How to improve multiliteracies in the classroom using new literacies


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A teacher researcher report on the ways to improve multiple literacies in the classroom using technology and new literacies.

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How to improve multiliteracies in the classroom using new literacies

  1. 1. How to Improve Multiple Literacy in the Classroom Using New Literacies Mishelle Bass Kathrene Donaldson Tiffany Kelly Kennie Oyefusi Britney Shaw
  2. 2. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 2 8/4/13 Table of Contents Introduction 3 Literature Review 3 Methodology: 4 Who 10 What 10 How 10 Data Analysis 11 Questions 11 Literacy Questions 11 What, and how, do my students write each day? 11 How do I model writing? 12 Do I use critical literacy in my classroom? 13 Digital Tech in the Classroom 13 Findings 14 Conclusion 26 References 29 Publishing 30
  3. 3. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 3 8/4/13 Introduction In contemporary society technology and use of digital tools have become a way of life as evidenced by the ever changing, rapidly expanding world of digital technology.Digital technology is used not only in the social media world, but also in the work place, and increasingly in education as school districts strive not to be left behind. School districts are striving to equip their schools with adequate computers to foster relevance between the technology inundated society and the education system that prepares students for the workforce. Technology applications and soft wares designed to facilitate classrooms content area instruction, are becoming more numerous with tools like class web 2.0 for teachers’ digital instruction and students’ digital products. There is a proliferation of digital web tools, media applications and interactive technology. Students’ preoccupation with them outside the classroom through social media networking, gaming, and access to a wide range of content and connectivity, emphasize the urgency of harnessing these tools for education. Students are writing more than ever before, but the irony is that the students are writing more outside class, in what they see as unrelated to their education, than they are writing in class. The explosion of digital communication makes it imperative that teachers step up their roles as teachers of digital writing. They have to provide support for students in understanding the complexities of communicating in our contemporary world, because students’ exposure to and interaction with the wide array of digital content on the world wide web does not mean that reflection and learning takes place. Research shows the preoccupation of education professionals with making technology an integral part of educational instruction. There is a move from the initial
  4. 4. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 4 8/4/13 focus of integrating technology into instruction, to using technology as instructional tool and medium of students’ multi literacies learning product across content areas. DE Voss, AaDahl and Hicks (2010), noted that according to the Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) research, “Networked computers create a new kind of writing space that changes the writing process and the basic rhetorical dynamic between writers and readers. Computer technologies have changed the processes, products and contexts for writing in dramatic ways,” (p.5). This change demands that teachers equip students for higher education and future workplace experiences by teaching them to work across and within networked places using different modes of multi literacies. Students interact and engage with different digital tools as they write,using different modes and across genres, to communicate with local audiences within their classrooms/schools local intranet and the wider audience on the internet. To this end, this study explores the current level of digital technology knowledge of teachers, their use of technology in writing instruction, research into available digital multi-media tools that will enhance technology based instruction across the content/subject areas, and findings to propel more informed usage of these tools in instruction and student digital products. Literature Review The digital age is among our society and students are engaged in technology more than ever. Paper and pencils are becoming old-fashioned; therefore, in order to practice literacy in the classroom, teachers need to incorporate technology in every room. By integrating technology, teachers are creating digital environments and experiences for their students. Using multiliteracies and technology within the classroom helps ensure
