A Beautiful Example of Digital Technology Used to Re-Imagine Literacy

I (Pooja) read a blog post I wanted to share with you all. Lee Bessette, a college instructor, shared an experience of how technology was used as a tool to “re-reading, re-teaching, realizing.” Bissette, while teahcing the works of Thomas King (Indigenous writer), had students use their laptops, smartphones, and tablets to make real-time connections with the text. She explained:

…all of my students have laptops or tablets or smartphones, so instead of me telling them who the actors are and why it matters, I have them use google. And find pictures. And look at the shows and history. And who W.P. Kinsella is and why he is being referenced. And then they can collaboratively annotate the text.

We didn’t come up with any hard answers, but just explored theories, including one reference to the first lines of Paradise Lost that a student found by googling “garden, heaven, seat, Eden.” And many of my students are still struggling with this level of discourse around literature. But, as I told them today in an email (I know, SO OLD SCHOOL OF ME), that these readings that we did today around the setting of the garden were completely new to me, too, even after reading and teaching this story countless times. And that it has taken 20 years of practice to have a DUH moment like that one I had before class about said garden.

But the moment wouldn’t have come if it hadn’t been for the integration of technology in active and productive ways in my classroom practice. I could have the students find and collect the information needed to begin to make meaning in the text and focus on taking that process of meaning-making to the next level. They still don’t believe me when I tell them to “google it” and require them to annotate together, but I think after today we are all finally heading in the right direction.

Bessette demonstrates how all the smart technology brought into class on a daily basis could be used in a truly meaningful way. She used technology to enhance student learning by digging into a text in multimodal ways. By having student collaboratively annotate the text, she had them learn from one another and in turn gain deeper insights. A great model for using digital technology to re-imagine literacy!

Read the whole blog post here:

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/college-ready-writing/re-reading-re-teaching-realizing-technology

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