Summary and reflection upon “Productive Pedagogies” by Jackie Marsh (2008)

In “Productive Pedagogies: Play, Creativity and Digital Cultures in the Classroom”, Marsh (2008) tries to explore the potential of introducing children’s digital cultures into the classroom and what digital literacy practices could be exploited in both home and school contexts. At first, she describes the advantages and feasibility of using digital literacy practices. Then, the notion of “productive pedagogy” is explained, followed by the introduction of four dimensions of productive pedagogies, namely intellectual quality, connectedness, supportive classroom environment and engagement with difference. As the focus of the article is connectedness, the author analyzes a case study from the aspects of knowledge integration, background knowledge, connectedness to the world, and problem-based curriculum in particular.

In the case study of blogging, two primary teachers (one from UK, one from US) collaborated together on the project. They asked their students to develop blogs based on the topic of dinosaur and comment on other students’ blogs. The study shows that the blogging project activated children’s background knowledge, enabled them to integrate knowledge about literacy with technology and learn more knowledge about other curricula, e.g. science, history, geography and etc. Moreover, it improves children’s problem solving skills. However, there are some problems, e.g. Internet safety, copyright, existing as well. Overall, the blogging project enabled children to engage with each other playfully and promoted their creativity.

The blogging project illustrated in the article is quite enlightening. For me, it’s a good idea to incorporate digital literacy practices into classroom curriculum. However, some people get into a panic about children’s use of these technologies. They hold that children are too young to discern the validity of information among plenty of information on the Internet. In addition, anxieties around copyright and the line between cooperation and confusion proliferate.

As far as I’m concerned, most children have already known the “rule” of surfing the Internet. What teachers need to do is to ensure that they will protect their privacy and give some instructions about copyright beforehand. Teachers should encourage the students to think critically and make judgments about what is right and what is wrong on their own instead of making decision for them. Overprotecting is unnecessary. In the digital age, the trend of technology is inexorable. Students should develop their computer skills along with knowledge of literacy. Through blogging, students could use various resources on the Internet to push them to study. Also, blogging is a good way for students to make friends and broaden their social network. It will be fantastic if the students could make some foreign friends by blogging. They could interact with their friends by commenting on their blogs and share some interesting videos or useful materials with each other. For teachers, they can gain some innovative ideas for teaching from the Internet to make the class more attractive. And it will be easier for them to assign some tasks which require the students to work collaboratively.

All in all, I strongly agree that “productive pedagogies” should be used in the class. It will facilitate students’ learning. Though concern form school heads, teachers and parents hinder its implementation at present, time will show that digital literacy will motivate students to learn and enhance students’ learning.