Effective teaching and learning with multimodal literacies are essential components of a sound 21st century pedagogy and while there are common features of traditional literacy, other aspects need to be explicitly modelled for students. These are:
- navigating web-based pathways and hyperlinks - while students are "tech-savvy" they are not always using pathways efficiently and require specific opportunities to develop and refine this skill.
- understanding and creating meaning from digital resources sich as images and video - student require modelling and opportunities to collaborate or work on whole class examples to ensure that deep knowledge is extracted. Visual images contain literal and inferential meanings which are not always apparent to all students.
- create meaning through digital story-telling
iPads and Literacy
As a teacher, it is always great to be able to access a resource quickly and easily and eBooks makes this possible. My class had enjoyed the witty novel by Andy Griffiths and I found that there was a recently released sequel which we downloaded and read as a class from my iPad on Smartboard! Too easy! It illustrated well the contrast between shared reading of a traditional text and digital story-telling.
The class also shared a picture book on an iPad following, following directions to download and
then reflect with a written task. You would think that 15 groups reading at once would be a cacophony but it was a glorious example of 21st century learning at work.
ReRead, Record and Reflect Activity
This activity I modified (integrated?) using Explain Everything app where the students interviewed one another about a Maths task or created a scientific drawing and annotated as they drew. Not a reading tasks but the result was a collection of voice recordings of us all! An interesting observation was that the students were not distracted by one another. It is amazing how quickly they have adapted to multimodal classroom.
Literacy Building Activities
I found an iPad invaluable for literacy-based tasks with my students requiring a higher level of learning support. One student simply used it to photograph the spelling words she had created with scrabble tiles. A simple substitution activity however using an iPad had a vicarious effect on her and she became highly motivated to challenge herself. This resulted in her fitting the words together crossword style which would had not been achievable in the past.
My class were finishing the school term (T2) with independent creative writing tasks, using random ( and slightly ridiculous) book titles e.g. The Attack of the 50ft. Turnip!I wanted to find options for publishing their completed stories in a digital format that could be readily shared by the whole class.
We used StoryKit: add images; simple drawings; records sound; adds text; records the file for each image individually; and final product looks great on the iPad.
My Story is another easy to use app for digital story-telling. It is best to use with a stylus as there is no function for the creator to type text in. I created one about my farm, importing photos and adding voice. My Learning Support students loved it the best!
Book Building apps The catch phrase for this heading is that book creation allows students to "actively produce content", which I believe to be a core principle of learning through technology. Using my MacBook and iBooks Author I was able to create an eBook using information reports the class had written, including diagrams and images. They were motivated to produce well-edited text especially when we shared a draft of the finished product. It was easily accessed by parents and provided an insightful example of exploring books on the iPad.
Pinterest and Scoop It! are my favourite curating apps. and can be accessed from my first post. I have also found these to be valuable resources for my colleagues and used during Techy Brekkies sessions.
This module has provided an excellent opportunity for me to reflect on how I have been using iPads to support reading in my classroom. As we have only been in an introductory phase with iPads during 2012, it is certainly motivating to see how quickly the classroom environment and pedagogy has changed due to these devices.
I am ever mindful of the SAMR model and am endeavouring to move beyond the substitution phase of iPad integration. So when it comes to reading, I want to ensure that there is a skill or activity attached which is digitally-focussed.