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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Does Technology Require Different Literacy Strategies?

 I received the following article via ASCD Smart Brief recently and quickly reviewed it, thinking I would post it on the literacy and technology blog.  However, as I thought about it, I decided to post it here as well.

In the introduction to this article, the author equates the use of the cell phone to higher performance on  assessments.   Unfortunately, the focus is on the cell phone - the use of technology - rather than the difference in instructional strategies.  

From a strategic point of view, the cell phone assignment to read and summarize the main idea of each stanza and then text it to the teacher is a very different process than reading, reciting, and discussing.  The cognitive task of summarizing, requires comprehension of the content and the text structure as well as prioritizing the terms - usually key concepts - used, and then restating the main idea in ones own words.  This is a much higher level of thinking and students have traditionally struggled with this process.  

Technology does play a role.  While we all agree the cell phone provides engagement,  the medium of texting  requires short and limited - reinforcing the idea of summarizing.

However, many teachers are still uncomfortable with technology.  I suggest we look beyond the technology itself and think about the literacy strategies required in these various mediums and how it is slowly changing our idea of literacy.

Take a few minutes and read the following article.  Please post a comment and let us know what you think.

Remember to join us on May 6 from 3:15-4:15 to hear about the literacy  strategies developed through blogging.

Text messaging is used to help students learn poetry
Students in a New York state middle school who used cell phones and text messaging to learn about poetry outperformed their peers who learned through traditional methods. Students used the phones to text the main idea of poetry stanzas. Those who did got 80% of poetry questions correct on state exams, while those who were taught in traditional methods of using reading, reciting and discussing answered 40% of the questions correctly. The Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.)

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