Welcome to the New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute 2009, Friday Institute!

New Literacies Institute Inspires 21st Century Teacher Leaders

Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, Raleigh, NC

The New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute was held at the Friday Institute from July 12 – 17, 2009. The weeklong institute entitled, “New Literacies, Inquiry, Equity: Teacher Leaders for a New Educational Era,” focused on how new digital tools can create challenging and engaging learning opportunities for students and teachers. Forty-eight teachers from across the country (and China) came together to learn from leaders in the field of new literacies, engage in project-based inquiry, and to answer the question: ”What will you contribute as a new literacies teacher leader?”

Teachers were inspired by featured speakers such as Don Leu from the University of Connecticutt, who challenged the group to promote equity for all students by teaching online reading comprehension. Yong Zhao, Director of the Confucius Institute at Michigan State, encouraged participants to embrace the new literacies needed to communicate in a flattened world and to become global teacher leaders and learners. Milton Chen, Director of Edutopia, skyped in from California and shared student learning vignettes from the international Digital Youth Project. Cindy Williamson, Director of Curriculum & Instruction at NC DPI, shared the exciting new work on North Carolina standards and assessment. A panel of teacher leaders relayed personal success stories and challenges in their quest to implement educational change. Joselyn Todd, from Cary Academy, encouraged teachers to “think big, start small, and go for the early win.”

During morning breakout sessions, teachers learned how social networking environments can be applied to the classroom and explored strategies for online reading using dynamic instructional and assessment models for 21st century learning. Additionally, they learned how to embrace the YouTube aesthetic by using video as a learning and creation tool that can amplify student engagement, creativity, and complex thinking. Each afternoon, teachers engaged in Cool Tool sessions featuring technologies such as Second Life, Voicethread, Fizz, Trailfire, SAS Curriculum Pathways and much more.

Teachers then moved into Design Studio where they collaborated with a partner to create an innovative inquiry lesson based on their state’s curriculum standards. Students from Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School visited the Design Studio and provided a valuable critique of the lessons from a “digital native” perspective. The hands-on, minds-on experience prompted the teachers to design and produce innovative lessons using new digital media. Throughout the week teachers engaged in 21st century forms of communication using Twitter, YouTube, Nings, and wikis.

The week culminated in a Design Studio Showcase where participants shared the innovative inquiry projects they had created during the week. Teachers explored their leadership styles and created a plan to engage partners and lead new literacy innovations in their school, district, and/or state. Teachers grasped new visions and gained new knowledge about how to tap students’ curiosity, unleash creativity, engender 21st century skills, as well as be change agents for a new educational era. Institute sponsors included the NC Business Committee for Education and BB & T. To view the projects and join in the ongoing dialogue visit the New Literacies Collaborative at

Additional information about the institute including resources can be found at and on the Institute wiki at

We had a great learning experience!

Many thanks to the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) and BB&T for their support for the Institute!