Chapter 4: Literacy and New Technologies


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PED 4177 A – Professor Slomp

Group members: Kyle Doucette, Bryan Hofbauer, Scott Mainprize,

Christina Pendergest, Josie Brady, Alex Rüthlein



Chapter 4: Literacy and New Technologies

Key features of the theory:

The advancements in technology have changed the way we define literacy.
We have seen a move from words to images and from books to screens. Literacy no longer refers to just reading and writing printed text but any means of communicating and representing. There are new terms being used such as literacies, media-literacy, digital-literacy, multiliteracies, new-literacies and moving-image literacy. These should be incorporated into the classroom.
By not incorporating new technology in the classroom, teachers are creating dissonance between home and school which leads the child to be disengaged in the classroom.
Children are exposed to all kinds of media and technology outside of school; it is an enormous part of their everyday life and will always be. It only makes sense, then, that they would also be exposed to these things in school where they are learning to be a productive and functioning member of society. This disconnect does not prepare students for life outside of school. Children are used to absorbing information through images and fast-paced media which makes the traditional style of reading and writing words on paper seem exhausting and boring; students are no longer engaged when taught in this manner because their brains have become accustomed to acquiring information in a different way. It is up to us, as teachers, to find the most effective way of delivering information to the student.
With the introduction of new technology, there are 3 more roles a teacher must now take on: resource manager, co-constructor of knowledge and design consultant
Resource manager: “…needs to ensure that, overall, resources are sufficiently broad and balanced to facilitate effective learning”. Basically the resource manager provides students with resources.
Co-constructor of knowledge: the teacher learns with the students, as often with the rate of technological advancements, the students will know as much or more than the teacher about the technology.
Design consultant: if the student takes on the role of text designer, then the teacher must take on the role of design consultant to give feedback and advice, having an expert knowledge not of the technology but of the curriculum and expectations.
Technology should not be used to simply make better the existing methods of learning and teaching, but should bring to the table new ways and a transformation of curricula and pedagogy.
Often teachers use technology for the technology’s sake. They use it to improve on old methods of learning rather than coming up with new, more engaging methods. For example, as previously mentioned, students are used to fast-paced media and moving-image literacy; they do not learn nearly as effectively by simply reading a text book. Why then, would we use technology such as a power point presentation to display written notes taken directly from the text book? Instead, we should be using this technology to show videos of the content or to play an educational game where students will remain engaged and consequently learn.

Literacy skills, knowledge, and understandings emphasized in this theory:

Skills, Knowledge and Understandings

· The ‘digitally at home’ student – firm technological base of knowledge and understandings
o Children become competent in using digital technologies from a very young age and the lack of attention by
educators to this experience creates dissonance between home and school experiences.

· In the article, “Planning Pedagogy for I-Mode: From Flogging to Blogging Via Wi-Fi”, Lankshear and Knobel, discuss
four different authors of digital texts: text designer, text bricoleur, text mediator or broker, and text jammer.

o Text Designer: This author of texts is very creative because designing something means taking a resource,
remaking it, and orchestrating it differently. A good example of this is designing a Smartboard or Prezi presentation.
o Text Bricoleur: This author has the ability to pull from a number of on-hand resources to create a text. As an
author named Sherry Turkle says, "The bricoleur resembles the painter who stands back between brushstrokes,
looks at their canvas, and only after this contemplation, decides what to do next”. When applied to web-bases
chatting, a student is able to author a text in this manner.
o Text Broker: This author is like an online critic; someone who writes on blogs, reviews, or articles and rates
texts to help other readers discern whether or not they want to engage in that text. One in-class strategy is
having students post book, movie, or web-site summaries on a class wiki, to help other students decide whether
they want to engage in.
o Text Jammer: This author is able to change the meaning of a text by adapting it. This could be a student who
posts a Youtube video with an overdubbed voice narrative, or someone who edits an online photo to render an
alternate meaning.

· Comprehension Skills
o The ability to understand story structure, recognize genre, infer meanings and predict outcomes, is partly
being fostered by narrative experiences in non-print media.

· Video/Computer Games (research is still very new)
o Can possibly improve skills like problem-solving, negotiation, thinking, reasoning, and risk-taking.
o New possibilities for imaginative play, learning, and the exploration of physical, social and even moral
possibilities – narrative structure.
o Traditional literacy skills change from conventional speed to twitch speed, linear processing to parallel
processing, step by step to random access, text first to graphic first, work-oriented to play-oriented, and stand
alone to connected.
o Increases a student’s classroom engagement and motivation to learn.

