Purposes for Reading—A Digital Simulation

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Students sometimes have difficulty understanding why they might want to reread a text. A simulation, part of an online professional development program from Annenberg Learner, clearly demonstrates how different purposes for reading result in attending to different words in the text.  This simulation, titled “The House,” allows readers to interact with a short text by reading for three different purposes.

House Simulation

Source: Annenberg Learner, Teaching Reading 3-5

Teachers may want to project this on a digital display for the whole class or allow students to work in pairs on a computer then discuss their how their highlighted text changes depending on the purpose for reading. Students come to see how highlighting a text can help them pay greater attention to what it says, as well. The digital highlighter and eraser tools are easy and fun to use. To try it, click here  then choose “The House Interactive” link.

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Cool Tools from the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy

A post by Jill Castek

In July 2014, I was so inspired by the presenters and participants who attended the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy (also see the Institute Wikispace at https://dliuri2014.wikispaces.com/).  This six-day institute held at the University of Rhode Island focused on how literacy is changing as a result of emerging media and technologies.  It offered participants an exciting and hands-on experience in which to discuss and explore new approaches to teaching literacy in today’s digital age. Presenters introduced a wide array of technology tools that can be used to create digital products, critique media, and curate online resources in engaging and efficient ways.  I’ve spent the last several months since the institute exploring all the tools, techniques, and possibilities.  This post focuses on just a few of these  resources:

Vialogues: https://vScreen Shot 2015-02-13 at 4.04.47 PMialogues.com/ is a tool that can be used to spark meaningful conversations with students around videos you post to the platform. The discussions allow for a time-stamped, annotation-like discussion. Online interactions can refer specifically to exact parts of the video using time stamps. To scaffold the discussion, you can add comments, surveys and open-ended questions for your students that encourage students to critically analyze video texts.

Mozilla Popcorn Maker https://popcorn.webmaker.org/en-UScreen Shot 2015-02-15 at 9.21.39 PMS/editor/ is another tool for analyzing video (its surprisingly easy to use).  Just take a video from YouTube and students can add their own commentary using pop-up boxes.  Students can use it to critique the messages in commercials, music videos, or public service announcements.  Use it in conjunction with, or in preparation for, a face-to-face dialogue to provide an avenue for students to share multiple points of view.

Blendspace https://www.blendspace.com/ creates easy to use and beautiful to look at collections of inline resources (including images, videos, Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 9.23.17 PMwebsites).  Just drag and drop items into your Blendspace to curate an entire educational experience for your students.  Optional features allow you to see which students have viewed the resources you posted. Quiz questions can be embedded throughout to help students track their progress through the content.  Visit the Blendspace site and explore the different ways teachers are using this innovative resource to enhance educational experiences for students.

Symbaloo http://www.symbaloo.com/ is a curation tool that is organized like a grid.  EacScreen Shot 2015-02-15 at 9.29.12 PMh square contains an image and a link to a website.  Many educators have used Symbaloo to organize sites that students regularly visit so they are accessible all in one place. Others have used it to collect resources for students to explore on a given topic.  Collections are easy to share and are engaging to look at.  Your students will make connections easily to the visual format.  This video will introduce the benefits of its use in the classroom.

2015 Summer Institute in Digital Literacy Sign-Ups

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 9.48.01 PMAttending the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy was one of the most  rewarding experiences of my professional career.  If you’d like to attend the 2015 institute, mark your calendar for July 26 – July, 31, 2015 and visit the Media Education Lab at the University of Rhode Island website to learn more http://mediaeducationlab.com/summer-institute-digital-literacy.

If you have used any of these resources in your classroom, leave us a comment.  We’d love to hear from you (and we’ll benefit from your experiences, too).

Hypertext Literary Analysis

This posts describes how students can explore complex texts through a hypertext literary analysis. By using PowerPoint—a common program that is readily accessible on most computers—students are able examine the multiple layers of meaning in a passage through hyperlinking words and phrases to written explanations and related media. Multiple modes are employed—including text, music, images, animation, and videos—to help students dig deep into the textual features, intertextual connections, and personal responses that produce meaning in fiction and poetry.

Creating a Hypertext Literary Analysis in PowerPoint

This strategy uses PowerPoint to create a multimodal hypertext with interconnected slides. The composing process begins by inserting the text to be analyzed on a blank PowerPoint slide, which functions as the anchor of the hypertext. Next, students can create a deck of blank slides that can easily be linked from the analyzed text. Words or sections of the text can now be hyperlinked to other slides by using the ‘Insert’ menu and designating the desired destination for the link. The majority of links will lead to other slides within the document, but hyperlinks can also be used to connect to other documents or to websites (video tutorial on hyperlinking in PowerPoint).

Once a clear and fluid structure has been established in PowerPoint, it’s time to begin incorporating multiple modes for analysis. Analysis slides will, of course, include written explanations of the textual features being explicated, but this strategy also asks students to use media to deepen and support the analysis. PowerPoint allows users to embed images, audio, and video and offers tools for editing and layering these media. Students can manipulate their chosen media to reflect themes in the text or to illustrate their personal response (see Smith & Renner, in press for more information about integrating a hypertext literary analysis in your classroom).

For example, in a hypertext literary analysis of Lucille Clifton’s poem “Homage to my Hips,” the composer hyperlinks from a PowerPoint slide that contains the original poem to other slides that include Clifton’s biographical information, intertextual and pop culture connections, a YouTube video of Clifton reciting the poem, analysis of literary devices, and personal response. Images, color, videos, and music are also used purposefully to organize, supplement, and extend the written analysis.

HLA

Example hypertext literary analysis for the poem “Homage to My Hips” by Lucille Clifton

There are a variety of ways a hypertext literary analysis can be adapted. Melanie Hundley at Vanderbilt University asks pre-service English teachers to explicate poems through hyperlinks and multiple modes (Hundley & Holbrook, 2013). Nicole Renner and I used this assignment in a 12th grade AP Literature and Composition class for students to analyze important passages from Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. Through hyperlinks, students examined literary elements, such as metaphors, irony, and theme. They also hyperlinked to intertextual connections, including other literary works, films, and popular culture references, as well as key words and phrases, questions, and personal reactions (Smith, 2013; Smith & Renner, in press).

This type of nonlinear and multimodal analysis supports students to develop important literacy skills, including reading and comprehending a complex literary text, interpreting words and phrases with connotative and figurative meanings, and examining themes, structures, and points of view.

References

Hundley, M. & Holbrook, T. (2013). Set in stone or set in motion?: Multimodal and digital writing with preservice English teachers. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 56(6), 500-509.

Smith, B. E. (2013). Composing across modes: Urban adolescents’ processes responding to and analyzing literature. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

Smith, B. E. & Renner, N. B. (in press). Linking through literature: Exploring complex texts through hypertext literary analysis. In   T. Rasinski, K. E. Pytash, & R. E. Ferdig (Eds.). Using technology to enhance reading: Innovative approaches to literacy instruction. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

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