Philadelphia council 4 9-11
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Philadelphia council 4 9-11



A presentation to the Philadelphia Reading Council, a local council of the Keystone State Reading Association and the International Reading Association.

A presentation to the Philadelphia Reading Council, a local council of the Keystone State Reading Association and the International Reading Association.



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Philadelphia council 4 9-11 Philadelphia council 4 9-11 Presentation Transcript

  • Teaching Reading in a Digital World
    Philadelphia Reading Council
    Eric C. MacDonald, Ed.D.
    Benchmark School
    April 9, 2011
  • I Need My Teacher to Learn
  • “Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of time until 2003.”
    Eric Schmidt
    CEO, Google
  • Exactly How Much Are Times A-Changin’? (
  • Exactly How Much Are Times A-Changin’? (
  • World Internet Usage
  • Today’s Students
    93% of teens are online
    89% of teens say the Internet and other digital media/devices make their lives easier
    94% of 12-17 year olds use the Internet for research
    78% feel it helps with school work
    Teen Internet use grew 45% between 2000 and 2005.
    (Hitlin & Rainie, 2005; Lenhart, Simon, & Graziamo, 2001)
  • Today’s Students
    93% of teens surveyed use the Internet for social interaction
    39% showcase artistic creations
    33% work on web pages or blogs for others
    28% have created their own blog or online journal
    27% have their own web page
    55% have created a profile on MySpace, Facebook or other social networking site
    (Lenhart, Madden, Macgill, Smith, 2007)
  • Students Online
    Students spend an average of:
    27 hours online at home
    15 minutes at school
    (Miners & Pascopella, 2007)
  • Infowhelm
    Are you feeling overwhelmed with information?
  • Brain Freeze (
    Newsweek Headline:
    “I Can’t Think! The Twitterization of our culture has revolutionized our lives, but with an unintended consequence – our overloaded brains freeze when we have to make decisions.”
  • Brain Freeze – Consequences
    Oxford English Dictionary
    “information fatigue”
    Added in 2009
    “But as information finds more ways to reach us, more often, more insistently than ever before, another consequence is becoming alarmingly clear: trying to drink from a firehose of information has harmful cognitive effects. And nowhere are those effects more worrying, than in our ability to make smart, creative, successful decisions.” (30)
  • Brain Freeze – Too Much Information!
    It is possible to have too much information
    With more information we actually make worse decisions.
    We tend to give more weight to recent information, even if it is not salient.
    How do we help our students (and ourselves) manage information to “think smart”?
  • Brain Freeze – Think Time
    We need time to think
    Our unconscious (think gut feeling) makes an important contribution to good decision-making.
    “If emotions are shut out of the decision-making process, we’re likely to overthink a decision, and that has been shown to produce worse outcomes on even the simplest tasks.” (33)
  • Brain Freeze – Step Away
    “Experts advise dealing with emails and texts in batches, rather than in real time; that should let your unconscious decision-making system kick in. Avoid the trap of thinking that a decision requiring you to assess a lot of complex information is best made methodically and consciously; you will do better, and regret less if you let your unconscious turn it over by removing yourself from the influx. Set priorities; if a choice turns on only a few criteria, focus consciously on those.” (33)
  • Brain Freeze - Strategies
    We can become more organized in how we access, organize and assess information.
    We can be more strategic in our approach to information-rich tasks.
    We can emphasize the importance of prioritizing, synthesizing, and even time-management as important 21st century strategies.
  • Brain Freeze – Classroom Implications
    Critical Thinking
    Strategic Reading
    Print Text
    Digital Text
  • The Internet & Reading
    The Internet is a reading comprehension issue, not a technology issue.
    - Don Leu
  • As a field we have been very slow to adopt technology.
    • Michael Kamil, Stanford University
  • The more new literacy you try to integrate, the more conventional literacy you need.
    - Michael Kamil, Stanford University
  • Thinking About Literacy and Technology
    Issues in Reading & Writing
    Importance of “traditional print literacies”
    Need to adapt, shift, and teach online and Web 2.0 literacies.
    Teaching & Learning
    Conceptualizing the tools available for teaching & Instruction
  • A Framework for Thinking About Technology Tools
  • Decision Point – Where do you want to go today?
    What is Web 2.0?
    Ideas for Teaching Reading in a Web 2.0 World
    Tools for Students and Teachers
    My favorites
    My “To Do” List
  • Web 2.0
    The Read-Write Web
  • What is Web 2.0?(Solomon & Schrum, 2007)
    “By the early 2000s, the notion of interactivity went from linking and clicking to creating and sharing. Now individuals not only find and read information but also create and share their own in real time. It is a new Web, known as Web 2.0”
    “We no longer just find and use information: the Web is now a participatory, interactive place where we create information collaboratively and share the results.”