Links to Curriculum


Every compulsory course in the grade 11 and 12 Curriculum documents is divided into 4 strands: Oral Communication, Reading and Literature Studies, Writing, and Media Studies. The purpose of this section is to highlight ways that we, as teachers, can incorporate new technologies into our curriculum-based classrooms. I will proceed by presenting what students are required to learn and briefly giving ideas for new technologies that can be used to achieve a wide-range of overall and specific expectations.

o In the Oral Communication strand, students are required to understand texts by listening and by communicate through speech. This can be accomplished by incorporating a number of new technologies into the classroom. Some possible ideas are: having cell phone conversations, communicating to others through Skype, creating radio broadcasts/YouTube videos/podcasts/or television commercials, and/or listening to slam poetry on YouTube.
o In the Reading and Literature Studies strand, students are required to read with fluency and for the purpose of constructing meaning, and to understand a variety of forms and styles. A teacher can teach this strand by using the internet as a valuable resource. There are so many different forms of texts to read online, like E-books, newspaper articles, emails, and graphic texts. Another idea is using various Smartboard programs that allow for different reading strategies, like a pull down screen that covers certain words allowing for students to rely upon informed predictions (ie. What word should come next based upon the pattern of this sentence or poem).
o In the Writing strand, students are required to apply their knowledge of writing conventions, forms and styles, and to develop and organize information for the purpose of writing. To help with writing, some teachers can really take advantage of the Smartboard by scanning students work onto their computer and displaying it for the class. Using the highlighters or edit functions, a teacher can show students exactly what needs to be improved in their writing. This also provides a good opportunity for students to engage in a presentation of their writing for the class or to have their work examined by the whole class. Students can also use the internet as a vehicle for researching various writing conventions or building a character profile before writing. Another idea is having students write blog entries, make a Facebook page on a book character, or have students self-assess one another using the ‘Comments’ tool on Microsoft Word.
o In the Media Studies strand, students are required to create and understand media texts, as well as have an understanding of various media forms, conventions, and techniques. This strand is almost specifically designed for new technologies so it is an easy strand to address. Students can examine a website to understand various presentation techniques, study films, make movies or television commercials, take pictures with cell phones, and/or engage in work with photograph editing.

*Every strand emphasizes a need for students to reflect on and identify their own strengths and weaknesses (in relation to the strand being covered), and to be familiar with a number of strategies that have helped them to understand or create various texts.


Planning lessons and units using this approach:

Teachers need to assess the knowledge, experience, and skills students have with an array of multimodal and multimedia texts, both as users and producers. Areas should include computing, gaming, TV, video, movies and animation.

Examples of educational/assessment activities:

Activity 1 – Have students go to the computer lab and play “Samorost 2” an award winning adventure, puzzle, and brain teaser game. The game tells a story and has the player constantly figuring out what’s being communicated in order to make their next move. The game’s world is surreal both graphically and audibly. With no instructions, students will show whether they can figure out how to play. A group discussion that follows will have them share their likes, dislikes as well as how much and what type of gaming they usually play.

Activity 2
Part 1 – After providing students with an exemplar and scaffolding for various camera moves, students will storyboard the experience of getting up in the morning. The storyboards can be realistic or fictional and will assess the students understanding of what goes into a moving picture.
Part 2 – Scan the students’ storyboards and have them create wiki pages for their favorite frame of their storyboards. Their wiki needs to include a video and a photograph that share similar qualities with the frame. The design of the wiki page should look as good as possible. This activity assesses the students’ computer skills, design skills, ability to navigate the net and their ability to compare different mediums.

Activity 3 – Screen a commercial and ask students to describe the sound design, production design, camera angles and movements, wardrobe, hair, makeup, picture edit, and lighting that were used as well as why they think these choices were made. This should be written down and handed in and will give the teacher a sense of the students understanding of the language used in TV, film and video.

Examples of educational/assessment questions:

· How do you use language differently when social networking, emailing, texting or writing for class?
· Why do we sometimes connect better with animation over live action?


Activities that reflect the theory:
1. Computer / Internet

a) E-learning Ontario
Online Courses
The Ministry of Education provides an extensive selection of online course material that is aligned with the Ontario curriculum. Materials are created by teachers for teachers and are free for all students and teachers in Ontario. E-learning is supposed to enhance and complement classroom learning, and provide more flexibility to students.