  5. 5. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 5 8/4/13 students are receiving the most up-to-date lessons to prepare them for the twenty-first century. Al-Hazza, T., & Lucking, R. (2012). An Examination of Preservice Teachers' View of Multiliteracies: Habits, Perceptions, Demographics and Slippery Slopes. Reading Improvement, 49(2), 59-72. Retrieved from: 45b9-aa09-7f70cf112421%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=103 Al-Hazza and Lucking offer an outlook on how new literacies must be incorporated into education. They suggest that teens today are extravagantly enthralled in the world of technology. The authors express that reading materials are no longer just print sources, but also include other forms of electronic reading. Our youth are now spending great quantities of time immersed in technology. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 93% of teens, age 12-17, use the internet. Additionally, “while online, a total of 78% play online games, 73% use social network sites, 73% use email, 62% get news, 49% read blogs, 48% buy products, 31% look for health info, and 14% create blogs” (60). Al-Hazza and Lucking further suggest that the movement to utilize technology so frequently has begun to change society. Technology has grown to be a normal part of people’s lives. Since society is changing to use more and more technology, educators must be able to keep up with the general public. Literacy is no longer the same as it was approximately ten years ago. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the International Reading Association have both acknowledged that it is imperative to incorporate technology into the curriculum. Furthermore, teachers must be comfortable instructing and assessing students using
  6. 6. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 6 8/4/13 technology. This is necessary in order to close the gap between traditional print and new multiliteracies. Al-Hazza and Lucking reviewed a pilot study of 63 prospective teachers and their views on technology and new literacies. From the study, 83% of the prospective teachers believed that “teachers should be held accountable for mastering these new technologies” (65). The findings indicated that future teachers will be starting work with a great deal of technological experience; however, “being an avid text-sender may not lead directly to a higher level of understanding of how to best teach literacy skills or plan for other forms of literacy expansion” (69). The others concluded their findings with this statement: “Many of the issues involved in understanding the new literacies are esoteric and complex” (70) Somehow, these inner circles of thinkers that grasp the knowledge and comprehension of integrating technology into the curriculum will be able to share with society. Borsheim, C., Merritt, K., & Reed, D. (2008). Beyond Technology for Technology's Sake: Advancing Multiliteracies in the Twenty-First Century. Clearing House,82(2), 87-90. Retrieved from: 45b9-aa09-7f70cf112421%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=103 Borsheim, Merritt, and Reed made the bold, yet brief, statement that “literacy is changing” (87). This article discusses the shift from traditional literacy to multiliteracies. Multiliteracies has been “based on the well-established assumption that technologies (including computers, cell phones, PDAs, the Internet, and Web 2.0 applications such as wikis, blogs, and other social networking sites) have impacted the nature of texts, as well as the ways people use and interact with texts” (87). The authors suggest that teachers
  7. 7. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 7 8/4/13 with a multiliteracies pedagogy are more likely to prepare their students for what is to come in the twenty-first century. Borsheim wrote first on multiliteracies and traditional curriculum. Incorporating multiliteracies into the curriculum helps in three ways: students can gain knowledge through “authentic experiences;” can “support traditional curriculum objectives;” and will go beyond those objectives in order to further the development of multiliteracies (88). With traditional texts not being used as often and technology being used more and more, students are even researching differently. Technologies support the students’ research in ways never explored before. Also, technologies help connect students to real audiences. Next, Reed gave her intake on multiliteracies beyond the classroom walls. Reed began by stating that she disagreed with those who believe that students are not engaged in reading and writing anymore. She maintained that students are still reading and writing; it just looks differently than a traditional setting. By integrating technology in the home and school, Reed has seen a significant increase in participation from her students. Reed summarized by suggesting that teachers must always be looking into the future in order to keep up with technology and the changing society. Next, Merritt expressed her thought on multiliteracies for preservice teachers. Merritt spoke about how important it is for teachers to model their technology uses with their students. By modeling, students will engage on a different level and will be more motivated to try some of the new technology in the classroom. She ended with stating that technology also helps the preservice teachers know how to utilize literacies in this century and how it benefits the language arts. By keeping up with future technologies, teachers will be more knowledgeable in keeping their students on track with the skills of the twenty-first century.
