Literacy Daily

Teaching With Tech
    • Librarian
    • Classroom Teacher
    • Job Functions
    • Teaching With Tech
    • Literacy Coach
    • Digital Literacy
    • Literacies
    • 21st Century Skills
    • Foundational Skills
    • Topics
    • Teacher Educator
    • Reading Specialist
    • Other/Literacy Champion
    • Literacy Education Student
    • Digital Literacies

    Team Up to Teach With Tech

    By Mary Moen
     | May 18, 2018

    Team Up Teaming up with your school librarian can be a great way for teachers to increase meaningful use of technology that strengthens student literacy development. Yet teachers may be unaware of all the ways school librarians can serve as instructional partners. A couple reasons for this could be that educator preparation programs rarely focus on collaboration with school librarians and, more significantly, the role of the school librarian has evolved so much that people’s understanding of their role may be outdated.

    How can school librarians help in a digital learning context?

    School librarians have always been information specialists, but they are especially attuned to helping teachers meaningfully use digital technologies in practice. One excellent go-to resource created by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is the 2017 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning: a list of free websites that are useful for media sharing, digital storytelling, communicating through social media, curriculum collaboration, and more. Two popular websites are Buncee, a content creation website for students, and Wizer.me, a questioning and response curriculum tool that librarians have been using in blended learning station rotation activities.

    The AASL’s Best Apps for Teaching and Learning is another great resource that adds value to inquiry-based learning in content areas such as STEM, humanities, and reading. Two examples of these apps are Heuristic Shakespeare, a digital book app which pairs text with performance, and Disaster Detector, a game-based app from the Smithsonian Science Education Center that lets players make predictions and analyze and interpret data. The websites and apps on these lists are thoughtfully evaluated and selected by a committee of school librarians who value high-quality resources that encourage student interaction, higher level thinking skills, and increased literacy development.

    What can collaboration with a school librarian look like?

    School librarians are trained to be instructional partners so they are comfortable with all levels of collaboration. The following are examples of three types of collaboration—aligned, cooperative and conceptual—and what each can look like between school librarians and teachers.

    In the aligned phase, the classroom teacher identifies and communicates particular student needs to the school librarian. An example could be to address a weakness in reading comprehension of informational text for fourth graders. The teacher could use a digital resource for informational text developmentally appropriate for those students such as NewsELA. The school librarian can reinforce those same skills during library time by using a research database for upper elementary students such as PebbleGo Next. A benefit of aligned collaboration is that students learn the same skill across digital platforms and content areas.

    In the cooperative phase of collaboration, a little more time commitment and communication is necessary. The teacher and librarian get together and decide the best way to teach the same learning objective, such as using Google Keep for note-taking to answer a research question or problem. The teacher and librarian agree to help each other and/or teach jointly for this specific learning objective in the project.

    Conceptual collaboration is the most sophisticated type and requires teachers to combine their expertise. It usually occurs for a complex project-based learning activity and involves sustained, collaborative planning from start to finish. A great example of a more sophisticated collaborative project is a high school librarian who collaborated with 11th-grade ELA teachers on a literacy criticism assignment for Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother. The librarian used virtual meeting tools to bring the author and cyber security experts into the classroom. Students not only had access to primary sources but learned interview techniques and were exposed to career options. Although it takes time and planning, the possibilities for meaningful collaboration at this level are exciting.

    Connect with a school librarian today and make plans for real world collaborative projects that deepen student learning.

    Mary H. Moen is an assistant professor and coordinator of the School Media Program at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island. You can find her on Twitter @mary_moen.

    This article is part of a series from the International Reading Association Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

    Read More
    • Job Functions
    • Librarian
    • Digital Literacies
    • Teaching With Tech
    • Literacy Education Student
    • Digital Literacy
    • Literacies
    • 21st Century Skills
    • Foundational Skills
    • Topics
    • Teacher Educator
    • Reading Specialist
    • Other/Literacy Champion
    • Classroom Teacher

    Empowering Students Online While Minimizing Risks

    By Michelle Schira Hagerman
     | May 11, 2018
    Internet Safety

    Madelaine called me on a Tuesday. She needed advice for her fifth-grade project on internet safety. With her teacher’s help, she put me on speaker phone and asked my permission to record the conversation. Her questions were important. Among them, “How can kids stay safe online?” and “What advice do you have for teachers and parents about how to teach kids to be safe on the internet?”

