Wednesday, April 27, 2016

reThinking Literacy

By Lindsay Watters, Year 1, Sara Village School

Quite an apt name for a conference, especially since all I have been doing since attending ASB Unplugged back in February is… ‘thinking’. 

I am the first to admit that in recent years I have been all too keen to integrate technology within my classroom; but has the wow factor of using this shiny new technology and the latest app blinded me to the fact that there is low level learning going on? 
Am I giving my students meaningless tasks that they could just as easily complete using a pencil and paper?

As with the majority of conferences that I have previously attended, we were asked that obligatory first question; 

"What are you hoping to take away from today?" 

Now I can't speak for everyone, but my answer is always the same; 

“Tools! I would like some tools I can use in my classroom." 

So… as I sat in the opening keynote of ‘reThinking Literacy’ this week and Dr Lotta Larson asked us to share our answer with other educators around us, I suddenly realised that I didn't want "tools". 
For what use is the latest app or gadget if I am not integrating it in a meaningful way?
 What use is having my students share their work if there isn't actually an audience? 
What is the purpose of setting tasks if they are not authentic? 
The list of questions I have been asking myself is endless. And the message throughout this week’s conference was clear. Teachers need to focus on PURPOSE when planning lessons using technology. The ‘WHY?’

Professor Troy Hicks echoed this in his response, “There is no single app or platform that is going to deliver it all, and anything we integrate or adapt must be for the benefit of the learning environment that we work in.” 

I’m sure that nothing I heard or anything I have posted here is new, but it has encouraged me to now consider what I do through fresh eyes and to purposefully ‘rethink’ how I ask my students to use technology to learn and engage in literacy skills.

I have come away from the ‘reThinking Literacy’ conference with my ‘WHY?’ 
What’s yours?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey. I love seeing your 'a-ha' moment: sometimes a pencil might actually be the best tool. The glitz of tech not only gets us excited, but also our students. Helping them to come around to the same realization that flash isn't what is important, rather it is really cool to learn things that are going to help them when they are 'big kids', let alone grown-ups.