  8. 8. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 8 8/4/13 DeVoss, D.N., Eidman-Aadahl, E., & Hicks, T. (2010). Because Digital Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in Online and Multimedia Environments. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Since technologies have been altering society, it has also begun to impact the classroom. Students are enthralled in technology on an almost non-stop basis it seems, but can they learn literacy this way? Teachers must begin to incorporate technology into their classroom. The atmosphere of writing is changing, and the new ways of writing instruction must be included into curriculum. This book encompasses the importance of digital writing, how to incorporate digital writing, discusses the rapid growth of the digital age, and offers help in directing teachers how to grow in their technology knowledge in order to progress the writing of their students. Peterson, S., Botelho, M., Jang, E., & Kerekes, J. (2007). Writing Assessment: What Would Multiliteracy Teachers Do? Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, 15(1), 29-34. Retrieved from: This article discusses multiliteracies theory and writing assessments. Multiliteracies theory was defined as viewing “literacies as social practices that help us to achieve social intentions within range of social contexts of our daily lives” (29). Since teachers are always trying to bring the students’ outside experiences into the classroom, writing and the multiliteracies theory work very well together. The multiliteracies theory allows the students to go beyond the traditional writing workshops by encouraging students to bring in information from the Internet to support their writing. An original writing assessment model by Spandel (2005) included six traits: ideas, organization,
  9. 9. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 9 8/4/13 voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions and layout (cited in Peterson et al. 2007, p. 30). Multiliteracies teachers would use this model but add in the social aspect to writing in the new digital age. When assessing writers through the multiliteracies theory, “teachers have to see students differently” (35). With the extension of technology, students will engage in a wider audience than just the walls of their classroom; therefore, modifications should be made to the current assessments. Unsworth, L. (2008). Multiliteracies, E-literature and English Teaching.Language & Education: An International Journal, 22(1), 62-75. Retrieved from: 45b9-aa09-7f70cf112421%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=103 Unsworth compiled this article to help teachers use digital resources to further educate their students in “literary understanding and literacy learning” (63).With the increase of reading tools available online, students can be more connected and find additional information on the texts they are reading. Through organization, interpretive, and pedagogic frameworks, teachers can help students connect traditional literature with the World Wide Web and digital technology. "Victor" Chen, D., Wu, J., & Wang, Y. (2011). Unpacking New Media Literacy. Journal Of Systemics, Cybernetics & Informatics,9(2), 84-88. Retrieved from: 45b9-aa09-7f70cf112421%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=103 Chen, Wu, and Wang opened this article with a great introduction stating that “literacy has evolved historically in stages: classic literacy (writing-understanding);
  10. 10. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 10 8/4/13 audiovisual literacy (mostly related to electronic media); digital literacy; information literacy (mostly related to computer and digital media); and recently new media literacy (mostly related to internet and the phenomenon of media convergence)” (84). The development of new literacies has grown through a societal process which has developed a unique framework. In the authors’ interpretation, new literacies include four mechanisms: functional consuming, functional prosuming, critical consuming, and critical prosuming. Their take on the pros and cons of functionality and criticalness was an interesting thought. The article is ended stating that for a person to be an effective participant in the twenty-first century society, students must obtain the new media literacy skills. Methodology: Who A group of Masters of Education Literacy Studies students got together to research the use of technology in the classroom and how it can be used to promote multiple literacies across the content areas. What A researched look into new literacies and the use of digital writing in today’s classroom How We created a list of questions for teachers from various backgrounds to answer and discuss. After the discussion began we narrowed our topic to the use of technology in the classroom. Ultimately coming up with the question, How can we improve multiple literacy in the classroom using new literacies? We created a set of goals for teachers to
  11. 11. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 11 8/4/13 strive for when trying to implement new literacies and improve multiple literacies in the classroom. Data Analysis Questions Literacy Questions • What constitutes a student as literate? • Can you be literate in one subject and not another? • Is literacy a natural trait or one that is taught? How does your view affect your literary teaching? • How do you promote literacy in other subjects, such as math? • Are you happy with the amount of writing that is done in your classroom? How can you add more? What, and how, do my students write each day? • What kind of writing happens daily in your own classroom? • How long does it go on? • How is it organized? • Who is involved? • What content areas are involved?
  12. 12. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 12 8/4/13 • What is produced? • How much writing goes through the stages that real writers go through: drafting, reviewing, editing, rewriting, and publishing in some way (going public)? • How important is the writing process in your classroom? How can it be promoted in informal writing? • What digital resources do I have available in my classroom or school? How do I model writing? • How often do your students see you write? • In what situations? • Do they see you go through the stages? • Do you talk about your writing? • Does this help or hinder? • When it comes to digital writing, how do I show my students that I as well write in this manner? • Do you share your writing with your students? • Are your students encouraged to offer suggestions or comments about your writing?
