English Teacher as Researcher

Digital technology, the internet, has transformed our lives. Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, globally, the impact can not be undone. Here, a report by UNICEF, we can gather key facts and ideas about ‘Children in the Digital World’. Youth is the most connected age group. Digital technology can offer vast opportunities to our individual lives that increase connectivity, more so than what would traditionally be available. On the flip side, it can exacerbate the worst from human nature. From this report, I note it is important to mitigate the harms and harness the benefits digital technology can bring to young people’s lives.

According to UNICEF, “Taking a ‘Goldilocks’ approach to children’s screen time – not too much, not too little – and focusing more on what children are doing online and less on how long they are online, can better protect them and help them make the most of their time online.”

As an English teacher, the core of what I do is all about the art of storytelling. Exposing students to the stories of others while empowering them to believe in their own. I am concerned about preparing literate, critical thinking students, who are well-prepared for the everchanging future. Some of those goals are standards-aligned while others may not be.

I’d like to see more emphasis placed on digital literacies in the Common Core State Standards: ELA standards and feel the need to supplement curricula if I want to prepare future-ready digital citizens. I’m impressed with the DQ Framework for outlining competencies: Global Standards for Digital Literacy, Skills, and Readiness.

Digital technology has transformed youth but also the way I teach and facilitate learning. Below are some of my current go-to’s and all-time favorites.

Useful Links:

Cult of Pedagogy: One of my first encounters with a teacher who created content to support other teachers, packaged in her blog, podcast, videos, and store.

The Moth: Engages young people in storytelling and the story-listening process. They offer free K-12 curriculum resources for signed up teachers. I signed up recently and look forward to adding The Moth teacher community into my PLN.

myShakespeare: Has transformed the way I teach Shakespeare. It offers full-text, interactive editions of his plays with multimedia resources for the 21st-century student.

Book Creator: This is a simple tool to create e-books. Students can add audio, video, text, and images individually or collaboratively.

Purdue OWL: Longstanding favorite online resource for all things writing, anti-plagiarism and citation.

Global Oneness Project: Aims to explore cultural, environmental, and social issues through multimedia stories. Lesson plans and discussion guides are also available.

Does the current curriculum standards you work with place emphasis on digital literacy? Does your current school [culture] fully harness the benefits of digital technology while mitigating the risks?