Week 7 Reading Response:

This week we were given a choice between McIntosh (1989) and Nilsson (2010) for our required reading. I chose to read and annotate Nilsson (2010): Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality because I am very familiar with the McIntosh (1989) reading from other coursework.

Nilsson (2010) features Simon, a nine year old student, who finds it difficult to engage with tradition schoolwork. The article goes on to explain Simon’s increased motivation and engagement with the introduction of digital storytelling and the teacher’s expanded view on literacy. Nilsson (2010) explains the important of writing with voice and allowing students to find their voice in the classroom. Students need to be able to explore ideas that interest them, in order to increase intrinsic motivation. As I commented in my Hypothes.is annotation:

hypothesis I was happy to see that some of my peers felt the same way-that schools are trying more and more to allow students to write about topics they care about, as long as the writing mechanics are present. It is an example of the importance of knowing what we as educators are assessing, if the content is not being assessed, just the writing, why can’t students pick their own topics? This should be considered in other subjects, not just writing. For example, new literacies, such as digital storytelling, should be used in subjects like science and social studies. As long as students can demonstrate an understanding of the subject area content it should not matter what form the knowledge takes. This also makes the job of the teacher more enjoyable. Grading student work that has “voice” is so much more enjoyable than grading work where students solely demonstrate memorization. As you can see this article once again expanded my views on digital storytelling and how it is used in the classroom.

I am curious about the specifics of this particular study of Simon and the work with his teacher. There were many times throughout the article I questioned how the teacher had so much time to be spending with one specific child. I appreciate the message of the article that students should be given multiple ways of expressing themselves in class, however I have to say this is easier said then done. At one point the article explains that Simon spent 70 minutes working on his project with his teacher-I have to wonder how this was possible. I noticed from my peers annotations I wasn’t the only one questioning this. Overall though I appreciate the message of the article and agree with the majority of its ideas.

These ideas led me to search for an article about using multimodality in the classroom with students with special needs. I chose to read Ting (2014): Multimodal Resources to Facilitate Language Learning for Students with Special Needs . This study discusses how the use of computer technology, like interactive whiteboards, can help to support learners with special needs. Studies have actually shown interactive whiteboards can increase student motivation and participation, things I had assumed but I was unaware of the research supporting these ideas. I appreciated this article because it included some realistic lessons, which helped support their findings. These realistic lessons helped me realize the problem with Nilsson’s (2010) article-some of it just didn’t seem transferable into an everyday classroom.

Overall, I enjoyed both articles this week, and really felt like I solidified my increased positive feelings about the use of technology to support and enhance student learning.

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