Alessi's turn on the iPad
If you take a walk through your local Best Buy or Home Depot, after just a few minutes browsing you will notice a variety of smart devices available to consumers at a relatively low cost. For example, a 32-inch Smart HDTV can be purchased for around $150. These smart devices are enabled with Wi-Fi access and many of them preloaded with a variety of streaming media applications that consumers can log into and begin viewing upon unpacking the device. Not even appliances are immune to the smart device revolution. Many refrigerators are being built with touchscreens on the doors and with network connectivity. Soon, we may be watching “television” from our refrigerator while we are preparing dinner.

As a result of the smart device revolution, today’s youth have left live television behind. Media consumption has shifted from television to digital streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others. Children are consuming media via device, whether it is music via Spotify, Pandora, Soundcloud, Tidal and others or video via the iTunes Store, WatchESPN, Netflix or Amazon Prime. As such, digital reading platforms have begun to emerge to take advantage of the connected child. Tech-savvy parents and teachers can provide children and students with anytime-anyplace access to thousands of age-appropriate titles, which in the near future, could be accessed by toddlers from a touch-screen on the refrigerator door.

What does this mean in the world of the young child? What does it mean for children that are learning to read and interact with a variety of forms of literacy materials? Gone are the days of sitting your child on the kitchen floor with building blocks or storybook. Instead, they are plugged into the matrix and have connections to any number of streaming media platforms. How will children interact with literacy in the environment of the smart home? What does this mean for teaching kids the alphabet or their numbers? How does this impact the way that we can teach kids how to read, write, communicate and be literate in this streaming world? Do we need to have different expectations for what it means to be literate in our world today? Are expected expectations for student achievement relevant and attainable in this new age that we’re living in? Questions such as these must be considered to ensure that teachers are educating youth for the world they will live in tomorrow.

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chirbit
Fluent readers develop over time with plenty of practice. Many students (and parents) mistakenly equate fluent reading with fast reading. Teachers must work to help students and parents understand that reading quickly with little expression or in a monotone voice is not fluent reading (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.4.B). One way transliteracy skills can assist in this process is through the use of digital audio recording. There are many digital audio recording tools teachers can use to help students develop into more fluent readers. Read the rest of this entry…

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Sitting on the shoulders of giants
The Common Core State Standards emphasize the need to “prepare all students for success in college, career, and life.” In today’s workplace, that means communicating across a variety of platforms. Jobs are no longer location-based, with all members of the workforce in the same building at the same time. Instead, a number of digital tools, such as email, voice-over-Internet calling and web-conferencing software help colleagues connect across space and time. These tools can be put to effective use in the classroom too!

One way to share the love of reading with others is through video conferencing. Teachers can begin to build the transliteracy skills students need to connect and collaborate with digital tools using a free resource like Google Hangouts. Hangouts is a powerful tool that offers an opportunity to introduce a wider world to your students by connecting with classes in another state or country. Read the rest of this entry…

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To develop a comprehensive vocabulary, students must build connections between words and cultivate sophisticated schemas of meaning. Teachers can use graphic organizers as a tool to help students visualize the interconnection between words to support this process. In the transliterate classroom, one way students can create powerful graphic organizers to support vocabulary growth is through the use of word clouds.

A word cloud is a compilation of words associated to a distinct idea that has been appropriated from a narrative or informational text on the topic. The words in the cloud often vary in print size and color. The more frequently a word is found in the text, the larger it appears in the cloud. A quick look at the cloud can help students preview a text passage, introduce key terms, and strengthen vocabulary.

Teachers and students can create word clouds using a number of free websites, most of which work in a similar manner. ABCYa! Word Clouds is a great place to get started with early elementary students. Begin by finding a passage of grade-level appropriate text online that you plan on having students read. Students can then type or paste the text into the word box, press the create button and view the word cloud. After generating the word cloud, students can change the color, layout and font of the words through an easy-to-use interface. ABCYa! Word Clouds can be saved or printed for later reference.