    Toward the end of our conversation, Madelaine’s teacher noted that it is difficult to know what resources to use or where to seek advice on internet safety. Her comments made me wonder whether other teachers feel this way, so I decided to use my post this week to share research that can help teachers and parents minimize risks while preparing children to practice smarter, savvier, and safer internet use.

    How can kids stay safe on the internet?

    During my conversation with Madelaine, I emphasized the importance of parents, teachers, and students talking openly about what safety means, the kinds of sites or activities that might pose a risk, how to avoid risks, and what to do if they find themselves in an upsetting situation. A 2011 landmark study published EU Kids Online found that 12% of students ages 9–16 had experienced situations online that made them feel bothered or uncomfortable. Interestingly, a much higher 55% agreed there is online content that would upset other students their age.

    The study also found that, although more internet use predicted higher probability of exposure to online risks, students who used the internet for more diverse purposes at school and at home also seemed to acquire a more diverse set of digital skills that allowed them to take advantage of online learning opportunities. Another 2011 report, also published by EU Kids Online, found that digital skills may protect students from risks, even as they continue to be more active online. Therefore, teaching digital literacy skills such as how to block unwanted messages, delete browser history, and search for information online may mitigate risks.

    What can teachers and parents do?

    A recent article published by Journal of Communication found there is no single best approach. However, it seems that a constellation of parenting strategies called “enabling mediation strategies” may strike the best balance of empowering children to develop internet skills while minimizing online risks. The study found that when parents encourage their children to engage in online learning; participate in online activities with their children; explain online sales practices; identify which websites are appropriate or inappropriate; suggest ways to use the internet safely; assist with problem-solving; discuss strategies for independent problem-solving; and monitor use, they increase children’s self-efficacy in dealing with online risks.

    Restrictive mediation is associated with fewer online risks but at the cost of opportunities to build critical digital skills. Interestingly, parents who report more advanced digital skills are more likely to use enabling mediation strategies, which suggests that one important way for schools to support children may be to support parents in their development of digital skills.

    In a thank you letter, Madelaine wrote that she learned, “How we need to empower kids so that they have choices.” As teachers, we can create learning spaces that empower student choice and scaffold foundational online safety skills by creating opportunities to practice a range of skills and by inviting conversation about what to do when things go wrong.

    Michelle Schira Hagerman is assistant professor of educational technology in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa. Madelaine and her parents gave permission to use her real name in this blog post.

    This article is part of a series from the International Reading Association Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

    Read More
    • Literacy Coach
    • Teaching With Tech
    • Job Functions
    • Classroom Teacher
    • Administrator
    • Digital Literacy
    • Literacies
    • 21st Century Skills
    • Foundational Skills
    • Topics
    • Teacher Educator
    • Reading Specialist
    • Partner Organization
    • Other/Literacy Champion
    • Literacy Education Student
    • Digital Literacies

    Professional Development With Technology: Lessons Learned From the Field

    By Carolina Orgnero
     | May 04, 2018

    PD With TechnologyAs we approach the third decade of the 21st century, the integration of technology into education can be considered slow when compared to the technological investment that governments have spent in schools—at least in Argentina. If the issue can no longer be attributed to lack of equipment, training and belief systems appear to be the main factors influencing technology integration in teaching.

    While there are no magical recipes for effective training, I would like to share some new ways of bridging the digital gap. 

    Teachers often ask me about the latest app they can use in the classroom. I don’t have a straightforward answer to this question, because there are many variables that come into play. For example, the choice of an app needs to be determined by the purpose of the activity and the skills that teachers want their students to develop. For this reason, I often address this question with a discussion about traditional and new literacies and provide a framework that describes 21st-century learning outcomes and support systems. 

