Some of us are more excited to admit it than others. This generation of children is growing up in a world where technology is not only part of who they are, but a crucial part of them knowing how to function in our society. As much as some adults try to limit their children’s exposure to these new technologies for fear of the unknown, we must also be realistic in the idea that children NEED to be able to learn how to keep up with these changes.
Digital and media technologies are continuing to evolve and our students need to be able to evolve right along side of them. Preparing and helping them adjust to new technologies is just as crucial as teaching them how to read and write.
Incorporating digital learning and technology into literacy instruction is something that can be done, even if you do not have a strong tech background! There are some amazing tools and resources out there for educators to utilize when planning for purposeful instruction. Below are a few of my favorites that I regularly find myself going back towards because of high-level of student engagement, all while exposing our students to literacy-rich instruction.
I love seeing so many teachers jump right in to the new digital #wordstheirway platform! The students are so engaged and loving this new tool! @mitchell_teach #sd113a @PearsonPreK12 pic.twitter.com/D91a3h7ZRg
— Liz Janusz (@mrs_janusz) February 13, 2019
- Digital Text Annotations
Annotating different pieces of text is already a powerful activity, but adding in a digital component where students can all collaborate together, brings it to a whole new level. One of the easiest ways to do this is to utilize the G-Suite platform. Google Slides typically works best for this as students can create a slidedeck with many different pages, one piece of text on each slide. Since these can easily be shared with others, students are then encouraged to collaborate as they work together to understand the deeper meanings of different texts. Having this level of collaboration while annotating the same piece of text allows for deep, meaningful conversations between students. If you’re a Pearson Realize user then they have an exciting, new integration with Google that helps you bring in the content all into one spot.
- Publishing Writing Pieces
This year, my school district has implemented a new writing curriculum and we are asking our students to do more writing than they ever have done before! While they have done an amazing job of rising to the occasion, we also have been busy working on publishing their final pieces as a celebration! One fun program that offers a lot of unique features is Book Creator, a free online program. This is exactly what it sounds like! The students are given a book template and are able to then turn their writing into a published book that can then be proudly displayed for all to read!
- Online Subscriptions
There are so many amazing online literacy programs out there, some free and some paid! They all offer very different reading components, but they also all provide the same engaging literacy experience. Students can log on and find books and/or articles that are at the right level for them and navigate through it independently. Each program usually includes some sort of comprehension check as well. Some of them have vocabulary focused activities and some have extended response type questions. The best part, the teacher can provide individual, immediate feedback to each student based on how he/she did.
Liz Janusz is an Instructional Coach with an emphasis in ELA. She currently is working at River Valley School in Lemont, IL with supporting 3rd-5th grade students and teachers. She has previously worked as a reading specialist and as a classroom teacher before transitioning into her coaching role. Liz has received her Master’s degree in Reading from Roosevelt University. She has a huge passion for ensuring that ALL students should have access to a diverse selection of books. You can follow Liz on Twitter at @mrs_janusz as she shares book reviews, and other tips and ideas, for all different ages of students.