Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.
Last month I visited Woodstock, Vermont, a quaint little town that just landed on the top of Buzzfeed’s list of the 24 small New England towns that are “musts” to explore. Tromping through the slush of a late winter snow, I came across this charming listing of community activities right in the center of town.
At a time when most community bulletins are online or at least electronic displays, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen an outdoor board that was simply chalk on slate. Yet it made sense, and fit the landscape perfectly. Not to mention there were no worries about bulbs to replace, cords to plug in, or software to upgrade.
Teachers and administrators face the hurly-burly of deciding what technology is needed. The pressure is on not just to purchase a smartboard, but the latest, greatest, best smartboard of all the options out there. Yet I couldn’t help but think this little board is pretty darn smart for Woodstock. It’s the right tool for the job, and everyone who goes by knows they live in a trusting community just by glancing at it. It isn’t vandalized, it’s regularly updated, and the technology (with a little help from a sheltering ledge) withstands the worst that winter or summer throws at it.
I thought about that humble chalkboard as I compiled the articles for this week’s Big Fresh that focus on digital literacy. This is the challenge of our time — to use technology wisely in schools, knowing when the latest software or hardware is essential, and when it’s time to ditch the computer, pull out chart paper, and keep it simple so the focus is on the message, not the tool. There aren’t any easy answers, but this issue of the newsletter is full of marvelous possibilities. Enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
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Here are two articles from the Choice Literacy archives to help you foster more digital literacy among students.
Franki Sibberson finds herself updating reading interviews to reflect students’ use of technology:
Shared Blogging is the kissing cousin of shared reading and shared writing in Cathy Mere’s second-grade classroom, as she discovers the importance of guiding students through the process of creating blog posts:
Greg Whitman details a successful plan he spearheaded in a large high-poverty school district for Taking a District-Wide Approach to Teaching Digital Citizenship:
A Vision of 21st Century Teachers features 18 classroom teachers who “speak out” with scrawled notes on the topic of tech integration and 21st century skills for students in this fun four-minute video:
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Bill Bass gives advice and provides resources for creating video with high school students:
Katherine Sokolowski presents some strategies from her fifth-grade classroom for Getting Started with Blogging:
Colby Sharp shares step-by-step guidance for linking class blogs, Twitter and private Facebook pages when sharing with families. Best of all, you can turn over the task to students:
Screen-Free Week is May 5 – 11. Sarah Klim provides some fun reading options for sparking discussions about screen time in her latest booklist:
If you’re interested in more videos and feature articles on technology, there are dozens available in the Technology section of the website:
That’s all for this week!