    My preservice and novice teachers appreciate the discussion of how to structure a pre, during and postactivity. For example, before reading, teachers can provide a word cloud to help students identify the topic, access prior knowledge, and learn key vocabulary. After reading, students can prepare a summary of the most important concepts. This activity serves to illustrate a shift in teachers' and students’ roles; students no longer just consume the material their teachers prepare, rather, they are encouraged to participate as prosumers, i.e. both producers and consumers.

    Where I work, professional development (PD) is almost always limited to a day or less. While research has shown that this is not an effective way of learning, because there are few opportunities to try new tools, techniques, and strategies and reflect on the results, newer forms of professional development have been met with some resistance. I believe PD should foster a community of practice, where teachers can ask questions; exchange new tools, strategies, and activities; and examine their beliefs about what it means to teach and learn in the digital age.

    M. Carolina Orgnero is a professor at the Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto and Instituto Juan Zorrilla de San Martín and is the technology coordinator at Facultad de Lenguas at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. 

    Read More
    • Foundational Skills
    • 21st Century Skills
    • Digital Literacies
    • Topics
    • Literacies
    • Innovating With Technology
    • Teaching Strategies
    • Digital Literacy
    • Teaching With Tech

    Hey, You! Nobody’s Reading: Using Tech Tools to Reach a Wider Audience

    By Terry Atkinson
     | Apr 27, 2018

    imagination-library

    A recent article titled, “Hey Prof, no one is reading you,” highlights the dilemma of literacy professors whose annual evaluations depend on publishing research in peer-reviewed academic journals. Such journals are rarely, if ever, read by or written in language for practitioners, parents, elected officials, or the public at large. So how does one meet university tenure and promotion expectations and concurrently share research findings meant to impact what happens in local schools, families, and communities?

    In the midst of a community literacy coalition initiative launched by our local United Way chapter, our university research team wrestled with how to share our related research outcomes with a range of audiences. Invited by the coalition to conduct a five-year study documenting the impact of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library on kindergartners’ school readiness, we were asked to share our findings with elected officials, university groups, and community audiences. Thus, we shifted from writing research grants and articles in academic language to creating at-a-glance snapshots of our research findings. As is often the case when found in a bind, we dove into uncharted water with tech tools that served as lifelines as we sought to simplify, summarize, and share our work with community partners.

    Knowing that we needed both web and print media design and graphics, we looked to Edutopia blogger and assistant editor Todd Finley, who recommended Canva as one of the most user-friendly free graphic design sites around. Indeed, Canva design layouts offered options for documents, social media graphics/posts, blogging/E-books, marketing materials, email headers, event announcements, and ads, enabling us to transform narratives into graphic outcomes such as:

    • A quarterly newsletter, which offers advice to parents/guardians of Imagination Library enrollees, based on needs identified in our study.
    • An Imagination Library introductory flyer, available in English and Spanish, that’s given to parents/guardians of new enrollees at community events/Vidant Medical Center.
    • A visual display of findings from our baseline publication.

    Our next on-the-spot request arose while completing a grant application to secure additional funding. A project website URL was required for submission. With a short deadline in mind, we used the WordPress blog format (supported by our university, but also available free online) and integrated our existing Canva graphics to launch an Imagination Library Kindergarten Impact Study (ILKIS) website. Creating additional Canva headers and elements led to a continually evolving website that is now referenced in all of our work. The addition of a Google Analytics widget allows us to track the daily demographics of our website readers.

    I’d like to claim that as we wrote for these audiences we were consciously following the recommendations of literacy experts such as David Reinking, Deborah Dillon, David O’Brien, and Elizabeth Heilman, who argue that literacy inquiry of the past has been ineffective. Thus, they recommend that inquiry should shift focus to a more practical paradigm that improves human well-being, addresses pressing problems in authentic contexts, and communicates research outcomes with public audiences in language they can understand. Instead, we used Canva and WordPress to help us achieve similar goals somewhat serendipitously as we sought to communicate and connect with our community.

