of Library and Information Science at Rutgers University, where my research focuses on student engagement in guided discovery-based learning with technology.


2) Tell me about your latest work or project in media literacy.

My current site of research is the Globaloria game design program, a project developed by the World Wide Workshop, a non-profit organization in NYC that provides schools in several U.S. states with a curriculum and e-learning platform for Constructionist game design. Along with the co-founder (an advisor of my dissertation), I have developed a framework called the 6 Contemporary Learning Abilities, a set of 6 practice dimensions that, when engaged in by students in a sustained way for either a semester or year, can cultivate what we call “Constructionist Digital Literacy” (Reynolds & Harel Caperton, 2009). We are presently investigating the educational conditions that elicit best practices and results. I use the design-based research method to study students’ information and resource practices in this context, as well as their emergent collaborative activity in self-organizing game design teams. My research work is supported by a national Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Early Careers Development Grant. I am investigating ways such models can involve school librarians.


3) Why is media literacy important to you?

I would explain media literacy education as a key national educational policy agenda that is growing in momentum, which bears strong critical theory underpinnings, and that aims to cultivate student self-determination, agency and empowerment through constructive experiences with a range of media and digital tools. One aim is to provide students the opportunity to connect their maker activity to issues of personal and political concern – individually, locally, nationally and globally. These efforts facilitate students’ awareness of the systems driving our larger world, and their sense of contributing as active participants.


4) What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?

I am passionate about bringing the principles of critical media and digital literacy education espoused by NAMLE to greater impact at the national level.  We are at a critical tipping point for commercialization of digital learning technologies. Yet while almost all U.S. schools are wired, with computing technologies on location (to varying extents), schools are still struggling to support effective decision-making, budgeting, teaching and learning to leverage the best technology tools and programs. The aims of the National Education Technology Plan remain a distant milestone.  It is my dream to see all schools supporting digital maker cultures (in addition to, and integrated with, the core curriculum) because schools can play a key role in reaching a fuller diversity of youth more equitably.  Cultivating critical media and digital literacy in a way that sparks creativity, agency, and the innovative spirit may be a necessary component to meeting the immense challenges facing today’s and tomorrow’s youth.


5) Why did you become a NAMLE member – what benefits do you see to membership and how will it support your work?

NAMLE is situated at the nexus of a host of national conversations presently occurring around. In the coming years, this organization will continue to play a critical role in facilitating, leading, and indeed driving some of these conversations through organizing, advocacy, and direct influence on policy through crucially needed networking and agenda-setting.

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Category: M-Passioned Members

About Jaclyn Kahn: I am a History and Focus teacher at a private school for students (grades 4-12) with Learning Disabilities in New York City. I have hosted numerous after school activities related to media, and have used various media literacy techniques within the classroom. Prior to Winston, I graduated from the Reading Specialist master's program and Teacher's College, Columbia University, and earned by BA from SUNY Oswego. View author profile.

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