  13. 13. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 13 8/4/13 Do I use critical literacy in my classroom? • Do I ask my student “Why did you have this character say this thing? What does it show about the relationship between him and the rest of the characters?” • Do you talk about text structure and how it impacts a reader’s understanding? • Do you talk about why writers use certain effects to impact the reader’s interpretation of an event? • Do you talk about how language can be used to include or exclude readers? • Do you ask questions about the author’s choices with the text and how it might affect the meaning? • Do you ask students what the underlying view of the author is and how it affects the text? Digital Tech in the Classroom • How do I use digital technology within my writing instruction? • What are some ways I can teach my students to utilize digital product in both LA and content area writing? • How can my students use digital research in the content areas? • How are the digital enrichment materials evaluated?
  14. 14. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 14 8/4/13 • What do digital enrichment materials add to my lessons? • How are the digital tools perceived by the students? Findings From our research within the topic and our discussion with teachers from various backgrounds, we developed the following goals for improving multiliteracies using new literacies and digital technology in the classroom. Students are defined as literate in multiple ways To be literate means to be knowledgeable in a particular area. When we think of being literate, we often think of being able to read and write, which are aspects of literacy. However, it's also about understanding and truly comprehending the material. Literacy encompasses so much more than just reading and writing, especially now with the definition of literacy ever changing and the continuous introduction of multiliteracies. In the article Writing Assessment: What Would Multiliteracies Teachers Do by Peterson, et al. (2007) states, “Multiliteracies theory also expands the symbol systems we associate with literacy from an exclusive focus on the printed word to visual images, multimedia, and digital technologies such as the Internet” (29). Literacy involves how we gain knowledge, interact with it, and communicate it. Literacy should not be taught only in Language Arts, but instead be present in all academic areas. Within these areas media literacy should also be present. Chen, Wu, and Wang (2011) concluded, “Media literacy- an essential skill that no one in the 21st century can afford not to have” (par. 23). By the time a student enters school, their exposure to literacy greatly influences their literary
  15. 15. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 15 8/4/13 skills and this range of skills is vast among those students. No matter the literary skills of students, literacy can be promoted and an envisionment classroom created. A student does not need to know how to spell correctly or even write in order to begin their exploration with writing. Literacy can be integrated into every subject and topic. Furthermore, reading can be implemented into many different academic disciplines and literacies. You can be literate in certain subjects and aspects while not in others. Being able to read situations or feelings is being literate while being able to read text and words is also considered being literate. There is the aspect of fiction and non-fiction literacy, they are very different in the way you process them; also expository versus narrative literacy. Students can be wonderful readers when it is something of interest to them, but when they come across text that is not of interest; they can become very poor readers. This can affect students because much of standardized testing is reading short passages not of interest. Having a multitude of assessments for students to demonstrate their skills and especially their literacy is important. Miscue analysis is a great tool in showing how students are literate in certain aspects of reading, but can still be a poor reader. Literacy is natural. Some subjects and concepts come easier to us than others, which goes back to how we can be literate in some areas than others. Of course, we teach, we are taught, and we learn, but this goes back to the natural part of it. We all have the capabilities, but it's what we do with the knowledge and what we make those experiences into. Digital tools should be incorporated into classroom writing Digital writing and tools add a new dimension to lessons and activities. They
  16. 16. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 16 8/4/13 help to motivate students and capture their attention, but digital tools also allow for students to interact with the material in many different aspects and ways. The article titled, Beyond Technology for Technology’s Sake: Advancing Multiliteracies in the Twenty-First Century written by Borsheim, Merritt, and Reed (2008) suggests, “Teachers who employ a multiliteracies pedagogy offer their students ample opportunities to access, evaluate, search, sort, gather, and read information from a variety of multimedia and multimodal sources and invite students to collaborate in real and virtual spaces to produce and publish multimedia and multimodal texts for a variety of audiences and purposes” (87). For someone to truly grasp information they need to be exposed to it multiple times and in multiple venues. Students today write more than they realize. Texts, emails, IMs and blogs are just a start to the everyday writing students use outside of school.Borsheim et. al. (2008) states, “Technologies taught in the classroom enhance students’ abilities to use them as well as understand the complex ways they challenge us to participate in the world” (90). Creating a digital environment within the classroom where students can utilize their expertise in digital technology such as this and expand their writing knowledge is what the teachers interviewed all wanted to achieve. Technology is a motivating force with students; writing is not. If we as teachers can combine the two, we will create a motivating factor for writing in students. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the International Reading Association have both acknowledged that it is imperative to incorporate technology into the curriculum. (Al-Hazza & Lucking. 2012) Digital technology can be used with writing instruction in a multitude of ways. By showing students different ways to utilize online tools, they too, can explore and try different digital writing that they have never
