During testing yesterday, a teacher commented that her students were struggling to write the required responses on the computer. She said they had been writing every day, but don’t have access to computers to draft their work on, so they aren’t composing electronically. This is problematic because the standardized tests are taken electronically.
At a social event, I attended over the weekend teachers suggested they have been teaching just fine for the past 30 years, why now must the Common Core come along and tell them they have to change everything? Hasn’t what they’ve been doing worked? They think it has been quite effective.
Twitter is bursting with the hashtag #digilit.
I want to read a new book, and it’s a lot cheaper on my Kindle. Do I save the money and have it now or order a hard copy? Immediacy and portability vs. the ability to stick notes inside the pages and jot in the margins? That’s really helpful in book clubs. I can refer to a page. People with Kindles always say, “Oh, I read it on my device” so they can’t tell us which page to refer to. I’m sure there’s a way to do this on the Kindle. But no one I know has figured it out yet.
Jeanette Isaly, a 4th-grade teacher, played this beautiful Ted Talk; Every Kid Needs A Champion, by Rita Pierson for her students yesterday. They listened hard and were moved with emotion.
I read a Washington Post article that fascinates me. There are hyperlinks to resources that I disregard until I reach the end of the article; then I come back to check out the links. Sometimes this takes me down a rabbit hole, and I’m tied up for an hour working my way through an article. I learn a lot, but I take a lot of time.
I get an email from NCTE. I love NCTE. I can’t believe I haven’t attended one of their conferences until this school year. It was an amazing experience. So much literacy. In the email is an article about a new book by Franki Sibberson and William L. Bass called Digital Reading: What’s Essential in Grades 3-8. Suddenly all the seemingly random events start to come together. Digital Literacy.
You can hear an interview with the authors and read the first chapter online here. (How generous! Thank you, NCTE!) This brought it all home. Digital literacy isn’t just being able to navigate the web, play Minecraft or use a Kindle. It’s all of that and more. Franki & Bill make a compelling argument for why we cannot teach as we have for the past 30 years (for those fortunate enough to have been teaching so long!) One reason is the world is changing exponentially. Watch Did You Know 2015? I’m pretty sure you’ll agree. This short video Did You Know, in 2028 is also pretty compelling even if you don’t buy everything it suggests. If we want our students to be prepared for the demands they face in their world, we cannot teach them the way we were taught. But Franki & Bill delineate what digital reading means for classroom teachers. Here are a few key points:
- Digital literacy needs to be integrated as a regular part of the school day. Not as an add-on. It must be integrated.
- Students need instruction on navigating linear text in digital format, non-linear text with hyperlinks, texts with integrated media and texts with response options.
- Skills we have always taught into must be expanded with digital tools. For example, determining importance: new digital tools aren’t always linear. They have hyperlinks and embedded videos that make this a much more complex skill. We need to plan teaching points and support around the digital elements.
I can’t wait for Digital Reading’s release later this month. And I know the next book I read is going to be on my e-reader. If we’re going to teach it, we’ve got to use it! (Franki & Bill will be hosting a Twitter chat, #nctechat on Sunday, May 17 at 5pm PDT.)
Here are a few more resources I have been exploring around digital literacy:
- This one is a powerpoint on Self As A Digital Reader & Writer.
- This one helps when considering the role Digital Literacy plays in your workshop teaching.
- And this one talks about What Digital Literacy Looks Like in A Classroom. (Thank you, Cornelious Minor, for sharing it via Twitter!) It debunks the “myth of the digital native”. That’s a fascinating read.
- LitLearnAct, Two Literature Teachers Learning Together and Sharing’s site was recommended by Fran McVeigh. They have SO much to explore and learn from.
What is your understanding of digital literacy? Why do you think it is important to make digital literacy part of your regular instruction? Let’s continue the conversation and the journey together.