Posts Tagged ‘Technology’
Just try to stop technology in the classroom, and you might have better luck trying to stop a freight train. Harry Keller, Editor of Science Education and Literacy for ETC Journal (educational technology & change), writes in Technological Literacy: The Key to Education Reform that by combining technology with literacy can we reform education. Much more than simply “one of the latest buzz phrases in education,” technological literacy is not isolated technologies such as interactive white boards and iPads that surface in classrooms followed up by literacy lessons. The concept is about knowing how to effectively use technology, hands-on, in the classroom.
But knowing how to use technology is the first step, and knowing how to effectively use it is the second step. I know an “old-school” elementary-level teacher who is not technologically savvy. For the most part, she doesn’t respond to parent emails with emails. She asks students and support staff how to use the classroom ipads. This doesn’t make her a bad teacher, she is simply “technologically illiterate” in a district that is becoming heavily technologically literate. But what Keller would say in this case is “the solution [to our current education crisis] is at hand, but without technological literacy in our schools right down to the classroom teacher, it won’t be implemented, and we’ll continue down the slope to increasing failure.” That kind of implication makes me want to meet with her to gently show how these things work.
Just having technology available in a school system is not the answer – Keller argues that we now need “the ability to understand and evaluate technology” – both from a teacher perspective and district perspective. He writes that “anyone in the implementation chain must also be able to understand the implications of the decision to use a particular technology.”
Yet even our young students are technologically savvy, often referred to a “digital natives” – and we know that we can reach students this way. With the increase in online literacy programs like Big Universe and the multitude of learning apps for typical and special needs students, we need to use technology effectively, otherwise it becomes simply a replacement for a chalkboard.
Tonya Wright in Technology and Literacy in the Early Childhood Classroom, writes that “the early childhood community has been slower to catch when it comes to technology. A recent survey of early childhood professionals by Child Care Information Exchange revealed that among child care centers, most that use technology only do so for administrative purposes such as accounting or record-keeping; and classroom use is often limited to educational software.” Yet “technology can positively impact classroom practices” – from “lesson plan ideas, recipes, and classroom themes,” even by preschool students.
She suggests using digital images (in a slide show), e-pal sites, create student electronic portfolios, and Word-processing and desktop publishing software. Her suggestions are great as the real-life applications to these includes technological literacy, a basic skill set for many of today’s jobs, and includes capabilities such as creating slide show presentations, interacting with others through digital means, and before even getting the job, creating a visual portfolio on a leave-behind CD after an interview.
This doesn’t mean the old school teacher I referred to has to throw out the chalk with the chalkboard. Clearly our district is pushing a current technology, and I’d like to see them be held accountable for teaching her how to use it. She’d be surprised how quickly it would become just another tool to effectively teach. Is your district pushing a particular technology that others seems to be struggling to use?
Image courtesy of M – Pics at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.
~Henry L. Doherty
Catching up on my reading is one of my favorite things to do in that “lull” between the holidays and the kiddo’s return to school. In November and December I don’t even try to do any professional reading. The days – and thus my brain – are too crowded. What I do, instead, is add articles of interest and learning to my virtual library on Scoop.It.
Once we got past the coming of the end of the world, writers’ focus turned to learning in this digital age. Topics covered everything from what makes a good digital media diet for kids to learning behaviors and strategies. I am hoping that you will find some interesting tidbits in this list. The annotations and opions are my own.
The world is getting smaller and flatter. Learners want to own their learning very early and can do that by unpacking the [common core] standards with their teachers. It is time to bring back inquiry and encourage questions that have no right answers. ~ author
Adopting the idea that personalized learning is an umbrella as you begin reading really helps solidify the concepts in this article. The emphasis is on sharing: between / among teachers, from student to teacher, and among students themselves. Technology is a medium of learning, but the article makes it clear there is a lot more to it than that.
Dr. Fry has let me know that the graph is copyright free, but one cannot alter the graph or directions and still call it the Fry Readability Graph. Thank you to Dr. Fry for letting me know teachers can use the graph, copyright free! ~ Kathy Schrock
In addition to providing step-by-step directions on how to use Fry’s Readability Graph (pictured left), Kathy has links to several other tools (websites and software) for measuring the readability / reading level of a book. She also links to several databases of leveled books for kids.
source: Wikimedia Commons
Because their brains are still developing and malleable, frequent exposure by so-called digital natives to technology is actually wiring the brain in ways very different than in previous generations. ~ Jim Taylor, Ph.D.
Dr. Taylor’s article is both enlightening and frightening. Yes, technology can be good and help (e.g., video games and spatial development). He makes an excellent argument that our brains are always evolving. Still, the affect the physiological development of our kids’ brains is pretty startling. To think that it has an inverse impact on their development is a “wow” for me.
There is a certain logic to the idea that students can become better critical thinkers by completing writing assignments. Writing forces you to organize your thoughts. Writing encourages you to try different ideas and combinations of ideas. Writing encourages you to select your words carefully. Writing holds the promise (and the threat) of a permanent record of your thoughts, and thus offers the motivation to order them carefully. ~ Daniel Willingham
The source of interest for Willingham’s article is Atlantic writer Peg Tyre’s story “The Writing Revolution.” Willingham’s story hones in the value of teaching writing, and makes concrete the link (or ripple effect) between learning to write and other critical cognitive functions like reading and thinking.
