On Wednesday of this past week I was fortunate to be able to participate in a panel discussion on the Literacy Research Association‘s ongoing series about connecting literacy research to classroom practice. Our discussion was about student agency and voice regarding digital literacies. The panelists included:
- Donald Leu, Director of the New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut,
- Elena Forzani, Doctoral student at the University of Connecticut,
- John Barilone, Community Manager for the Connected Learning Alliance.
- The discussion was moderated by Phil Wilder, Assistant Professor of Literacy at Clemson University.
- The show was produced by Kristy Pytash, Assistant Professor at Kent State University.
I enjoyed participating in this conversation and deepening my understanding of the research behind digital literacies. It was interesting to hear Don and Elena speak of their recent research that examines the gap between wealthy and poor students when it comes to online reading comprehension. They provided practical strategies for teaching digital literacies; these strategies can be implemented by any teacher. For example, Don mentioned using a close reading strategy for teaching online reading comprehension. Teachers could model how to conduct an Internet search and how to evaluate search results to find the most relevant information. This simple strategy addresses Common Core close reading goals, and provides students practice with improving digital literacies.
John Barilone shared excellent resources from the Connected Learning Alliance. This organization promotes the use of technology “in the service of equity, access and opportunity for all young people.” One resource John mentioned is the Do Now project from KQED. Do Now provides teachers with weekly prompts about current issues that students respond to on social media, such as Twitter. Their website contains extensive information for teachers interested in participating. I will definitely look into this.
Participating in this panel discussion has connected me to researchers and organizations that are working hard to promote digital literacy. It is exciting to see so much work happening in this field.
Here is the recording of our panel discussion.