Earlier this term, I shared through this blog Designing with Teachers: Participatory Approaches to Professional Development in Education, a white paper funded as part of a grant from the MacArthur Foundation and released by the Annenberg Innovation Lab. The report, edited by Erin Reilly and Ioana Literat, featured case studies of innovative professional development initiatives ( Vital Signs, PLAY, Scratch, Ask Ansai, the Participatory Assessment Project) with a larger exploration of what it might mean to adopt a more participatory model for working with teachers. Today, we want to expand upon that report with the first of two reports that emerged from our own PLAY (Participatory Learning and YOU!) project, discussing core insights we derived from a year-long program working with teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District to develop more participatory approaches in their classrooms. The teachers spaned both grade-levels and curricular categories, allowing us to develop new approaches together that work in a variety of contexts.
The first of these reports, Shall We Play?, was written by Erin Reilly, Henry Jenkins, Laurel Felt and Vanessa Vartabedian. It represents a revisiting of my original MacArthur white paper, Confronting the Challenges of a Participatory Culture, and lays out what we see as core principles for participatory learning. It includes some core reflections on what has happened in the Digital Media and Learning movement over the past six years as we have sought to bring a more participatory spirit to those institutions and practices that most directly touch young people's lives.