Engaging Teachers in a Digital Learner-Centered Approach to Support Understanding Foundational Literacy

Engaging Teachers in a Digital Learner-Centered Approach to Support Understanding Foundational Literacy

Beth Beschorner (Minnesota State University, Mankato, USA) and Lindsay Woodward (Drake University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0206-8.ch014
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This chapter describes a graduate level course that is required for the state's reading endorsement and is offered entirely online. The course emphasizes recent research, issues, teaching methods, and new materials in reading at the K-12 level and was intentionally designed as a learner-centered environment using the Technology Integration Planning Cycle. Students in the course (n = 38) were practicing teachers at the elementary, middle, or high school level in a wide range of urban, suburban, or rural settings. The instructor's use of the Technology Integration Planning Cycle to create a learner-centered environment and the teachers' work samples throughout the course are described. Finally, implications for teacher education are discussed.
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Goal Statement

This chapter focuses on using the Technology Integration Planning Cycle (TIPC; Hutchison & Woodward, 2014), illustrated in Figure 1, to create a learner-centered environment (McCombs & Vakili, 2005) with a focus on literacy content and pedagogy in an online graduate course. The TIPC is a recursive planning cycle developed to help support teachers to make instructional planning decisions that considers the use of digital technology for literacy instruction (Hutchison & Woodward, 2014). The instructor used the TIPC to develop an online, learner-centered environment, which is defined as one that uses knowledge of both individual learners and of teaching and learning to make educational decisions (McCombs & Valiki, 2005). Although the TIPC was used to plan the course and could be used by the teachers to plan their own instruction, the cycle was not central to the content of the course and only discussed in one course reading.

Figure 1.

The technology integration planning cycle (Hutchinson & Woodward, 2014)


The goals of the course meet Standards 1 and 2 of the Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (International Literacy Association, 2018). The overarching purpose of the learning in the course was to develop knowledge of the “major theoretical, conceptual, historical, and evidenced-based components of reading” (ILA 1.1, 2018, p. 34) while simultaneously supporting teachers’ ability to “use foundational knowledge to design, select, critique, adapt, and evaluate evidence-based literacy curricula” (ILA 2.1, 2018, p. 35), including print and digital text and multiple means of expression. Standards 1 and 2 are closely related, as Standard 2 focuses on utilizing an approach that considers an evidence-based rationale to guide instructional decisions. Thus, the goals of the course reflect the relationship between these two standards and explicitly support teachers’ knowledge of evidenced-based components of reading and how to use that knowledge to enhance their ability to integrate digital technologies in their literacy instruction.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Foundational Literacy Instruction: Literacy instruction that is related to skills needed to read and write, which include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Digital Literacy: The process of reading and interacting with digital text and other digital materials and creating using digital tools, including writing, creating images, curating content, making videos, etc.

Technology Integration: Teaching and learning that uses digital tools to meet a specific learning goal.

Digital Tools: A program, app, or other software available on a digital device (e.g., iPad, laptop, smart phone, etc.), including those that are language, audio, and visually based.

Learner-Centered Environment: A learning environment that is designed to intentionally consider the teachers’ feeling, reactions, and responses to concepts and ideas in ways that are central to student learning.

Instructional Planning: The process through which teachers establish standards-based learning objectives, select and curate materials, and envision the instruction involved in supporting students’ progress towards meeting learning goals.

Reflection: A personal analysis of one’s own experiences and consideration of current context as related to a particular concept or literacy practice.

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