  17. 17. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 17 8/4/13 explored before. Students receive digital tools very well; therefore, they are motivating and encourage them to do things they are interested in while making it seem as if they aren't doing classroom work. There are many tools to promote digital writing within the classroom. See Figure 1 for a unique representation of a few of the tools we came across during our research. The figure was created using info graphics. There are also tools that can be used to present concepts to students. See Figure 2 to view a Prezi that is used to present digital writing in the classroom. Figure 1
  18. 18. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 18 8/4/13 Digital tools should be evaluated and assessed More than just integrating technology into the classroom is the importance that the technology is actually useful to the classroom.Borsheim et. al (2008) suggests, “Searching, gathering, managing and evaluating online resources, composing multimodal texts for a variety of purposes and audiences, and developing a critical consciousness about how we produce and consume texts highlight some of the pedagogical challenges that twenty-first century technologies can help us integrate into instruction” (90).The technology a teacher chooses to utilize can supplement the material or draw attention away from it. To ensure the digital tools and enrichments are holding up to the teaching goals, teachers must assess their usefulness. The standard trial and error approach will help to try out tools and weed out the technology found to not fit the curriculum. A survey used by the students to evaluate the materials is also helpful. Student feedback on how they feel the materials affected the lesson can provide insight into what they are thinking and allow for the teacher to better find what motivates their students. The mark of an excellent teacher is the ability to select what is needful and utilize it, blending resources to meet students' needs. A survey from the students would be a tool to gauge their attitude on the digital tools as well as how the students perceive them. Additionally, student feedback can help teachers to choose appropriate tools as well as learn other ways to utilize told they already use. Technology is every changing and students always seem to be the first to master it and be up-to-date on it. Having their input into the tools used and how to use them will help us as teachers to stay technologically integrated. Another helpful evaluation tool is a checklist. Teachers can create a list of what they want to
  19. 19. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 19 8/4/13 accomplish with the lesson and then find the tools that fit the goals. One tool might not meet all of the goals on the checklist; so many tools might be needed. Technology should be a tool and not a driving force Of all the goals we have discussed for teachers to strive for when implementing digital technology into the classroom to improve the multiliteracies of students, this is the most important to us. Educators must have the understanding that technology should be used as a tool within the lesson and not a driving force of creating the lesson for the sole purpose of utilizing technology. Creating a digital classroom is about creating an environment where technology is incorporated as a supplement to the curriculum and not as a driving force for the curriculum. A digital tool should be just that, a tool. It should provide reinforcement for the lesson, a new medium for students to explore, as well as expose students to new ways of seeing information. In a study by Al-Hazza and Lucking (2012), if found, “Educators and various Accrediting agencies such as, The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE, 2002) and the International Reading Association (2009) have recognized the importance of integrating technology into the curriculum and have placed an increased emphasis on incorporating new technology into the schools” (63). Technology should not be integrated into only one lesson to meet the goals of technology integration. Instead, it should be incorporated into the curriculum on a daily basis. Integrating technology goes beyond showing power points during lessons or having students use computers during stations. Students must use digital tools to create and publish product. Devoss et. al (2010) found, “For teachers, it is not simply a matter of “integrating technology” into the school day, but rather a matter of
  20. 20. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 20 8/4/13 uncovering the most powerful uses of technology to accomplish learning goals for specific students. To do this, they can create digital environments and experiences to extend their most effective practices into even more powerful learning opportunities for students” (29). Educators have moved from integrating technology into the classroom into using technology as a learning mode in the school. Lessons must connect students’ knowledge and use of digital tools as they work towards goals and objectives. Content area literacy and technology can be used to create a curriculum across all subjects that encompass the same important technological skills and tools. As stated by Borsheim, Merritt, and Reed (2008), “When I keep the objectives in the forefront, my students do as well; therefore they do not get carried away with the technology we are using to complement the writing” (89). Together educators and students create authentic learning experiences for everyone. Technology should supplement the lesson, not hinder the learning. Using digital tools both for instruction and student products take learning beyond the classroom. E-portfolio use Creating a running record of student work within the digital tools and technology integration is a digital running record. An informal look at not only how a student has grown in their knowledge and skills, but also at how technology has advanced. Technology is ever changing and present in all that we do. Students need to be kept up- to-date on these advancements to stay competitive in a global world. Allowing students a chance to see how their skills have grown is a powerful motivator for knowledge.