I recently discovered a new-to-me community called Quib.ly, and one of the first questions I discovered was “Can technology help with children’s literacy?” There is only one answer to the question so far, and the focus is on the value of online writing and publishing tools. This, from a study by Dr. Christina Clarke, Head of Research at the UK National Literacy Trust:
… children who use online publishing tools such as social media platforms and blogging services enjoy writing more than those who don’t (57% vs 40% respectively).
Good news for a new year! Teachers – how are you using technology for literacy in your classrooms? Share your suggestions in the comments.
While doing research on Morgana leFay in an undergraduate library, the sun highlighted bans of dust and the library cat sat on the table, watching me pour over a pile of library books needed for a Medieval Lit class paper. The difference between newer books (smooth print, formatted with adequately kerned and tracked sentences) versus old (rougher, brittle pages that had old looking fonts and single spaced) could be reduced to a musty smell of stale Cheerios. I looked for a page that seemed to be not there. Was it ripped out? I flipped back and forth between pages, looking for consecutive paging. And then I remembered the Great Gatsby, with Jay Gatsby’s library full of “uncut” books. Later, I ripped open the page with a dinner knife – and found what I needed folded in between a bound page. My tactile experience with books, 20 years ago, doesn’t negate today’s convenience of googling research to find needed support for argument, especially during a library’s closed hours.
Yet there are those who still prefer “real” books over e-books, especially parents of young children who admit to a double-standard – they are avid digital readers yet want the tactile benefits of books, including bedtime cuddles.
Others say that we need more research before taking an either-or-stand. As debate rages on about the value of ebooks versus real books, the Cooney Center aims “to foster a productive dialogue about digital media and our kids” and the researchers who first posed the question of our report “Print Books vs. E-books” – sought to “measure levels of engagement — between parent and child, and with the book itself.”
Although parents and educators may feel strongly for either bound or electronic books, the bottom line for both is enjoying reading and increasing reading skills. We really don’t need to stand behind an either-or mentality, as hardcopy books and text media are integral part of our life. I would bet money that school libraries won’t ever go paperless, but schools are successfully using electronic reading programs, such as Big Universe (read about one teacher who integrates both in her classroom).
The value in shared reading, and a cuddle quotient, remains in the hands of readers – using hard copy books, ipads and electronic readers. In an unlikely, but shared reading experience, my sons gather round the computer and the three of us work on religion class survey-type questions and answers on mass and book readings (accessible through pdf) – sometimes with appropriate video clips. This however is not relaxed reading, but homework, yet I have to admit, to my own surprise, that they don’t treat it as work. There is a place for real books in our lives – and alternative reading mediums. Time to make room for both.
“Tablet PC Computer And Books” from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I had a great experience this week. I got read a book to a first grade class!
Now that may not sound very exciting, but as a former elementary school teacher and a person who loves to read books aloud, it was a special time …. but what made it even better was that the class was in Ohio and I was in NC!
A couple of months ago, I posted a message on twitter (a tweet) that I would be glad to read aloud via skype to classes. A teacher from Ohio contacted me. After several messages back and forth, we figured out a day and time. She even let me pick a book to share (I would have been glad to read something that went along with something they were studying). It turns out that I participated in the first skype experience for the class. I hope they ask me to “visit” again!
I decided I to read A Snowman Named Just Bob by by Mark Kimball Moulton. When I chose the book that morning, I didn’t know what a great connection the students would be able to make since it was snowing outside at their school. I also found more information on the book’s author and some possible activities to go along with the story. I always liked to find things like that to go along with the stories we read aloud in class, so I sent those to the teacher too.
An important piece of a Balanced Literacy program is the Read Aloud time. There are so many benefits of stories being read aloud to children of all ages. I have been able to do that for students and classes several hours away using skype (Read with me via Skype . . . shares the first experience I had doing this and gives some information on how that project was organized). I think I enjoy it as much as the students. I really enjoyed the way Skype allowed me to “step out of my building” and read to students without even leaving my seat!
Technology has opened up many ways for books to be read aloud.
I remember doing book reports, especially in elementary school, that mainly consisted of writing a summary of what happened in the book and drawing a picture to go along with it. There were times we got to do book projects instead like creating a book cover or using a shoebox to recreate a scene from the book.
With the variety of technology tools available today, there are so many other ways children can create book reports or book projects if they are given the chance and choice. No matter how a project is done or what multimedia tool is used for creation, the project will probably have to do with one of the story elements (Setting, Plot, Conflict, Characters).
I had a Donors Choose project funded and received a class set of the From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. To go along with the novel, I created a Pageflakes full of student projects ideas and activities. Since I have been learning about various web 2.0 tools, I decided to recreate that Pageflakes project using Glogster.
Here is the Pageflakes creation: http://www.pageflakes.com/mwedwards/26623315
Here is the Glogster creation: http://mwedwards.glogster.com/mrs-basil-e-frankweiler/
There is also an education version of the Glogster tool known as EduGlogster. EduGlogster may also be a good tool for students to use to create book projects or displays of information. EduGlogster does allow glogs to be made private, student accounts to created, and template sharing.
Here is the EduGlogster creation: http://mwedwards01.edu.glogster.com/from-the-mixed-up-files/
What are other projects students could do to move from basic book reports to more involved book projects? How do you think these changes can help students with comprehension, understanding, and creativity?