Evaluating Technology & Online Resources for Literacy Instruction

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  • 0:00 Literacy & Technology
  • 1:00 Examples & Advantages
  • 3:41 Technology Criteria
  • 6:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

As many teachers know, using technology in the classroom is full of benefits and challenges. In this lesson, we'll examine using technology and online resources in the literacy classroom, including how to evaluate technology for classroom use.

Literacy & Technology

Todd is a ninth grade teacher, and he wants his students to learn how to read and write well. But, some of them just aren't engaged in literacy and don't like to read and write. Todd wants to know how to get them more engaged and help them learn better.

Todd teaches literacy, which consists of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. When evaluating resources for his literacy classroom, Todd should look for products that help students develop all four skills. Todd sees that the world is changing and that students need technology skills as well as literacy skills. But, how does he know which technology products to use?

To help Todd out, let's look closer at instructional technology, including its advantages and the criteria Todd can use to evaluate technology and online resources for his literacy classroom.

Examples & Advantages

Todd wants to use technology in his classroom, but he's not sure what to use. Computers? Tablets? And, which online resources or apps should he use? Todd is actually wondering about two different things. Technology hardware is the physical technology, such as tablets, ebooks, and computers, that allow a person to access non-physical technology, such as software or the internet. In addition, there are online resources, such as websites, apps, and some types of software, which are the non-physical technology and education tools available to be accessed through the internet.

Todd will need to use both hardware and online resources in the classroom. Think of hardware as a container, like a glass, while the online resources are what the container holds, like water. A glass without water can't quench thirst, and it's difficult to drink water without a glass. In this case, the hardware is the glass, helping hold and give access to the online resources, which provide information and activities.

You might be wondering why Todd should include technology in his classroom at all. After all, you can learn to read and write without using ebooks and special apps. There are a few advantages to using technology for literacy instruction though.

First of all, using technology in the classroom integrates literacy and technology skills. This is important to Todd because he wants his students to have literacy skills, but he also recognizes that success in today's world also requires technology skills. Using technology in the classroom allows students to be proficient at both.

Additionally, technology can increase student motivation and engagement. Remember that many of Todd's students are disengaged. They're just not interested in literacy class. By using technology, Todd can boost those students' engagement levels, motivating them to learn more.

Finally, technology allows students to receive multiple streams of information through different senses. When reading a book, a student receives information visually. But, an ebook might also have an audio track or an interactive feature that requires the student to use his or her hands to navigate. In this way, the ebook gets information to the student by using additional streams of information other than just visual input.

Technology Criteria

Todd thinks that it's a good thing for him to use technology in his classroom. He also understands that he needs to use both hardware and online resources together. But, he's still not sure how to choose the technology products he uses in his classroom. How should he narrow the list?

There are some questions that Todd must ask about every piece of technology (hardware or online). They are:

1. Does it help with literacy skills?

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