Look no further for guidance on how to integrate technology into English classrooms. A commission of ELA and tech experts (co-led by Troy Hicks and me) created this phenomenal guidance document that will–without question–help ELA teams, teacher educators, and researchers better use technology in the classroom. The document begins:
What it means to communicate, create, and participate in society seems to change constantly as we increasingly rely on computers, smartphones, and the web to do so.
Despite this change, the challenge that renews itself — for teachers, teacher educators, and researchers — is to be responsive to such changes in meaningful ways without abandoning the kinds of practices and principles that we as English educators have come to value and know to work.
The document is organized around four core belief statements, from which all recommendations stem.
- Literacy means literacies. Literacy is more than reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing as traditionally defined. It is more useful to think of literacies, which are social practices that transcend individual modes of communication.
- Consider literacies before technologies. New technologies should be considered only when it is clear how they can enhance, expand, and/or deepen engaging and sound practices related to literacies instruction.
- Technologies provide new ways to consume and produce texts. What it means to consume and produce texts is changing as digital technologies offer new opportunities to read, write, listen, view, record, compose, and interact with both the texts themselves and with other people.
- Technologies and their associated literacies are not neutral. While access to technology and the internet has the potential to lessen issues of inequity, they can also perpetuate and even accelerate discrimination based on gender, race, socioeconomic status, and other factors.
I strongly recommend that anyone in English education makes time over the coming months to share this document out with colleagues, use it as a tool to refine your current practices, and tell NCTE how useful it is (or how it can be improved).