When teachers model the creation of word clouds using ABCYa! Word Clouds or a similar web application, they are not only offering opportunities to strengthen vocabulary, but also exposing students to critical transliteracy skills such as highlight, copy, paste and “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) editing. Teachers should be teaching the vocabulary associated with these technological tasks alongside academic vocabulary contained in the text.

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ebook

What makes a good, workable, instructive, enjoyable ebook for young children? Certainly the established criteria of quality children’s literature apply to ebook texts. Strong features of good storybooks over the ages are similarly the features of enduring ebooks into the future: age-appropriate material that interests children, strong plots, and rich characterizations of the human condition are most likely the types of features we’d hope to find in a high-quality ebook. In this way, ebooks are very much like traditional books, and their literary or informational content can be judged by the same general criteria.

However, the addition of electronics impacts reading in new ways. An ebook, for example, can have background music whereas a traditional book cannot. Ebooks can provide mini-tutorials in hotspots, hyperlinks and virtual assistants who instruct and explain on-the-spot, in essence, ‘teaching’ children early literacy skills, such as phonological awareness and vocabulary. Read the rest of this entry…

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Twitter

Educators should exemplify how an individual uses digital tools and resources to become a skilled communicator, collaborator, and devoted lifelong learner. Modeling the use of a range of transliteracy tools is something teachers need to engage in on a daily basis. Most educators are familiar with Twitter, however many wonder how to actually put it into classroom practice. Twitter brainstorming is one way to begin, even in the early grades, because it does not require students to have individual Twitter accounts. Read the rest of this entry…

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Using Popplet During Guided Reading

Graphic organizers are great tools students can to use to monitor their reading and comprehension of informational texts. Traditionally, teachers have created paper-based templates for students to use to organize their thinking around text. In a transliterate society, there are a number of web-based concept mapping tools and apps that teachers can employ in their classrooms to help support comprehension of informational text. Read the rest of this entry…

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Keep on truckin baby
During the development of a literate society, literacy practices were very linear in nature. Consider a traditional piece of literature, like a book. It has a cover with the title and author. When we address these elements, we begin by decoding letters and words starting in the upper left and moving to the right across the first line to develop meaning and comprehend printed text. We then open the book, turn the page and then again begin to read for meaning making starting in the upper left, moving across to the right and then down to the next line. This repetitive process reflects the literacy practices most of us have participated in since birth. Read the rest of this entry…

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ipad
Literacy is no longer confined to a standard print format. There is an increasing integration and adoption of digital texts and ebooks in school libraries and classrooms across the United States. Compared to their print counterparts, ebooks are portable, facilitating the easy transport of sizable libraries with little physical effort. The mobility of ebooks allows them to be used in any place at any time via handheld or mobile devices.

Ebooks for young children are like storybooks we know and love in some ways. While features of ebooks mirror those we see in traditional children’s literature, ebooks add new, digital features. These digital additions to print are different in a manner that is profoundly changing the storybook as a piece of early literacy learning. As a result, ebooks can be used to develop transliterate practices in the classroom that address academic and cognitive diversity in learners. Read the rest of this entry…

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HTML Example: A Hyperlink

The author Donald J. Sobol first published his adventures of boy super sleuth “Encyclopedia” Brown in 1963. All 29 books in this popular series presented the reader with a set of short mysteries, each including factual disparities somewhere within. Young readers were encouraged to read the text closely to try to identify the “slip-up” that breaks the case and then turn to the “Answers” section in the back of the book to verify their finding.

An important part of writing in digital spaces is the use of “hyperlinks.” In their most basic form, a “link,” or hyperlink is word, phrase or image on a Web page that instructs a computer to move to another relevant Web page. Much like Sobol’s “Answers” section linked readers to the facts that solved each case, hyperlinked writing provides links that are pertinent to a piece of writing on the web and help to strengthen the writing by providing direct access back to source documents and related materials for the writer’s audience. Read the rest of this entry…

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This is a personal blog. The resources, information and views presented on Raised Digital are solely the opinion of Jeremy S. Brueck, and are not meant to reflect the views of my employer.


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