  21. 21. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 21 8/4/13 Publish student work Another motivating force for knowledge is acknowledgment. Studentswork hard and that work should be shown not only to other classmates, but also other classes and teachers. By providing positive acknowledgment in a student’s work, students feel pride. Amongst the pride a hard working student feels, published works also provide other students with real life examples of the skills and information they are using. They show what exactly can be done using technology and digital tools and hopefully will demonstrate new ways and ideas for using technology in the classroom. Writing should happen every day in the classroom Writing should happen every day in the classroom and incorporate a variety of mediums. With the digital age upon us there are more unique and creative ways to incorporate writing into everyday tasks. Peterson et. al. (2007) noted,“Writing is not viewed as a set of skills that children can master and then perform on demand. Instead, writing is viewed as one of many social practices that use language to accomplish particular ends within particular social contexts” (30). Writer’s workshop and journals can be created on the computer and a creative story writing assignment can come to life using an app on the Ipad. Borsheim (2008) stated “Technologies scaffold students’ development of these traditional skills and make the purposes and processes more authentic than they were in the past” (88). Many of the classrooms evaluated had a set writing time for their students. Included in this time were free writing, project writing, as well as informal journaling. The need for more time was an issue with many. Time is
  22. 22. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 22 8/4/13 limited and the writing process definitely takes time. Creating a classroom where writing is a dominant presence is the goal. Teachers are finding that informal writing can be beneficial and that informal writing is just as important as writing that follows the traditional stages of drafting, revising, editing, and rewriting. Informal writing can still help promote better writers. Teachers should model writing and allow for student feedback An important tool for teachers that is often overlooked is the importance of modeling for students. Students should see teachers writing in the classroom on a multitude of levels; modeling writing for students so they can have an example to work off. Showing them some of your work and the stages you went through in correcting the paper will most likely help them in working through their current and future papers. By writing along with the students and making your struggles with the writing visible, students are encouraged to persevere with their writing. Every student has seen their teacher write on the board or overhead, but have they all seen them write for themselves or ever had a chance to review what was written? Teachers make mistakes just as students do in writing, but the biggest mistake is not embracing this opportunity to share with students. It is with this modeling that students are exposed to tools, which they can utilize in their own writing when they themselves make mistakes. If teachers can make a special intent to remember to model writing, their students might have different experience outcomes. In modeling, talk about the writing, explain what it is you are doing, and discuss the why of it all. It is the piecemeal modeling of each part of the process; not the authentic writing modeling that is the goal. Let them help with the
  23. 23. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 23 8/4/13 writing during shared, interactive writing. Students gain knowledge and writing skills by seeing an active model of the process, and to hearing thinking out loud while making errors as well as making corrections. This helps them see the process and what it might be like for them. Discuss struggles with students. Talk all the time about struggles with writing. Students should see that teachers do not know everything and everyone has struggles of their own. Modeling helps to discuss the mistakes made and the possible reason behind them and also how to fix them. Students can relate to this and by discussing and modeling the process they are seeing the tools they are learning in action. Also, by discussing how writing makes us feel helps students to see that writing can be for enjoyment as well. Share your writing with students Knowing how to accept criticism and how to give it are tools that good writers need. Being able to critique others helps us improve our own skills and shows students how writing is an ongoing process. Modeling how to accept critique is a great skill to pass on as well as the ability to give constructive criticism and be able to look critically at another's writing. Learning how to be positive even when being negative. Allow students to provide feedback on your writing as well, and discuss critically the choices you made and how they affected the final product. The choices in writing are solely those of the author. Demonstrating how these choices can dramatically change the text is vital in teaching writing.
