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Authenticity, Intentionality and Connectedness...for Teachers


As part of the #cyberPD group I am part of, we are reading the text, Digital Reading: What’s Essential in Grades 3 - 8 by Bass and Sibberson. This week, we are focusing on reading chapters 1 and 2 and discussing them by linking our blog posts and posting on our Google Community. 

This book focuses on how literacy and literacy teaching needs to change based on the new and digital literacies that permeate our lives today. No longer are students reading only printed books in a traditional manner. They are reading digital texts, linking to online resources and sharing their thinking in new ways. This has new implications for comprehension, for teaching and for re-defining our definitions literacy and literacy instruction. 

As a literacy teacher educator, I bring a different stance to this discussion than a classroom teacher would. My role is to help teachers change the way they think about literacy and literacy instruction, including critical, 21st century and digital literacies. As I read this book, I was continually struck with ‘a-ha’ moments about how I could change my own teaching within my on-campus and online courses to better help teachers have those same ‘a-ha’ moments and translate that learning to the classroom. I firmly believe that, if I embed digital reading practices and tools within my literacy teacher education courses and professional development, teachers can see how they might be used in real, meaningful and authentic ways in their classrooms. 

I have to ensure that I am not merely introducing a ‘cool tool’ for teachers to try and use in the classroom, I have to ensure that the technology I am using serves a purpose: to better teach the content of our craft and collaborate with others. The goal is not to use technology on a surface level, as the authors write, it is to create digitally literate students, and I would add, teachers.  Being literate in the 21st century is much more than just using technology…it is making connections, analyzing information, critiquing and evaluating and being ethical in the process. This is much more than introducing new apps to teachers. I have to introduce them in such a way that they truly see what the authors of this book are trying to tell us: that we can change readers’ lives through the use of them.
 
My lesson from these first two chapters is clear: I have to help teachers intentionally use digital tools for learning in real, authentic ways so they can see the power of using them with their students. The three big ideas of authenticity, intentionality and connectedness must start in teacher education. I need to base my graduate courses and other professional development on these three pillars and be very explicit about why and how I am doing so. It is not enough to model the kinds of classrooms we want our future teachers to create. We need to be very clear about the how and why of such work and give concrete examples about how teachers can transfer these principles from their own learning to their students. I created this simple printable to remind me of this task as I plan for my graduate students, modeled after the one made for elementary teachers in the text. I hope some of you find it useful!

This is my work ahead. I hope to connect with other teachers and teacher educators within this group to help chart a path for doing so. 

Stephanie

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this document and for your post. I have created a Padlet for this book where I can save any documents shared during this book study.

    I enjoyed reading your perspective as a teacher educator. I agree that intentionality is important. I too like the three pillars presented in this book. I am particularly interested in the idea of making connection. I anticipate that this goes further than what we traditionally think of as connecting to a text when we are talking about digital texts.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Elisa,

      The Padlet is such a great idea! Is this an open Padlet for the group?

      Stephanie

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    2. Hi Stephanie,
      It wasn't public, but I just made it public. With the url listed below, anyone who wants to can add a post, insert a document or make a comment. Here's the url - http://padlet.com/ewaingort/ayuderly4ssx

      Delete
    3. I love it, Elisa. Thank you for sharing this. It will be a great resource!

      Stephanie

      Delete
  2. Yea! I love that this work is happening with teachers -- and yes! If you purposefully and intentionally plan to embed digital texts and tools into your daily work, teachers will see the importance and relevance. I think, like you, I have to be careful not to get caught up in the newest cool app or tool ... we have to keep authenticity in the forefront.

    Thanks for joining in our #cyberPD conversations. I believe that the work you are doing will make a huge impact and I'm so excited that you are participating! Another perfect (authentic!) example of digital reading and learning to share with your students -- invite them to join in #cyberPD too!

    Michelle

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comments, Michelle! I had considered inviting my students to participate alongside me, but honestly, they are so busy with the required reading of the course, that it might be challenging for them. However, I have posted about it in class for those that were interested. Also, as I read this book and participate in the group, I am definitely considering using this book in my 'Classroom Literacy Instruction' course in the Fall!

      Stephanie

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  3. I enjoyed reading how you had so many ah ha moments and how they have already impacted your thinking to take an action step. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I think it's great you're using current texts to stay up to date for your classes. So often the continuing Ed classes I take use out of date textbooks. Thanks for sharing the padlet!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Elisa made the Padlet public so we can all contribute. I love the Pinterest page too!

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  5. Stephanie,
    I commented last night on my iPad. I had waited until I finished my reflection before I started reading other responses. However, it appears my comment didn't stay. I find it fascinating that no matter the level of our students we are seeing some of the same lessons. We are learning as we read, participate, and do think together. Like you, I try to be intentional about the choice of tools and digital texts. I want them to see new possibilities in the work we do. I love that you are participating and thinking about how to use it with future educators. Looking forward to continuing the conversation. (I like the way you turned your quotes into images.)

    Cathy

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  6. Thank you, Cathy! My graduate students are required to participate in discussion boards focused on the readings for the week. I thought I would add a graphic element like this to my posts as a model for what they might do. I will not require it, but see how many take note of it and try it in their own work...a lesson from chapter 3 on authenticity!

    Stephanie

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