Linik, J.R. (2012). Literacy 2.0: Teaching students the skills needed to succeed in our information economy, Education Northwest v17 (Spring 2012) pg 16-19.
The article begins by saying that English Language Learners are begging to takes quizzes via various technology devices. This article focuses on the technology being utilized in the Seattle public school systems. Using these technology devices students are allowed to focus more on literacy skills and collaborating with others. These “Net Gen” kids primarily have grown up using digital tools to complete tasks every day. It is the school’s responsibility to teach children how to succeed in this information economy.
The article states the example of Clagget Creek Middle School and its teacher, Matt Hurst, who used iPod Touches for students to utilize during classroom discussions, research finding and writing via a blog. It gives all his students appropriate wait time and the chance to participate. Some apps also give the students a chance for healthy competition. It is a way for them to chart progress and gain confidence. These apps also give immediate feedback so that Mr. Hurst can incorporate re-teaching moments or extension activities into his lesson.
Literacy is challenge for many of Mr. Hurst’s students, so he is using the technology to help the students with their writing. They students can connect to this format because it is what they are used to seeing when then read.
Seattle also has a blog (http://www.pugetsoundoff.org/) where students can write and post about social injustices, their own writing or drawing or community issues. This type of platform allows them to communicate and collaborate with others and as well as speak to the “real world.” This gives students the greater purpose of sharing their voice and that what they say matters.
Using digital tools increases the engagement of the students and allows students to gain an interest in a topic/class. Students can hone literacy skills through reading, researching and responding. Through the create of digital story media student communicate to the community at large.
Many of the applications mentioned in this article keeps English Language Learners in mind. However, I think it is important to note that these can be applied to any student. The idea of students using digital tools to communicate to the “real world” or community is the most important idea. Students need to be able to have their voices heard and taken into consideration.
I think it is important it start small and continues to build on the foundation. Students may take their writing more serious and learn the skill of clearly communicating with a purpose.
I would like to see it start in the intermediate grades with letters to the community, an open dialogue with the Village board. The students even at this young age can be activist for a cause they believe in. As they continue with their education, we can have them reach out of their neighborhood and become global thinkers. Start sharing their ideas with people at large and communicating with people abroad.