  24. 24. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 24 8/4/13 Digital writing encompasses all subjects, not only Language Arts Every subject should include writing. Incorporating writing into all areas of education is important. Digital writing can be incorporated in the same ways as traditional writing. For example, creating assignments that utilize digital tools instead of the traditional pen and paper writing we are accustomed to incorporates digital writing into the classroom. In other subjects, teachers can give students a journaling assignment at the end of a lesson to incorporate writing. Also, as a way to create a digital aspect to the assignment, students can create a blog in place of a journal. Science classes could go to the computer lab after participating in a scientific lab and write it up. Social studies classes can use all kinds of different online tools to make a report or to further study a certain topic. Math is now even becoming friendlier to use online with certain places having easy ways to enter fractions and so forth. To use digital research in the content areas students can research any topic using Google and the Internet as well as have access to numerous academic journals and articles they would not normally have access to prior to the Internet. Most academic texts now have not only hard copies of texts, but also digital copies and supplementary activities to engage students online, providing digital access to information 24/7 both at school and at home. Students can read digital texts online, review commentaries, and follow hypertexts to get additional information and critical explanations as they read. Furthermore, students can engage in classroom and grade level blogs and blog classmates as they collaborate/share/bounce ideas off each other to attain a deeper level of understanding of texts, expanding their knowledge base and become more versatile with information technology tools across content areas. The more they engage in online transactions with texts, the more exposure they get for
  25. 25. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 25 8/4/13 creative ways of presenting information in their different academic disciplines. Engagement with digital tools helps students take charge of their learning under the skillful guidance of the teacher. Learningbecomes an adventure in which the students take the initiative and responsibility to achieve the predetermined learning objective in a fun, intellectually and socially satisfying manner, making learning fun and not a chore. Digital materials allow for automatic differentiation with students choosing what works best for them. They also add real world application to lessons and product. Use critical literacy to drive a better understanding Critical literacy is a way to connect students to a particular text as well as the social issues that might be involved. Talking about the why's and how's, text structure and impact, certain effects of a story or topic, and the language the author chose to use are all ways to use critical literacy in the classroom. Critical literacy helps the student to start thinking more broadly and specific about the book or topic and help them understand how to become life-long learners. Talk about why writers use certain effects and how we read/interpret/understand the text based on those effects. Focus more on how language can be used to include or exclude readers and questions about author’s choices with the text and how it might affect the meaning. Engage in class discussions about the whys and hows of the authors' portrayal of characters, or the point of view of non-fiction texts; showing that how events are portrayed and interpreted will differ based on the narrator. Guide students to look at a text holistically and determine how the writers' presentation of the text information-structure affects ease of reading and understanding. This is especially important in non-fiction texts where text structure and
  26. 26. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 26 8/4/13 vocabulary has to be understood for students to decipher the information effectively. Word choice and plot selection are all up to the author. What do they want us to believe? How do they want us to feel? Taking a critical look into writing and how an author's decisions and views affect the text itself. Critical literacy helps teach students understand how to view text from many variable viewpoints. Conclusion After exploring the use of digital technology in writing through research, previous literature, personal and professional experiences, discussions, and collaboration, it was determined that digital writing and technology can improve multiple literacy in the classroom. Kathrene says, “I feel that we as a group have a better grasp of what it means to teach in the “now” (as well as prepare for the future). By keeping up with the interests of students and the ways that society is progressing technologically, we can hope to instill greater learning patterns for our students. Additionally, we can help train them better for college, the workforce, and the community by including digital technologies in their lessons. A top goal is to help the students become life-long learners as well.” Mishelle shares, “I now understand how important it is to plan using technology from the beginning and within all content areas as opposed to waiting to use it for a specific project. I know that I have not used digital writing tools or technology nearly enough in my classroom, and I believe this will be one solution. I also know that more of my focus needs to be on students' use of technology and creation of digital product within all content areas. Yes, I will continue to find engaging ways to use technology for instructional purposes, but my main goal is student learning and use of the tools. I also