  • Web 2.0 (Dr. Helen Barrett,
  • Web 2.0 Tools
    Many free, open-source Internet applications
    Some share similarities to “regular software.” (For example, Google Docs)
    Interactivity, easy publishing/idea sharing, and collaboration are hallmarks of Web 2.0 tools
  • Examples of Web 2.0 Tools
  • Web 2.0 is often referred to as the Read/Write Web!
    So, what are we literacy educators waiting for?
    Web 2.0 has our name written all over it!
  • “To be literate today involves acquiring new skills, including those of using technology, understanding science, having global awareness, and most important, having the ability to keep learning, which involves gathering, processing, analyzing, synthesizing, and presenting information as well as communicating and collaborating.” (Solomon & Schrum, 2007)
  • These skills and dispositions should be very familiar to literacy educators. It is what we have been teaching in print text all along. Now we need to be on the forefront of figuring out how to teach these skills online and in providing effective instruction to our students.
  • What’s new? – New Literacies!(Barone & Wright, 2008)
  • Traditional Literacies & New Literacies
    The Internet and Web 2.0 tools “extend traditional literacy experiences with comprehension of information on the Internet; effective use of search engines to locate information; evaluation of Internet sources; communication using e-mail, texts, and chats; and the use of word processing programs.”
    (Barone & Wright, 2008)
  • IRA– Integrating Literacy and Technology in the Curriculum
    The Internet and other forms of information and communication technology (ICT) are redefining the nature of literacy. To become fully literate in today’s world, students must become proficient in the new literacies of ICT. Therefore, literacy educators have a responsibility to integrate these technologies into their literacy curricula.
    The Association believes that much can be done to support students in developing all the forms of literacy they will require. We believe that students have the right to
  • IRA Position Statement (cont’d)
    The Association believes that much can be done to support students in developing all the forms of literacy they will require. We believe that students have the right to
    Teachers who are skilled in the effective use of ICT for teaching and learning
    A literacy curriculum that integrates the new literacies of ICT into instructional programs
    Instruction that develops the critical literacies essential to effective information use
  • IRA Position Statement (cont’d)
    Assessment practices in literacy that include reading and writing with technology tools
    Opportunities to learn safe and responsible use of information and communication technologies
    Equal access to ICT
  • So what do I do?
    Professional development
    “Play” with the tools
    Determine how tools can enhance your current objectives
  • Adapting to Teaching Literacy in the 21st Century
    Literacy Meets Web 2.0
  • NAEP Framework for Reading
    How do we teach these today in print text?
    How do these apply to reading online?
  • Reading in a Digital World
    Teaching reading in the 21st century requires a “mind-shift” for non-digital native teachers.
    Changing our thinking about text and teaching about text can be difficult.
  • Why teach online reading to digital natives?
    Science Assignment: Find information about an animal that interests you and create an informational poster.
    Student searches Google for “octopus” and finds a site that interests him and creates a poster.
    Among the facts on the “tree octopus” he writes:
    Found in Washington State
    Amphibious, but lives in trees
    Largest brain-to-body ratio for a mollusk
  • Why teach online reading to digital natives?
    You can’t imagine an amphibious octopus living in trees, so you check his bibliography and find the following site:
    Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
  • Why teach online reading to digital natives?
    24 of 25 students, identified as “good readers” said they would recommend this site to others!
    “Even after they were let in on the hoax, most of the students had difficulty deciphering the clues that betrayed the site’s fictitiousness. Some still maintained that the octopus really exists.”
  • Why teach online reading to digital natives?
    In a related study:
    57% of students report never checking accuracy of websites
    59% never check the source of a website
    4% of students checked the background of the site’s creator.
    (Bettleheim, 2007)
    This research was done by the New Literacies Group at The University of Connecticut
  • Major Skills for Teaching About Online Reading (Leu, 2007)
    Question – Identify important questions and be able to revise questions as needed.
    Locate – Locate information online.
    Evaluate – Critically evaluate information.
    Synthesize – Pull information together to answer questions.
    Communicate – Communicate your findings with others.
  • Question – Pre-reading Steps
    Brainstorm what students know
    Assess background knowledge – do I need to do some easy reading? (Internet Bkg. Building)
    What do I want to learn?
  • Question
    Important to know what you are looking for when reading online.
    Volume of information
    Multiple (and multimedia) distractions. 