Resource Bank
The Ontario education resource bank (OERB) offers over 23 000 resources from K to 12 and over 8 700 videos. These resources are readily available for both teachers and students in Ontario.

Webinars for E-learning
To learn more about e-learning Ontario attend one of the webinars:
-> http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/elearning/parent.html

b) Video-games
Video games are an integral part in the lives of today’s youth. By utilizing this medium for education, schools can bridge the gap between learning and playing. This can increase student motivation and enhance the learning experience multi-modally. Unfortunately, edutainment is not a large market yet, and teachers often have to settle for free-ware of minor quality that is not overly appealing to students.
Info: -> http://educationarcade.org/

Examples:
-> http://gamestarmechanic.com/
-> http://www.unicef.org/voy/explore/rights/explore_3142.html

c) Comics, graphic novels
Make your own
In contrast to video-games, the tools to create comics on the computer (from single strips to graphic novels) are numerous and of competitive quality. These programs are attractive for teachers because they provide an opportunity to let students create graphic or mixed texts, or have students convert existing texts into the comic genre. The medium is relatively new and interesting to children and they no longer have to be artistically inclined in order to engage in the medium.
-> http://www.scholastic.com/amulet/makeyourown/
-> http://superherosquad.marvel.com/create_your_own_comic
-> http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/

Interactive Comics
-> http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/studentlife/games/crashcourse/

d) Electronic school newspaper
Electronic school newspapers provide the same opportunities as traditional student newspapers (researching, creating, editing, and selecting texts in combination with graphics) with several advantages (no printing or delivering required). Single issues can easily be created with simple word processing software (such as Microsoft Word).
-> http://www.yourstudentnews.com/ (fee)

e) Online learning networks
Some websites provide content that is tailored to students and teachers. This provides an opportunity to connect the class-room with real life via the medium internet.
-> http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/
-> http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/subjects/english.shtml

f) Class-blog/online communities
Class blogs are a great opportunity to provide students with a platform to express themselves and respond to each other. The internet gives students more freedom and flexibility in their engagement with the activity.
-> www.21classes.com
-> www.edublogs.org

g) Teacher homepage
A teacher homepage has the advantage of reaching students (present or absent) and parents to let them know what is going on in class (lesson content, homework, upcoming assignments, etc.).
-> http://pbworks.com/content/edu+overview?utm_campaign=nav-tracking&utm_source=Homenavigation

h) Teacher Networking
The internet provides the opportunity for teachers to network and share their materials with each other. Professional networking sites give team-work a new dimension.
-> http://www.teachade.com/
-> http://www.teachersnetwork.org/

i) Video-related software
Many operating systems come with video-editing software (Windows Movie Maker, Apple iMovie) that gives students an opportunity to create their own moving-image-texts.
-> http://www.videospin.com/Redesign/

2. Digital Cameras
Let students create posters, collages, photo stories, museum walks, etc.

3. Video Cameras
Let students create their own documentaries or movies.

4. Smartphones (use of Educational Apps)
As with learning related video-games the market for educational applications is still relatively young and does not offer a large selection of products for the ELA classroom.


Implications of the theory and assessment of literary outcomes:
· Perhaps part of the problem with ‘incorporating’ new technologies into our concept of the ‘classroom’ is that new technologies, by their very existence, have changed those classrooms
· Assessment in the new classroom—one that extends beyond four walls filled with desks and books to an infinite on-line community of affinity spaces, blogs, FaceBook and Youtube—must move away from simply assessing a student’s understanding of the themes in Hamlet to assessing how language is used across the pantheon of these new spaces for technological and literary learning
· Assessment should address how the sharing of certain information for short-term goals may affect one’s aspirations in the long-term (the new, three-dimensional, foreshadowing)
· Assessment should address the juxtaposition of grammatically correct ‘proper English’ and the syntax made common across the spaces where new technology occurs (the grammar of new technologies)
· Assessment should address how students understand themselves—where Shakespeare often found it useful to embed the play-within-a-play technique to communicate his most pertinent information, the worlds set up by new technology allow for strategic English teachers to do the same in a real-world context
· As teachers, we need to embrace these new technologies because they are larger than ourselves

