“The more control you think you have the more you want to read.”

May 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Posted in literacy, Technology | 4 Comments

Post written by Jessica Vito

After leaving class on Saturday I continued to think about the powerful clip “Pay Attention” I was both excited and overwhelmed with the idea of using technology to teach students about literacy in the classroom. I wanted to know more, so I searched for what other teachers have done to implement technology into their own classroom. I found an article called “Connecting the Old to the New: What Technology-Crazed

Adolescents tell us about Teaching Content Area Literacy” by Lane W. Clarke and  Kevin D. Besnoy.  The article discusses how two teachers use PDA’s in the classroom to learn about Colonial America giving students intrinsic motivation to learn the content.

How cool is this?

 Soon there was a cacophony of beeps as students sent each other questions from the reading to other students. As soon as one student would receive the memo, they would start typing with their stylus on the internal keyboard to respond.

It seems obvious that our students are most familiar reading information digitally and with Nooks, IPods, IPads, Kindles and cell phones the future will be instead of handing out a class set of textbooks, will here teachers tell students, “Okay guys, don’t forget to bring in your USB chords so we can download our textbooks tomorrow!”. In fact, even for this class our textbook is available to be downloaded onto a Kindle.  At that point I really was wishing I had one, but instead I had to drive down to our college’s bookstore to purchase the book in person so I would have it in time for our next class.

I have titled this blog as such because “The more control you think you have the more you want to read.” Is a quote from the article by an 8th grader involved in the study.  They go onto explain how they were able to adjust the font, highlight, underline and even change to color to fit their personality. As a teacher I believe that we can also give students more control by giving more than one choice in text to read as well. Tailoring the level of difficulty of texts we give to our students will be much easier as the amount of digital text increases.



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  1. Jess, I love the idea of bringing technology into the classroom, as you said and I think “Bring your USB chords…” thats quite the different take on textbooks and begs the question would students be more receptive to digital text or less. I have freinds and family who swear by their kindles, and others who refuse to try one. I wonder where our students would fall. Another interesting to think about is why hasn’t this college taken this approach as well. It preaches these ideas but doesn’t follow through with possibly the exception of Joe Priola’s class and this one.

  2. I also left class after watching the clip feeling excited and slightly overwhelmed. For myself I think that feeling comes from a realization that things will be changing significantly in the way we educate as time moves on. Changing the technologies we use and the way we educate is a huge step for many long time educators and must shake the foundations of many who have taught using the techniques and technologies of the past. When it comes to online texts I have a constant internal battle. I love the idea of reducing paper text. Fewer text books means less of an impact on the environment which never hurts, not to mention more room in class rooms and less hassle for students. I can think of times where trying to lug numerous texts to various classes has irritated me to no end. I wonder if I didnt have all those text, would I not have been irritated at that time and been able to absorb more of the lessons I was being taught?
    But here is my problem with digital texts…
    I can not sit down and read digital texts for a significant amount of time. If I needed to read more than five pages on line for an assignment, I wouldn’t be able to do it. After just reading a couple blogs and responding to this, my brow is pulsing and I can feel the muscles in my forhead and around my temples tightening. I get terrible headaches from staring at a screen for too long. I have found some ways to avoid this, such as highlighting everything so the background is dark and the words are white, but that is not possible to do all the time. When I usually have an assignemt to read some sort of text online, I end up printing it out. I assume that I am not the only human that has this problem with reading from a screen, and I wonder if that is something that would be addressed if classrooms were to switch from contemporary text to digital form.

  3. The crazy thing about that video is what is it going to be like when we are about to retire? Lets say its 30 years from now, what is school going to be like then? Instead of bringing our jumpdrives to class we may be having class at home in front of the computer. It amazes me how quickly the tablet reader caught on and it has only been a few years. It is crazy how advanced the world around us is getting and hoping that the education system follows!

  4. I have not forced students to take a textbook home with them in 2 years. I have a classroom set in my room, and then the students are able to access the entire textbook online at home. This is so handy because lets face it, textbooks weight a ton! Not only can they access the textbook online, but they can click on a number of resources contained right in the problem set or text. If they were using the traditional paper textbook, they would have to seek out a computer, get online, find the website – and how many students would do that? Online texts are definitely the wave of the future!

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