  27. 27. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 27 8/4/13 know that I need to engage my students in more digital writing. My experience has been a bit limited up until this point, and I now feel I have the knowledge to bring more digital writing into my classroom.” Tiffany explains, “I now know the importance of modeling writing and literacy for my students as well as the importance of showing flaws. I was always trying to hide my flaws to my students instead of embracing them and showing them how to overcome mistakes. I relate more to teachers who I see as real people and I think that my students would relate to me more as a person if I showed I too make mistakes. I also now believe that by modeling to my students how to work through mistakes will help give them the tools they need to work through their own mistakes.Incorporating literacy into every subject and using technology, as a tool is the basis of the research we did. I learned the importance of using technology as a tool to serve my lessons over creating lessons for the sole purpose of utilizing technology. Technology should be used to supplement information and lessons instead of be created.” Kennie says, “We now know that usage of digital tools should be a normal part of our instruction, not something to be added periodically. Digital tools should be systematically introduced to the students with direct instruction on usage and internet safety, so that they acquire a toolkit they can select from as needed for assignments.” Britney shares, “I feel like I have learned so much about how to be a better teacher through how I can incorporate the tools we have found and the ideas we have established to have a more technology driven classroom. I also feel that I better understand how to incorporate digital writing into all subject areas as well as literacy and
  28. 28. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 28 8/4/13 have learned some fun, engaging ways to do that in my classroom. I feel like I have a better understanding on what it means to be literate and how to implement strategies that will help my students do this.” In “Beyond Technology for Technologies Sake” the authors refer to incorporating technology as “a multi-literacies pedagogy”. Adopting a multi-literacies pedagogy in the classroom allows students to learn through authentic experiences, supports challenging and engaging aspects of reading and writing, and goes beyond “traditional literacy objectives to support and advance the development of multi-literacies” (Borsheim, Merritt, & Reed, 2008). In order to establish multi-literacies pedagogy we must step away from the mindset of occasionally integrating technology. We must instead think about our objectives and how technology can influence the writing opportunity (Borsheim, Merritt, & Reed, 2008). Through research and shared experiences we have seen how students throughout all grade levels can utilize digital writing tools. There are many engaging methods that students can use to share their writing, ideas and knowledge within all subject areas, such as Wordles, Wikis, Blogs, digital research, Story/Book creator applications, comic strip writing, and educational/social networking sites. As educators we must allow our students the opportunity to utilize and explore a variety of these tools to help ensure their success in our digital world.
  29. 29. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 29 8/4/13 References Al-Hazza, T., & Lucking, R. (2012). An Examination of Preservice Teachers' View of Multiliteracies: Habits, Perceptions, Demographics and Slippery Slopes. Reading Improvement, 49(2), 59-72. Retrieved from: 45b9-aa09-7f70cf112421%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=103 Borsheim, C., Merritt, K., & Reed, D. (2008) Beyond Technology for Technology's Sake: Advancing Multiliteracies in the Twenty-First Century. Clearing House, 82(2), 87-90 Retrieved from: 45b9-aa09-7f70cf112421%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=103 NWP, DE Voss, D., AaDahl, E., and Hicks, T. (2010)Because digital writing matters: improving student writing I online and multimedia environments. Jossey-Bass San Francisco, CA Peterson, S., Botelho, M., Jang, E., & Kerekes, J. (2007) Writing Assessment: What Would Multiliteracy Teachers Do? Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, 15(1), 29-34. Retrieved from: Unsworth, L. (2008). Multiliteracies, E-literature and English TeachingLanguage & Education: An International Journal, 22(1), 62-75. Retrieved from: 45b9-aa09-7f70cf112421%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=103
  30. 30. HOW TO IMPROVE MULTIPLE LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM USING NEW LITERACIES 30 8/4/13 "Victor" Chen, D., Wu, J., & Wang, Y.(2011). Unpacking New Media Literacy Journal Of Systemics Cybernetics & Informatics,9(2), 84-88. Retrieved from: 45b9-aa09-7f70cf112421%40sessionmgr104&vid=1&hid=103 Publishing This research can be found online at