Computers, phones, texting and social media surround ourselves and our students everyday. It could be argued that students are free writing -writing by own motivation- more than previous generations. However, with shortened text, emojis and gifs ‘proper’ language can be lost. But, nonetheless we, as teachers, shouldn’t shy away from using technology and computer based writing output. Our students are going to be growing into a technology based world, and computer literacy is a valued skill. Showing students how to use technology to support their language development is the aim of this post.
For older students, there is an increased focus on annotating websites, reading between the lines and extracting key information. These skills are developed first on paper, with highlighting in the classroom, but you can’t highlight a computer screen. This is where ‘scribble’ comes in. A site supported and co-developed by google edu, it is a youth inspired site that offers the ability to highlight. A chrome extension, it helps filters webpages for student to narrow the sites to more reputable sources, offers them a storage place for their site as well as annotating. This site itself, or the concept of ‘key wording’ is a beginning step in grade 6 and on words. Starting with deciphering keywords on paper and moving to webpages, this extension can help students visualize the key information.
accelerated reader, a program designed both for students and by students is a great and easy way for intermediate, or even primary teachers to keep track of o students comprehension and fluency in reading. A program that can be purchased by districts, it allows any book to be inputted into the system and have quizzes generated for it. Each novel is assigned points either by teacher or the administrators of the program and it helps give a visual benchmark or goal. Students begin by taking a placement test, which then helps give them a predicted ‘point’ value for where they should be in 3,6 and 10 months. It then can also suggest books for students to read. Once students have read that book they can take the comprehension tests and it logs their points to help show their development. It is an individualized program that helps students develop their own accountability for their reading.