Assessments of Literacy with New Technologies Must
· Provide the flexibility to allow for “multiple ways of making meaning; multiliteracies is a commonly used term” (text, p68)
§ This includes, but is not limited to (text, p69)
· Digital literacy
· Media literacy
· Moving image literacy
· Allow for expression of understanding of communication through “written, oral, visual and corporeal forms of meaning making” (text, p.69) with equal validity given to expression in any medium
· From TEEM Report (McFarlane et al., 2002)
o Should address skills, knowledge and understanding in a context relevant to this generation (text,77)
§ (from video games) problem-solving and communication skills
§ personal and social development (motivation, attention and group skills)
§ language and literacy (listening skills, using talk to organize, sequence and clarify thinking)
§ mathematical development (language for positioning, application of numbers)
§ creative development (music, art, design, use of imagination)
§ knowledge and understanding of the world (control software to investigate direction and control)
§ physical development (fine motor control)
§ parallel processing
§ hand/eye coordination and spatial skills
§ understanding of narrative structure

Assessments of Literacy with New Technologies Can…

· understand fluid ways of appreciating ourselves and the roles we play in constructing our society through the roles we play in the creation of new media/affinity spaces—examples such as the provocateur/instigator (Perez Hilton) and even the understanding of follies such as the “virtual-bully” and “virtual stalking”
  • interesting to see how these ways of understanding our selves are not necessarily tide to a life-construct the way previous (generations) defined the self through often unchanging characteristics such as gender, religion and politics
  • self-identification through permeable actions as opposed to an unchanging “self” concept

· Help students to understand what they are saying in the world (understanding the points of view they translate through their new technological out-puts)
  • As apposed to traditional literary assessments that restrict themselves to the texts of/created for the classroom specifically (devoid of the hues of real-world context)
  • Pedagogy to support this—Mikhail Bahktin

· “Bakhtin proposes that all languages represent a distinct point of view on the world, characterized by its own meaning and values. In this view, language is ‘shot through with intentions and accents,’ and thus there are no neutral words. Even the most unremarkable statement possesses a taste, whether of a profession, a party, a generation, a place or a time. To Bakhtin, words do not exist until they are spoken, and that moment they are printed with the signature of the speaker.” (Wikipedia, Bak
  • Utilize technologies that employ multiple literacies simultaneously—e.g. animation is able to combine “voice, gesture, music, image and language” (text, p.77)

Assessment Tool[[#_ftn1|[1]]]

Based on the following Activity:

After providing students with an exemplar and scaffolding for various camera moves, students will storyboard the experience of getting up in the morning. The storyboards can be realistic or fictional and will assess the students ‘understanding of what goes into a moving picture.
Activity 2 part 2– Scan the students’ storyboards and have them create wikipages for their favorite frame of their storyboards. Their wiki needs to include a video and a photograph that share similar qualities with the frame. The design of the wikipage should look as good as possible. This activity assesses the students’ computer skills, design skills, ability to navigate the net and their ability to compare different mediums.



Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Knowledge and Understanding
Understanding of content
(e.g.,concepts; ideas; opinions;
relationships among facts,
ideas,concepts,themes)

Demonstrates limited ability to understand storyboard concept and its meaning in the process of making a video

Demonstrates some ability to understand storyboard concept and its meaning in the process of making a video

Demonstrates considerable ability to understand storyboard concept and its place in the process of making a video

Demonstrates strong ability to understand storyboarding as a concept and its place in the process of making a video

Thinking
Use of critical/creative
thinking processes
(e.g., oral discourse,
research, critical analysis,
critical literacy,metacognition,
creative process)

uses critical/
creative thinking
processes in the comparison of different media
with limited
effectiveness

uses critical/
creative thinking
processesin the comparison of different media
with some
effectiveness

uses critical/
creative thinking
processes in the comparison of different media with
considerable
effectiveness

uses critical/
creative thinking
processes in the comparison of different media with a
high degree of
effectiveness

Communication
Expression and
organization of ideas
and information (e.g., clear
expression, logical organization)
in oral,graphic,and
written forms, including
media forms

expresses and
organizes ideas
and information on the wiki
with limited
effectiveness

expresses and
organizes ideas
and information on the wiki
with some
effectiveness

expresses and
organizes ideas
and information on the wiki
with considerable
effectiveness

expresses and
organizes ideas
and information on the wiki
with a high
degree of
effectiveness

Application
Making connections
within and between various
contexts (e.g., between
the text and personal
knowledge and experience,
other texts, and the world
outside school)

makes connections
between
the storyboard frame, video and written text
with limited
effectiveness

makes connections
between
the storyboard frame, video and written text
with some
effectiveness

makes connections
between the storyboard frame, video and written text
with considerable
effectiveness

makes connections
between the storyboard frame, video and written text
with a high degree
of effectiveness




[[#_ftnref1|[1]]] http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/secondary/english1112currb.pdf