Teaching (Digital) Literacy: Driving Students to the Intersection of Reading, Writing, & Discussion

--Originally published at Baker's B.Y.O.D.-- Bring Your Own Device, Dog, & Deconstruction of Literature

Part of my job as an English teacher is to teach students how to read, analyze, talk, and write about texts in both paper-based and digital formats. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) in an article published in August of 2018, "In recent years, less than 20 percent of U.S. teens report reading a book, magazine or newspaper daily for pleasure, while more than 80 percent say they use social media every day." Furthermore, “Compared with previous generations, teens in the 2010s spent more time online and less time with traditional media, such as books, magazines and television,” said lead author Jean M. Twenge, PhD, author of the book iGen and professor of psychology at San Diego State University, “Time on digital media has displaced time once spent enjoying a book or watching TV.” While students are reading plenty of digital texts, I wonder how well they are able to analyze, talk, and write about them.  By integrating such edtech tools as Edpuzzle, Formative, Actively Learn, and the G Suite for Education in to teaching practices, we can drive students to the intersection of reading, writing, and discussion so that they can practice skills that they can use both in and out of the classroom.

I had the opportunity to collaborate with the venerable and uber-intelligent Natalie S., the senior researcher from Actively Learn on a workshop session that we gave at CUE and NCTE-CEL in 2017. The above linked article from APA reinforces the importance of teaching digital literacy skills to my students. We cannot assume that student are proficient digital natives.  The activities showcased in the slides provide teachers with lesson examples that cover a range of assignments:

  • Quick, Do Now annotation of an image with Formative
  • Flipped Learning style audiobooks that include checks for understanding with Edpuzzle
  • Daily reading lessons that include checks for understanding and opportunities for annotation and digital discussion with Actively Learn
  • Extended writing tasks that integrate annotated texts with Google Docs

Check out our slides and learn how you, too, can drive learners to the intersection of reading, writing, and discussion.

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