Technology Toolbox for the K-12 Literacy Teacher

Technology Toolbox for the K-12 Literacy Teacher

James R. Stachowiak (University of Iowa, USA) and Liz Hollingworth (University of Iowa, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4502-8.ch041
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Abstract

This chapter reviews assistive technology solutions to literacy teaching challenges in the classroom, current trends with literacy and technology, available open source, commercial, and mobile literacy technology tools, and how to select the proper tools in the classroom to create a valuable toolbox of literacy-based technology tools to advance literacy goals in K-12 schools. Because these technologies are always evolving, we provide decision rules for selecting new tools to teach literacy.
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Technology In The Service Of K-12 Literacy Instruction

Technology can allow teachers to target literacy strategies that can be used with students of all ages, particularly related to the literacy goals outlined in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts. In fact, the CCSS specifically address the use of such strategies in literacy instruction in their statement on promoting high expectations for all students. Technology can provide additional supports and services for all students including those with disabilities, through Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and “assistive technology devices and services to ensure access to the general education curriculum and the Common Core State Standards,” (CCSS, 2011a).

In terms of teaching reading, one of the most important technological advancements in the last decade has been the emergence of digital text. When text is available in a digital format, it can be provided to all students in whatever format best meets their needs including Braille, large print, audio and most importantly, text that can be read aloud and easily manipulated to embed reading scaffolds. The use of digital text introduces a host of possibilities for strengthening literacy instruction and supporting struggling readers in the challenging task of reading for understanding in multiple genres, and for diverse purposes (Strangman & Dalton, 2005). Many of these possibilities have come from the development of several text reading tools that read text aloud while highlighting words as they are read, allowing students to follow along and take in words in both an auditory and visual manner.

These technologies have the potential to support struggling readers in both a compensatory fashion, providing access to text (Edyburn, 2002a, 2002b, 2003), and a remedial fashion, helping students learn how to read with understanding (Rose & Dalton, 2002; Rose & Meyer, 2002). Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy (Stroud, 2003) is an example of the benefits of digital text as the author has made use of the interactive digital features of the kindle or other e-reader to tell a story. In this book, the main character, Bartimaeus, makes clever asides to the reader that are set as end notes, which can be accessed by touching the superscript number next to the words on the screen. The development of these reading tools and proliferation of digital text has happened quickly. When discussing the use of e-readers in the classroom with elementary teachers, Zipke found that most of the teachers were in awe of the access to books provided by an e-reader and the number of titles available digitally (Zipke, 2012). Digital text can help teachers with vocabulary instruction, teaching students to analyze text, and ensuring all instructional materials are accessible.

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