Digital Literacy Journey: Messy and Organic

Margaret Simon, of Reflections on The Techehas started this wonderful Sunday link up on how we are using technology to enhance literacy in our classrooms. Read all the posts that link up with her on Sundays and learn!

My digital literacy journey in the classroom has been messy and interesting. It has been less than perfect and has taken more time than anticipated. While I’d like to be the master of all knowledge and be able to direct students to the best apps to enhance their learning, but I can’t. So I give them time to try things out. They are the testers and the teachers.

We test things out mostly outside reading and writing blocks, during Genius Hour time, tech team (at recess), and after school. Technology takes experimentation and time. Once things seem to be doable and  applicable for reading or writing we’ll take the tech there.

I give students the time (Genius Hour is once a week) and the trust to explore. I might introduce them to an app or a site and ask them if they would like to play with it to see what they can make of it. Sometimes we run into roadblocks, like we did with Animoto and Smores. Both are fantastic tools but the lack of bandwidth at school stopped us cold, so we set it aside while the district works on upgrades.

Students  welcome the opportunity to learn and teach technology. They are passionate about it and pursue it as choice. What students find and share becomes reason for them to come in off the yard at recess and after school to experiment on their own time.

Stopmotion and Paper 53 (a sketch pad/story boarding tool) were discovered by “T” and “M” through the Animation Chef’s website. Students loved their short animations and found these apps help them compose and tell story.

Our current dilemma is writing about reading on the blog. Blogging about reading is one way students discuss their books. It allows for comments and feedback. Clarifications have been made and concerns about spoiling the story have been cited. Both allow for us to grow as a community of readers and writers.

Organic and messy in nature we are working together  to increase our digital literacy.

Next Steps..  I’m looking to introduce  Padlet  for our read aloud discussion. Students can post their comments or questions immediately after read aloud. If we get good at this, what’s to stop us from using this as a tool for posting questions on the books they are reading in clubs. The other way I’m thinking about using Padlet is to enhance our argument writing. Currently students are working on whether zoos are good or bad. I’ve linked a web page to this Padlet. They can read and comment and even copy quotes for their essays. Perhaps share their own links to support their positions.

Thanks to all who linked up today. I got some great ideas. I’m looking forward to using Thinglink with students for our Colonial work coming up in May (thank you Tara for those virtual tours and the connection to Thinglink) and Soundcloud to add to their blog posts on poetry (thanks to Kevin and Linda for being great mentors).

Thank you Margaret for this link up and all for adding so much to my digital literacy.