    In addition, sharing our work more widely and explaining it simply has, without a doubt, helped us understand our work through the lens of local stakeholders. So, whether using these tech tools to simplify or share project outcomes for academics, students, or teachers, their combined power offers the potential to convey most any message to an audience of choice.

    Terry S. Atkinson is an associate professor in the Department of Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

    This article is part of a series from the International Reading Association Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

    Read More
    • Classroom Teacher
    • Digital Literacies
    • Literacy Coach
    • Administrator
    • Teaching With Tech
    • Digital Literacy
    • Literacies
    • 21st Century Skills
    • Foundational Skills
    • Topics
    • Teacher Educator
    • Policymaker
    • Other/Literacy Champion
    • Literacy Education Student
    • Job Functions

    Facebook Frustrations

    By Joan Rhodes
     | Apr 20, 2018

    Facebook FrustrationsThis week’s nightly technology news was alarming.  After learning that Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, was going to speak before Congress regarding the data breach that impacted an estimated 87 million Facebook users, I fully expected to see that my private data had been collected by Cambridge Analytica. After all, my information has been hacked at a medical facility and two retailers so far this year.

    The positive news is that, because of this, my free credit monitoring has been in effect for almost a full year at no cost. I thought I had dodged a bullet by avoiding the This is Your Digital Life app. Unfortunately, as I continued reading an article titled, “How can I tell if my info was shared with Cambridge Analytica?” I learned that one of my Facebook “friends” had logged into the app prior to its 2015 removal from Facebook. All I could think was, what does this mean for my data? Where is my data?

    According to Facebook’s investigators, “As a result, the following information was likely shared with This Is Your Digital Life:” my public profile, page likes, birthday, and current city. If that wasn’t enough to get my blood boiling, Facebook also noted that “A small number of people who logged into This Is Your Digital Life also shared their own news feed, timeline, posts and messages, which may have included posts and messages from you. They may also have shared your hometown.” (Click here to see what Facebook considers your public profile. You will be surprised.)

    Am I the only one frustrated by this turn of events? I think not, and this feeling was confirmed when I looked at my own news feed and found several of my friends contemplating whether they should follow the 10% of U.S. Facebook users who have already closed their accounts. I’m sure I'm not alone in wondering if our opinions and political views have been impacted by the use of our personal data. (Click here for more information on how Facebook used research and established models to sway thinking.)

    Like many social media users, I generally believe that whatever I post is fair game for sharing and that complete privacy is a thing of the past. But this data breach has me wondering about how young students may be impacted by the unregulated sharing of personal information by social media companies. A 2014 Pew Research Center report found that “91% of Americans ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that people have lost control over how personal information is collected and used,” and that 80% are “concerned about advertisers and businesses accessing the data they share on social media platforms.”  Moreover, roughly half of U.S. residents believe that neither social media sites nor the government will protect their privacy. So, why do we continue to use sites that put our privacy at risk?

    Lee Rainie, director of internet and technology research at Pew Research Center, notes that U.S. residents have a complex relationship with social media. We are hesitant to give up the ability to stay connected with our friends and have come to rely on social media sites to make life efficient. Nonetheless, as educators, we have a responsibility to understand how to protect privacy for both ourselves and our students. So, what can we do?

    Short of joining the #DeleteFacebook movement, educators should demonstrate how to use Facebook’s new centralized page to update security/privacy settings and read (and share with students) articles that provide practical tips for protection. Recommendations include deleting birthdates, phone numbers, and other personal information as well as eliminating bad habits like tagging your home location and inadvertently sharing your address with the public. For more general advice, Common Sense Education offers lesson plans, cheat sheets, social media tips, privacy evaluation tools, and more to help students learn and practice responsible digital citizenship. Whatever tactic you choose, monitoring your identifiable information is critically important in this technology-driven world.

    Joan Rhodes is an associate professor of reading and early/elementary education at Virginia Commonwealth University.

    This article is part of a series from the International Reading Association Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

    Read More
Back to Top

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives