Deepening my understanding

Chapter two of “Integrating Literacy and Technology” by Susan Watts Taffe and Carolyn Gwinn focuses on the learning environment of effective literacy-technology integration. I took notes in OneNote; many things captured my interest but perhaps none were quite as relevant to me right now as this:

“The integration of technology into literacy instruction is not business as usual. Rather, it requires a change in the teacher’s role in the classroom and in his or her approach to learning about and implementing innovation.”


“In order to be a change agent in your classroom, you will first need to become a changed agent. In other words, you must be willing to explore teaching in ways that may be new and different and to learn as you go.”

I totally get that but I wonder how many other people get it. I’ve read quite a few times that you cannot simply throw technology into the classroom and expect to keep teaching in the same way. Used properly, the technology WILL change your classroom…that’s the true power of technology…to enhance learning.

The other piece that really got me was this:

“Students often scaffold one another’s learning.” Hence “the importance of social interaction.” I guess I’ve always thought of the teacher as the person solely responsible for scaffolding students’ understanding.

Finally, I liked this:

“The goal of differentiation is to move all children to a place of meaningful, high-level learning.” Too bad there are many, MANY children who never quite experience that lofty goal. Maybe it’s easy for me to see now that I’m not in the classroom. Maybe all teachers should have to take some time away from the profession to gain a wider perspective on teaching. Maybe all this reading is making my brain hurt. (Grin.)

What is purpose-driven, effective literacy-technology integration?

Susan Watts Taffe and Carolyn Gwinn ask the question, “What is purpose-driven, effective literacy-technology integration?” First of all, I like the idea of “purpose-driven” technology integration. The past year has provided me with the chance to develop a better understanding of what people mean when they say we need to focus on the learning…not the tool. Purpose-driven…why are we using this tool? In the process of becoming more technology literate, a natural stage is to focus on the tools…I get that but when and how do I help teachers to jump to the next stage? Do they just have to see it on their own?

As I reflect on my own development of understanding, it seemed to just naturally happen because I’ve done an incredible amount of reading; something I doubt most teachers have the time or inclination to do. So again…when and how do I help teachers to jump to the next stage…to transform the way in which they understand what it really means to learn something? The authors also ask the questions, “What does [purpose-driven, effective literacy-technology integration] look like? Sound like?” I hear that quite often from the teachers I work with…what does it look like?

The authors also talk about professional development and how it needs to focus on “capacity building, where capacity is defined as the ability to continuously learn”. Another quote, “Traditionally, these communities have worked in isolation, like individuals on independent paths. As we move into the digital age, there is a compelling need for these communities to come together and create shared responsibility for and ownership of literacy instruction.” So how do we “come together” to do this when time already seems impossible to capture? One answer: Use technology to create spaces of time when people can learn at their convenience. I’m thinking Elluminate or Dim Dim.

So, those are some of the ideas I extracted from chapter one of the book. I’ll keep thinking about these ideas, questions, thoughts. I’m loving this!

Integrating Literacy and Technology

So I purchase this new book, “Integrating Literacy and Technology” only to find out that one of the authors lives in our school district. Susan Watts Taffe cowrote this book and has agreed to participate in some kind of a book study with my eCoaches. (They don’t know it yet!) I’m so excited about this opportunity but haven’t quite fleshed out the details. (I meet with Susan next week.)

Anyway, I thought this blog would be a great place to distill my thoughts while reading the book. So for the next couple of weeks, my blog posts will reflect that reading. I’ll also be “thinking aloud” about how to design an incredible experience with my eCoaches as I’m reading the book. I truly think this may be my “break out” of the blogging box moment. Stay tuned.

Okay…here goes!

Well, I’ve been promising myself I would start a blog for about 2 years now…I’ve even actually created a blog but somehow life just kept getting in the way. Or was it because I just didn’t think I had anything to say? I had to determine my purpose for blogging and it really came down to this: to crystallize my thoughts about learning and how technology can best be used to support the diverse needs of the children who walk into our classrooms every day.

So why call my blog “Fluid Conversations”? Because I now understand that the best way to help bring clarity to thoughts and ideas is to share them with others…to create a dynamic conversation that flows back and forth between people…hence the fluid part. Will anyone read this blog? Um, maybe…maybe not…I guess I’ll just have conversations with myself then.