On Wednesday after school, I'll be sharing my thoughts about enhancing student learning with digital reading, writing and creating. I convinced Tony to volunteer his time and share about how his 4th graders have been impacted by digital storytelling as well. I have been thinking about this topic for the last few years and I have too much to say. I only need to speck for 15 minutes but I could share for more like and hour. It has been hard today to figure out how to condense my thoughts and narrow my focus.
I feel like what I am really trying to share is how we need to be the leaders in guiding kids towards digital learning. We have to pursue interesting and purposeful digital learning places where they have opportunities to read, write and connect. We need to also lean on what we already know about good teaching (models of instruction, big ideas and messages) and embed digital opportunities along side traditional reading and writing. There are digital pieces that allow us to illustrate points in mini lessons that take students into knowing learners ( authors, scientists and mathematicians) deeply. There is an unending amount of material in cyberspace for learners to access. For example, video clips that show author's purpose and help kids identify with a writer (Bob Shea). There are sites that connect us to real scientists and help us think about their authentic work (Beyond Polar Bears). And there are math games that can introduce kids to mathematical behaviors (like estimating and rethinking after estimating (hiding ladybug)) so we can illustrate a point in a lesson digitally before asking them to practice independently. Digital opportunities like blogging naturally lends itself towards independence and sharing in writing and reading (both parts of our workshop structure). I am sure you could add to the ideas and examples that would support digital learning because you value it as a blog reader yourself. This may be too much to share in 15 minutes but I am going to try.
Our students will be living in the digital world far more than we do now. I want my students to be learning how to find places for learning instead of just playing ( club penguin, minecraft, tv show websites). I want them to understand how to communicate and connect digitally as they learn instead of just connecting socially. Our students and parents need us to show them where safe and purposeful learning can take place digitally. If we don't guide them , who will?