Responsible for incorporating technology into literacy Instruction
In this article, you will discover how you can reap the advantages of incorporating various kinds of technology in instruction in literacy (such like electronic book or reading programs) without exposing yourself to potential dangers.
The computer program that uses interactive technology in the classroom is usually intended to inspire students (Boyle and Co. (2016);
check out our previous blog post about technology used to encourage youngsters to read) and provide more individualized learning that meets the varied requirements of students (Vasquez and Straub in 2012).
In recent years the quality and number of computer-based programs have grown to the point that their use is now widespread in classrooms for students in grades K-12 (Gray, Thomas, & Lewis 2010,). The investments in education technology and services for digital subscribers in United States schools already exceeded eight billion in 2013. This was the latest budget that was reported (Harman 2014) and is continuing to grow.
Digital tools and opportunities typically integrate with face-to face instruction to create the mixed education setting (Greer, Rowland, & Smith (2014)). A variety of review reviews that analyze the research in blended learning for students of various ages and environments have shown significant positive outcomes. However, the majority of research has focused on college students, and the amount of research conducted in primary or secondary school is still comparatively small. In a meta-analysis, only five of the 176 studies examined were conducted in the first year of kindergarten until the 12th grade .
Another review discovered only seven studies in secondary or elementary schools that used a thorough research plan that could assess the efficacy for blended learning .
The small amount and insufficient quality of research makes the process difficult for researchers to make definitive conclusions regarding the advantages in blended-learning. Furthermore certain researchers warn that students may have difficulty understand large chunks of text that require scrolling or moving between several displays . It is essential that teachers know how to maximize the advantages of incorporating various kinds technologies in the literacy curriculum (e.g. electronic books or reading intervention programs, etc.) and minimize the risk of risks.
Educational technology and assistive technology
All students could use in the curriculum of literacy instruction must be distinct from the subcategory known as assistive technologies. Hardware and software that have been specifically designed for use by students who have disabilities in the course of completing daily tasks and academics are classified as assistive technology. The child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 program should contain any needs for assistive technology and the need for the technology must be explained to the teacher of the student. When it is properly explained in this way giving the student the right to utilize the technology isn’t an option, more of an ethical and legal obligation that the teacher has to fulfill (Assistive technology Act, 1998 2004).
If the assistance technology is needed in certain circumstances, but is not beneficial to the students’ learning objectives in different ways, the team that is developing the IEP could specify when devices are suitable to be used. For instance, a person with dyslexia might have to make use of audiobooks or text-to speech recognition to learn subjects for courses in the subject area. Without assistive technology the student will be denied the opportunities as other students to acquire or demonstrate an understanding of the subject. But, it might make sense not to utilize these devices if students are receiving instruction in reading designed to aid his or her develop the specific writing or reading abilities for which the assistive technology is used.
In other words it is if a person who has dysgraphia is working towards an IEP that aims to improve handwriting abilities, it might not be logical to take handwriting exercises using the voice recognition software that is available using a digital device. Similar to when a person who has dyslexia is working on improving their decoding abilities then it doesn’t be logical to have decodable text aligned to the phonics lessons delivered to them using a text-to-speech program.
The following sections discuss the drawbacks of two types of educational technology. They also provide some ideas to use technology in advantageous ways that complement basic literacy instruction. These tools may be available to students of all ages, not only students who have an IEP in literacy instruction in the context of a blended learning.
Digital books, readers and eBooks
electronic books (e-books) comprise digital textbooks novel, informational pieces, novels as well as other reading materials that are delivered through the electronic reading device (e-reader) or computer or tablet. Textbooks can be purchased in a single transaction or via a subscription. They were frequently employed for reading independently in the study of the Iowa Reading Research Center’s study of intensive summer reading courses. In these classes students were often found sitting in front of laptops with headphones on, listened in silence to the sound of the book or the article that was being read out loud, while the yellow highlighter moved over the words displayed on the screen. This did not require students to apply reading skills as the yellow highlights was able to eliminate the need for students to keep track of the print on their own.
As well as transforming students who are active readers to passive listeners, electronic readers have been linked to students not reading as often. This could be because they are distracted with other functions of the device like online content or other apps that are not connected with reading the electronically delivered text. A well-designed blended learning activity such as those discussed in more details in the next section in this article, will make sure that the technology doesn’t disrupt or cause disruption in the process of learning literacy .
Digital reading programs for teaching reading
The use of digital curriculum programs is thought to assist teachers to personalize reading instruction and interventions for students with different abilities level . However, there’s not much evidence that digital programs result in better outcomes for students with or at risk of developing difficulties with reading . The method used to determine whether technology “works” typically has been determined by whether the program works as designed and not on solid research evidence for its efficiency . A tool that is operational is not the same as a tool that is effective.
Teachers play a crucial part in making sure that instruction is appropriate regardless of the type of materials or tools employed in classes . Without the support of and interactions with a teacher, students who have had frequent reading failures or other issues feel demotivated when directed to computers to be instructed . For these students computer use has reduced the personalization of instruction.
Enhancing the application of electronic tools in the classroom
The educational software, as well as other tools available online are superior to those which were in use 10 years ago. The use of the devices in the classroom opens up new opportunities for improving efficiency, personalization and motivation of students . However, simply replacing printed books and other teaching materials with digital versions can’t guarantee that the tools will be utilized effectively.
The teacher can take a number of steps to make sure that digital content is a supplement and not the primary focus in their instruction on literacy.
- Always make sure you have assistive technology needed by a child who has a disability, as specified in the IEP.
- You should disable the audio, highlighting and hyperlink features of electronic books unless the child’s needs in terms of language or learning (as defined in the IEP) specifically warrant significant amounts of assistance. If the functions are being used take into consideration the context and the time frame in which they must be active. Next, create a plan to help the student in the transition from needing these functions.
- Create face-to-face instruction activities that are based on the material students read with e-readers, or learn through a computer program. This could include encouraging discussions about the most important concepts in the text, and using the transfer of knowledge and skills for reading in other areas of content as well as providing opportunities to study and apply the key vocabulary terms in the digital text, writing out predictions or reactions to the digital text, and connecting to other reading or lesson materials.
- Take computer programs into consideration as a element that make up a blended learning system in where the teacher and classmates remain the primary source of interaction and instruction for students. Make use of the time you spend on computer as an opportunity for individual learning and practice. A small number of students can work on the online resources while the teacher instructs a smaller group. Small groups can move through stations that include instructor-led instruction, computer-led instruction and peer collaboration.