Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use:
A Standards-Based Approach
In going along with the topic brought up by this blogger and commented on in this entry, I found a book that directly addresses using technology in the classroom in a MEANINGFUL way. On page 316, there is a chart with a list of activities that incorporate technology meaningfully and are applicable to the ELA classroom.
One that stuck out to me the most was listed under “Communication and Collaboration” this particular activity focused on using technology and writing along with a novel study! This type of thing always interests me because of the sheer volume of things to cover in a classroom. If an activity incorporates writing, technology, collaboration, AND a novel study, it’s golden. This activity allows for students to create blogs, brochures, websites, newspaper articles, etc. all about the novel that they are reading as a class or issues discussed in the novel. This could be a great practice in writing for different genres or audiences.
For example, one student in a classroom studying The Great Gatsby might create a pamphlet on the “dangers” of alcohol consumption because of the time of prohibition.
Students could view a clip from the feature film Water for Elephants that depicts a raid on a speakeasy.
After viewing the clip, have students write the scene from the perspective of one of the characters. It can be one of the main characters (many students may have read the novel), or from the perspective of a band member, police officer, or another person enjoying their evening in the speakeasy.
“Developing Multiple Literacies in a Website Project”
By Lucy K. Spence
For The Reading Teacher, 62(7)
Lucy Spence is a teacher of ESL students in South Carolina. Although her students were in the second grade, I think that all of the information in this article as well as the idea behind the project itself is useful for ALL teachers because it emphasizes the importance of tapping into our students unique “funds of knowledge.”
The project was to teach computer literacy to a group of ESL students who were still struggling through gaining literacy in English. Most did not have access to computers at home, and needed “rudimentary skills such as capitalizing letters using a keyboard.” Spence acknowledged that something that her group of students had in common, was the strong influence of Mexican culture on their lives. They knew a lot about this subject and were eager to write about it and share it with the world. Through the collaboration Lucy Spence with other teachers at her school as well as community members who volunteered their knowledge of computer programs, etc., the students were able to achieve an impressive website that was designed, written, and created by 2nd graders.
See the interactive website here: Mexican Heritage
What I learned from this example was that students should be allowed and encouraged to tap into their resources and write about what they know. The products that they come up with are of better quality and their commitment to the project is much higher. Also (especially with the example of the ESL students,) the use of a students culture makes them and their FAMILIES feel appreciated and encourages involvement at home. This is an effect that Spence saw in her classroom and that I hope to see in mine.
Secondly, I can really see the importance of teaching multiple literacies through writing projects in this example. The students left this project with a better understanding of English, their own culture, and how to use a computer. If all projects included multiple literacies, students would be able to achieve a lot more in shorter periods of time. I think Spence has the right idea!
Here is Spence’s Lesson Plan on Website Planning in a Bilingual Classroom.
Another WordPress Blog by a fellow writing teacher
This blog’s entry focuses on the negative effects that technology can have in the classroom where it is used “just for technology’s sake.” I think that it is important that I keep this in mind as I go along in my research and further into student teaching because I am so excited by the possibilities of using the technology. The purpose of it in all of the articles and books that I am reading, is to AID in the teaching of writing, not to be thrown in so that I look like I am up-to-date and know what I am doing.
While many of my resources are merely singing the praises of the new resources and their use in the classroom, it is important for me to stay grounded and remember the methods that have always worked while I try to be an innovator.
Review of : Podcasting and Performativity: Multimodal Invention in an Advanced Writing Class
By Jones, Leigh A.
For Composition Studies; Fall2010, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p75-91
One thing that I see emphasized in classes that I take as well as on many of the teacher blogs or in teacher books about writing, is the use of multimedia or multigenre in a writing class. This article focuses on using Podcasting as a way for students to create original work and perform without the pressures of a live audience. This particular instructor used the Podcasts as a part of the writing process as I did the blog format in one of my classroom activities. I can see how Podcasts would be a great genre for students to use in a research paper. I am really interested in the possibility of using Podcasts in this way because of the result of community that Jones found developed immediately through the Podcast project. She claims to have seen a classroom community with worthwhile workshops and good feedback develop from the use of these Podcasts. Also, this allows students to explore writing a script for a Podcast in different rhetorical voices, or for different audiences; both of which are important skills that seem to be better explained through performance
I think that Podcasts could be very useful to assign along with the Grammar Wiki-Space.
My students not only created a quick reference guide, but recorded themselves giving Grammar Mini-Lessons that could be listened to or read for a more in-depth explanation?
This assignment sounds like a great integration of content and two types of technology that will enhance the learning of my students as well as create an excellent resource for them to refer to from then on.
Podcasts are not as scary as they might sound, see this video “Podcasting – Plain English”
A great example of this type of Grammar reference Podcast would be Grammar Girl’s site: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. Listen to this example on the “controversial” use of the word FUN as an adjective.
This activity would explore the use of blogs as a step in the Research/Writing Process.
It would also introduce students to the technology and facilitate learning in how to use it correctly.
Students could find their sources, review them, and write their findings on the blog. This would help them to get feedback from their peers as to the crediblility of the sources as well as how they can be used. They also would end up with a type of working outline that they could move around that included links to the various sources of information that they choose to use in their research paper. The inquiry question could be their topic of research, and their conclusion would be the research paper itself. It would give a chance for the teacher to keep up with the students progress throughout the process of writing their papers as well as give other students a chance to see what their peers are doing and get an idea, or help steer their peers in the right direction. I think that this activity shows a realistic and exciting application of technology to a process that normally seems difficult and drawn out for high school students. By putting all of their research in one place, they will be able to keep track of where they are and write a more coherent paper.
This blog is AWESOME for lots of reasons. One of my favorites being that it is in itself a collaborative writing experiment that works! Many of the articles that I have read suggest using blogs or wikis as a space for students to practice collaborative writing. This particular blog has SO MANY authors and they each write entries, contributing to one of the largest accumulations of reflection, research, and activities for writing on WordPress. This would not only serve as an excellent resource for writing teachers looking to see ideas in practice, but also as an example of how successful a blog space can be for collaborative writing.
Review of :
“Using the Internet to Teach Composition”
By Patrick Sullivan
For Teaching English in the Two Year College. Urbana Sep 2000 Vol 28 Iss. 1 p21-31
This article discusses the advantages of using an online discussion forum in a writing class. Many of the issues that Sullivan addresses are real ones that I can see play out in many upper-level undergraduate courses that I am currently taking. This suggests to me that his ideas can work in an environment with students at many different levels. Students who do not normally speak out in class are encouraged by the NON face-to-face experience of a discussion forum, where social cues and expectations no longer play a role in what they will share with the class. Also, the knowledge that everything that they create will be “published” to the Internet and read by many different people automatically inspires a higher quality in student writing. Without the constraint of class-time, the students are allowed to produce writing and express their thoughts in a volume that would otherwise be impossible. Writing allows for students to really develop their thoughts and think about what exactly they are trying to say and how to say it clearly. All of these are great benefits in classes with large numbers and not enough time to get every single student involved in discussion and producing writing for several audiences rather than just the teacher. I think that this article accumulates most of the points made by scholars who are in favor of implementing online resources in writing classes and expresses them in a clear and concise format with real-world examples from his classroom that show them in action. However, in one of the articles last sections, Sullivan emphasizes that using online discussion does NOT by any means make teaching writing easy. He notes that the concepts and importance of content are still present, but utilizing tools at your dispense makes you a resourceful teacher.