    Need to have a plan for research!
    (Eagleton & Dobler, 2007)
  • Locate
    Key skill in effective online reading.
    Strategies for locating information online should be one of the first things taught.
    Provide explicit instruction and guided practice in using search engines & directories
  • Locate: Key Questions/Skills
    What search engine should I use?
    Selecting keywords
    Refining search
    Importance of vocabulary/background knowledge
    Directories vs. search engines
    The “Deep Web” – Access PA
  • Locate – Reading Web Pages
    Provide explicit instruction and guided practice in reading websites.
    Is there an “about?” (Important for evaluation.)
    Locations for menus
    Differences between print text navigation and hypertext navigation.
    Links – Importance of predicting in hypertext
    Knowing when you are leaving the site to go to another site
  • Internet Text
    Linear/Print-Like Text
  • Social Studies EPR – Types of Text on the Internet
    What is hypertext? 
    What is the difference between the text you read on the Internet for homework over the weekend and the text you will read on the Internet for tonight’s homework? (Hint: What do you have to do to read everything on government in Athens? How do you navigate or find your way around the text?)
    Why might it be important to be aware of the differences in types of text found on the Internet? (In other words, why might it be useful to know that some sites/pages use text that is more like print text and others use hypertext?)
  • Evaluate
    Second critical strategy set for online reading.
    Key elements:
    Reliability – Is the information trustworthy?
    Bias – Knowing the source of information is important as everyone shapes information.
    Stance – Importance of being a critical reader or “healthy skeptic.”
  • Key Strategies for Evaluating
    Read the Search Results
    Read the descriptions
    Evaluate the website
    Authority – Who wrote it? (Check the “About” page.)
    Purpose – Should be clear on the homepage.
    Timeliness – Good websites include a footer with information on when the page was created/updated.
    (Eagleton & Dobler, 2007)
  • Synthesize
    Pulling information together from multiple sources or across sources.
    Importance of knowing what to ignore.
    Knowing when you have answered your research question.
  • Communicate
    This is where English/Language Arts teachers should feel at home…
    Except, we need to add a twist
    Instant Messaging
    Podcasts, Video, and more!
    Audience Awareness
  • My Favorite Tools
  • Everything Google
    Google Docs
    Google Reader
    Google Sites
    Google Earth & Maps
    And so much more
  • A Google Tool for Everything
  • Graphic Organizers
    Webspiration Classroom
    And many more…
  • Flash Cards
    Study Stack
  • NoodleTools
    Note taking
    Links to Google Docs
  • NoodleTools
  • NoodleTools
  • Wordle
  • My “To Learn” List & More
  • My “To Explore” List
    Museum Box
    Bookmappingor Google Lit Trips
  • Elementary Sites
    Primary Wall – web-based, collaborative sticky note tool
    Fry’s Word List Activities
    Book Trailers – 30-45 second introductions to books at a variety of levels.
  • Other “Word” Sites
    Snappy Words – A visual dictionary/thesaurus.
    Lexipedia – Another visual dictionary/thesaurus.
    Wordia – video definitions of words.
    Write-n-ator – A video clip on a vocabulary word followed by a writing challenge.
    Save the Words – A cool site that is hard to describe but good for vocabulary building with older students.
    Wacky Web Tales – Sort of a mad lib type activity with stories for grades 3 and above.
  • Spelling Has 6 spelling/word games that might make for constructive reward or free-time activities.
    Miss Spell's Class - Test spelling skills by catching misspelled words.
    Adlib - Your little brother has been transformed into an owl by an errant spell. Form words to piece the incantation back together. Master the spellbook to save your brother!
    Word Machine - Make words starting with a provided letter. Second and third words must also include additional provided letters. The longer the word, the more points you earn. Using the same word twice in the same game gives you less points
    Meaning Fall - Help the warrior cross the watery caverns. Read the word definitions and guess the words that are hidden behind the clouds. Bonus points for getting letter-streaks.
    Clockwords - You are an inventor who discovers plans for a mysterious word machine. Suddenly, your lab is infiltrated by bugs that want to steal your secrets! Make words that include provided letters to fend off the invaders.
    Word Kingdom - Build your kingdom by arranging letters to form words. Correctly spelled words can be converted into resources to feed your warriors, fortify your fortress and dominate WordLand.
    Spelling Match - Spelling games for grades K-8.
  • Other Sites
    60 Second Recap – provides short videos related to literature.
    Readability – Allows you to “cleanup” the screen and only see key text.
    Free Audio Books – public domain books for students to listen to.