Sunday, December 21, 2008

Technology and Literacy

As I began to read the Pennsylvania Literacy Framework, I became both agitated and excited. Agitated, because I feel that on so many levels, we, as teachers, are missing the mark and excited because it appears that the teaching of literacy is changing and technology appears to be driving much of that change. As a technology educator, I was a little surprised to see that the authors of the Framework agree with my premise that the 'new demands' of: information on the Internet, AudioBooks, and self-publishing were changing the face of literacy in the 21st century. Many times I feel very alone, with no support, so I also agree with the Framework that teamwork, coherence and continuity are keys to improving literacy in this tough, urban environment that I work in.

One must give students a purpose for reading. That purpose can be enhanced with technology--our tech-savvy students can read interactive books on line--books with animated illustrations and sounds. I know many students who can text but can't read well. I wish I had a bank of computers in my classroom that would allow me to tap into the 'magic' of the Internet to enhance the literacy of students.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Introduce Blogs in Your Classroom

I am grateful that many teachers have the foresight to be interested in technology and be aware of its use as another literacy tool. Blogs can encourage creative expression and contribute to literacy improvement. There are now many student blogs (guided by teachers) on the Internet. One of the better-known ones is David Huffaker (2004) on the First Monday website (a peer-reviewed online journal) ( /index.html ) has an excellent article of the use of blogs in the classroom. The Internet is changing so fast, it's hard to keep up with it, but as educators, we have to be aware of technology's role in the lives of our students.

“What is an educated person?” If you ask that question of ten different educators, you will invariably receive ten different answers. The Michigan State University website (n.d.) lists at least nine traits of an educated person, one of the traits being: “to develop skills that respond to changing professional requirements and new challenges in society and the world at large. While no one has the definitive answer at to education’s purpose, few would argue that one of an educator’s objectives is to nurture, mentor and prepare students to live in a dynamically changing world—a world that will be radically different from the one we live in today. We know that our students are ‘digital natives’, a term coined by educational software designer Marc Prensky; as teachers, we need to become more acclimated to their digitally-enhanced environment. If we don’t, Ellis (1997) had a serious admonition for educators: “Technology will never replace teachers -- but, those who use technology will replace those who do not.”


Ellis, K. (1997) Educational cyber playground. Retrieved April 30, 2007 from:

Huffaker, D. (2004). The Educated Blogger; Using Weblogs to Promote Literacy in the Classroom, Retrieved October 28, 2007 from:

Michigan State University, (n.d.). An educated person, Michigan State University, Office of the Provost, first paragraph, Retrieved April 18, 2007, from: