This chapter was one I identified with a great deal. While I wouldn't say that I am a technology wizard, I'm certainly not a techno-phobe. I feel quite comfortable with using technology and have used it in my classroom in a variety of ways. Other teachers I know use it with even greater alacrity and I am amazed at the things they create and share with their classrooms and others. Many of the resources that are listed in this chapter - and there are a good amount - I have had personal experience using and others I have seen or heard others use.
The chapter's authors, Erica C. Boling and Christina Spiezio, bring out the point in the opening lines the fact that literacy goes beyond just the ability to read and write, it now encompasses the ability use these skills while navigating the technology rich world of the 21st century. One of the concerns voiced is that there is a wide gap between the skills that most students traditionally learn in their schools and the skills and knowledge that they will need in higher education, modern workplaces, and even within their own communities.
While there is not a specific standard for technology within the Common Core Standards it is implied that 21st century students to be college and career ready will be literate in a variety of technologies. References to digital media and technology are scattered liberally throughout the ELA standards. Differentiation is made between learn "from" and learning "with" technology and, while both are important, it is felt that learning "with" technology that has been "reflected and embraced" (pg. 154) by the standards. This is showcased by the "call for students to be able to critically analyze and produce various types of media." (pg. 154) Because students are expected to present what they find and create it integrates the speaking and listening standards within the ELA standards. Furthermore this technology literacy is not relegated solely to the ELA standards, but is expected throughout other content areas.
Several classroom vignettes showing the use of technology within ELA classes as well as other subjects are given. The technology showcased in the vignettes are:
VoiceThread (http://voicethread.com) - a way of capturing stories digitally
Glogster (www.glogster.com) - a place for creating interactive online posters
Wikispaces (www.wikispaces.com) - which, while used for a variety of other reasons, can be used as a safe and password protected place for students to publish writing and share work with others online
Voki (www.voki.com) - another online digital recording program which allows a student to create a cartoon character that resembles them (which will "speak" for the student) then record a podcast - in this case responses to class readings - for others to listen to
Google Earth (www.google.com/earth) - an online interactive satellite globe which was used to allow students to take "virtual" field trips
Creation of student produced videos - the use of a Flip (small, easy to use) video camera was mentioned as well as using Windows Movie Maker to edit the short science videos
Two pages of resources are shared that deal with help in using these technologies and resources where teachers can find out about more technology to use in the classroom. The authors conclude by reiterating the vital importance of embedding the use of technology throughout all content areas to create digitally literate students who will be prepared to interact and succeed in an increasingly digital and technological world.
As a teacher I have used several of the resources mentioned, though some such as video podcasting and the use of a wiki have been ways of disseminating information to students rather than having students actively participate. However, after reading this chapter I am eager to try even more with my students actively involved.
Questions for this chapter can be found in the comment section. Please use the 'reply' function to respond. I can't wait to hear all of your thoughts! Links to the previous chapters' discussions can be found here:
Be sure to check back next Monday, August 5th, when 2 Brainy Apples hosts a discussion about
Chapter 9 - Assessment