Add Digital Literacy to Literacy Learning

Teachers work hard to ensure most activities include some kind of literacy component. In the context of today’s electronic learning and working environments, this literacy learning must include technological literacy. Instead of simply adding technology lessons to their curricula, it is important for teachers to learn how to incorporate technology into daily learning. Teachers enrolled in a master’s degree in literacy program can expect to develop more inclusive literacy curricula that integrate technology seamlessly.

Characteristics of Teaching Literacy

In order to integrate technology into literacy learning, teachers need to develop a plan that includes established classroom characteristics. First, students need a learner-centered classroom that delivers differentiated instruction. This may include iPad stations where kids log on to receive their personal learning instructions for the day, or it might also involve stations where students can blog about their learning throughout the day. These classroom features create an automatic digital portfolio of learning reflections.

Second, students in the classroom should learn how to be producers. When students learn to set goals and achieve them through a series of progressive steps, they are learning to produce content (their own or someone else’s) in a manner the outside world expects.

Third, technology can demonstrate global connectivity. Students can comment on blogs from other students across the country or around the world; they can even Skype with other classrooms. Some students have even taken pictures of their classrooms and schools and shared them on Instagram to show other students how things look where they live. Comments from students in other schools can help teachers demonstrate the value of connectedness.

Teaching Appropriate Digital Use

While the following may seem obvious to teachers accustomed to modeling good behavior, it is critical that teachers explicitly model how to use technology appropriately. Teachers enrolled in a master’s degree in literacy program spend a good deal of time online researching, writing and collaborating. As such, these teachers understand how to use social media, email and blogging appropriately, and they can pass this information on to their students. Learning experientially can help teachers explain why the careful use of technology makes good sense.

How to Accommodate Changing Students

Today’s classrooms are more diverse than ever, and students are accustomed to accessing information instantly. Teaching these students how to assess the information they find is imperative. Once they learn how to evaluate their digital worlds, they can concentrate on being creative with what they have learned. Teachers developing new literacy learning curricula should consider the iPod Touch as a first step to entering the digital world. These small-but-powerful devices can help kids access information quickly, they are easy to store, and they give teachers access to hundreds of thousands of apps to improve literacy in the classroom.

Learn more about the CSUSM online MA in Education, Literacy program.


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