Digital Literacy or Electronic Babysitter?

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We live the Digital Age, where people are expected to demonstrate, at the very least, basic digital literacy skills. Despite the fact that technology in schools often lags behind technology at home, academic environments are doing all they can to build their students' digital knowledge. (Be sure to check out these previous posts: Flipping Out in the Elementary Classroom and Teens Aren't as Digitally Literate As We Thought.)

In her article, What Do Good Readers Do  - On the Computer? (The Reading Teacher, April 2013), Lindsay Buck Saldana's does an excellent job explaining why "interactive" computer games are merely electronic babysitters unless the classroom teacher actively participates with his/her students while they play these games.

She conducted a mini-action research study of sorts after watching her students mindlessly click through activities on a well-known reading web site. Were they engaged? Sure! But were they thinking? Not so much. She worked toward solving the problem by showing students how to apply the traditional reading strategies we all know and love to their online reading games. Through modeling, read alouds and explicit instruction of strategies, she demonstrated that while the text format may be different, the concept is the same. Using one of their web-based programs, Saldana walked her students through the steps of how a good reader interacts with a website, which include taking advantage of all the resources available such as clickable images and words.

It's all about getting students to transfer their knowledge from one content area to another. And sometimes the best way to bridge the gap between traditional and cutting edge is to realize there is room for both. 

What are some ways you boost your students' digital literacy skills?

Do You Hear What I Hear? Listening as Literacy

photo credit: Kaptain Kobold via photopin cc

I've long held the belief that listening to other people read can have a significant impact both on early childhood learners and striving readers. This article from Reading Rockets lists multitude of benefits that audiobooks can offer readers.

In addition to reading books, I have been on a audiobook binge lately. My local library system makes it super easy to download books using the Overdrive program. I've introduced my girls to audiobooks. We've listened to quite a few in the car. They love them - and it saves my ears from Radio Disney! Here's what we've been reading lately.

I've enjoyed these books while walking, driving, vacuuming, emptying the dishwasher ... you get the idea. Basically, any time I can steal a few minutes.

Is there anything more delightful than getting lost in the prosodic, fluent, expressive voice of another person?

How about you? Do you enjoy listening to books? Do you use audiobooks in your classroom? Do audiobooks make your skin crawl? Do tell!

Thanks for reading. It keeps your ... Mind Full of Literacy!