Implementing some of the new skills acquired during the summer is just one of the many challenges of this new school year. I have been so busy getting the school year up and running. I am teaching some new classes this year so the challenge is always a bit more intense. In addition to these new assignments I am also trying to incorporate some of the new initiatives of my district. As a whole the district has identified literacy as a district-wide goal. It is believed that with an increase in literacy skills students will also see an improvement in their ACT and SAT scores. These tests while divided by subject area are essentially about reading, comprehension and writing skills; all the elements that make up a literate young person. As part of our pre-school year training we all learned to read passages using a technique known as text coding.
Text coding activates the readers' experience causing them to digest the reading in bits and code it according to questions they're trying to answer, experiences or connections they make on a personal level and vocabulary that is important to know. This technique slows down the reading experience, but in slowing it down students are involved in the words in a hands-on way. Having students text code in groups can make the experience social and dare I say FUN. So as a technology literate art teacher I am trying to figure out how I could incorporate all of this, but through the use of technology. My classes do a lot of reading, but most of it is online in the form of web research to help lay the foundation for their projects. That's where Diigo comes in. I've used Diigo before, but this summer learned so much more about the power of this web tool. For more on my initial discoveries see my previous post on the Milwaukee Digital Media Conference (MDMC2010) conference.
Digital Textcoding is just around the corner for my classes. We'll see how it all works. I'm really psyched to try it. With stickies and highlighters and the capture tool students will be able to do as much with their online articles as the students who are reading from physical text books and using post it notes. Diigo even allows you to use different colored highlighters for the information. Organizing students into groups will enable them to share their coding with the rest of the class. Hopefully this will all work. Ultimately I want this to translate into better more developed concepts for students' art project. Visual literacy skills are critical to students who plan to navigate the 21st century. I'll keep you posted how this develops. Let me know if you have any resources or suggestions for implementing this.
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