iamliterate - Written Expression

Written Expression

For years writing was the identifier of literacy. The definition of literacy has changed to take writing to mean more than just communicating with written words.

Definition of Literacy

According to Wikipedia
The traditional definition of literacy is considered to be the ability to read and write, or the ability to use language to read, write, listen, andspeak, [1]. In modern contexts, the word refers to reading and writing at a level adequate for communication, or at a level that lets one understand and communicate ideas in a literate society, so as to take part in that society." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy

According to the BC Ministry of Education's IRP for English Language Arts
teaching with a variety of texts includes the expectation of including of " oral, visual, or written language forms including electronic media.

http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/ela_k7_2006.pdf page 15

For thousands of years improvement to the technology for written words was very slow. Viewing devices for the written word have evolved from cave walls, stone tablets, scrolls, books, printing press, newspapers. The tools to create the written words also changed slowly from paint with dyes, cuneiform stylus, ink, pencils, pens, felts.

In the last 17 years of my teaching career, we have opened the flood gates on both viewing and creating devices to write. Most of these changes involve evolving technologies and many have departed from requiring the written word.

Machine is Using Us - http://www.youtube.com/v/6gmP4nk0EOE

Why Write with Technology

Not many years ago, I was often told that "I don't have time to teach with technology."

I think we need to break that statement into two parts - "I don't have time" and "teaching with technology"

We do still have some issues with technology not being time savers. Sometimes technology takes longer than just writing it out by paper and pencil. Sometimes you plan to use technology and it just doesn't work. Fortunately technology tools are far more reliable than 17 years ago.

I accept that technology is not perfect but we can no longer teach without integrating technology. The research is in that writing with technology is beneficial. If a Dentist still believed that they didn't have time to use anesthetic.... Mike McKay made a statement a few years ago that we were public school teachers and not in private practice. I really didn't like it, but it highlighted that many teachers claim professional autonomy to do things that aren't professional. Even professionals in private practice continue to grow, learn, and adapt to new technologies.

We need to meet the needs of our students. There is a big push towards Universal Design and Understanding by Design. Both of these are looking at ways to make sure all students learning needs are met.

“Indeed, the evidence is compelling that a foundation in spoken language competence is important for the successful achievement of academic and social competence” (Tomblin, 2005).

“Teachers who allocate more time to reading and language arts are the teachers whose students show the greatest gains in literacy development”(Allington & Cunningham, 1996, p. 106).

“The amount of time students are truly engaged in learning is the most potent predictor of literacy learning” (Allington & Cunningham, 1996, p. 118).

In 2005, I supported a 'Writing with Laptops' writing project, I heard several times that a student will write a couple of words in a 45 minute writing block. Later that same year students were writing paragraphs when writing with laptops. Surrey has the research from Holly Elementary, FD Sinclair, Cougar Creek, and William Watson bearing this statement up.

A PEW Internet study showed that students benefited using laptops by:

  1. Getting the story out without needing a scribe
  2. Giving kids ownership – they connect to what they have created
  3. Technology reaches students that couldn’t interact in other ways
  4. Students showing leadership in areas that they didn’t appear capable in
  5. Looking forward to students displaying in a variety of ways

To be literate in 2012, students need to know how to and be given opportunity to use the communication tools available in 2012. There are many reasons for students to write (communicate) including:

1. Pleasure
2. Communicate with classmates and others around the world
3. Brainstorming and organizing
4. Take notes of their learning
5. Share their learning with classmates and the world
6. Express Creativity
7. Prepare for future communications

Each has unique purpose and may use some or all of the aspects in the Writing Process