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Digital Technology in Literacy?

Filed under: Uncategorized — andersem at 4:06 pm on Monday, October 8, 2012

I just read an article about the benefits of integrating iPads into the classroom during literacy instruction. My school is still working on adding Smartboards to every classroom so we do not have any sort of hand held technological devices available for instruction. With that being said, I don’t know if I would use them if we did have them available.

After reading the article, I found some benefits to using a technological device in the classroom. It seems that the different apps available to an iPad would enhance student learning tremendously. The saying, “there is an app for that,” certainly applies to the classroom. They have developed numerous apps that allow students to organize information, to draw visualizations, and even to store books that they want to read in their very own classroom library. Finally, students who are reading at a much lower level than their peers could still read books at their level without being embarrassed by it. Since the books appear digitally, students will not know what books their peers are reading. It seems that using an iPad would help engage students who¬†may otherwise dislike the reading block time.

On the other side, there are definitely some draw backs to using a technological device in the classroom. While it allows students who are reading a lower level book to hide it, it also prevents students from seeing what their peers are reading. A lot of books recommendations come through conversations students have with their peers based on books that are visible around the classroom. Since all books are hidden, students will not know what books their peers are reading. Also, the accountability piece is a big question. How can you be sure students are reading books on their level? It is easy for a teacher to survey a classroom in order to understand whether or not his/her students are reading books on their level, on a level that is below where they should be reading, or a level that is well above where they should be reading. When students are reading a book on an iPad, the teacher can’t be sure that the student is reading a good book unless he/she checks in with each student each day. Even then, students can easily change books without the teacher noticing. Finally, I hate to give up the task of choosing a book and reading a book. So much of the world is becoming technical and the craft of choosing an interesting book, reading a book, reading a newspaper, or doing research, is becoming lost. I feel that there is so much time for these students to use technological devices in their life so it is my duty to ensure they still have access (and use) books.

Has anyone had experience with iPads or other hand held technological devices in the classroom? What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of using them? Do you feel it is well worth the added instruction time spent on teaching students how to use the device?




October 14, 2012 @ 11:36 pm   Reply

I have introduced Ipad into my classroom in small groups. I think it is very important to explain to the students that it’s a privilege to use them. It can be taken away if they abuse the privilege. Yes, it is well worth the time to explain how to use it correctly & the consequences if they do not. (It might be a good idea to explore the apps at home before letting the students explore them.)

Pro – very mobile & hands on – students can find a cozy place in the room to use them. (the floor, table, great battery life – can last for days as long as the students close out & delete the apps when they are finished, endless amount of useful apps (some apps allow you to change the difficulty level depending on the student ability)

Cons – the screen gets dirty a lot (all those fingers), so must have a dark cloth to clean it with & doesn’t support flash (a lot of online programs have flash content)



    October 14, 2012 @ 11:49 pm   Reply


    I like the idea of using the iPad for small group instruction. It seems much more manageable as we get started. Thanks for the suggestion!



October 17, 2012 @ 1:08 pm   Reply

Do you really keep track of what students are reading and make sure they are at an appropriate level? I never could do that, but I taught middle school. We had book clubs (assigned) and then free reading was just that – free reading.

If a kid gets a book that he really cannot comprehend, that is really too difficult for him, then a couple of things will happen:
(a) he’ll give up and get a book he can read
(b) he won’t give it up, and he won’t read

In the case of B does it really matter if the book is on level? You’re looking at a kid that likely wouldn’t read that book either.

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