Exploring Literacy in the Disciplines: What Disciplinary Experts & Teachers Think

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

4:30 – 5:25 PM, July 6, 2017, Room 2, Palacio de la Audiencia Cultural Center

Soria, Spain
For this presentation, the researchers brought literacy professionals, professors, experts from several disciplines, and teachers together to inform each other and us about the role language and literacy plays in their respective disciplines. Their conversations highlighted how the literacies are used during an “at work day”, how professors can share this information with perspective teachers, and exactly what that means for middle and high school students (Draper, Broomhead, Jensen, & Siebert, 2010).

Presentation slides [ PDF]

Literacy in the Disciplines Interview Project page. Visit the conference site here.

Literacy in the Disciplines

Literacy in the Disciplines

International Literacy Association Pre-Convention Institute

Developing Conceptual Knowledge Through Oral & Written Language  – Literacy Practices in Schools and in the Workplace: Match or Mismatch? #ILA2017

  1. PowerPoint  (Opens in Box.com)
  2. Introduction to Literacy in the Disciplines PDF
  3. Writing in the Disciplines by Time and Source PDF
  4. Accuracy in Digital Writing Environments: Read Up, Ask Around, Double Check [Free Access – Scroll down to find the article].
devere-bernadette-at-ila-july-2017-2-e1500226951644.jpg

Bernadette & DeVere representing Literacy Beat at #ILA2017

Reference:

Draper, R.J., Broomhead, P., Jensen, A.P., Nokes, J.D., & Siebert D. (Eds.). (2010). (Re)Imagining content-area literacy instruction. New York: Teachers College Press.

 

 

Story Shares – A Digital Library for Teens and Young Adults

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Recently, I participated in a Twitter chat hosted by the International Literacy Association #ILAChat and Sam Patterson (@SamPatue) on the topic of the Association’s latest What’s Hot in Literacy report.  While there, I met the Story Shares team.

Story Shares in their own words, “Story Shares is a non-profit organization devoted to inspiring reading practice and improving literacy skills.”  The organization leverages technology to bring books worth reading to teens and young adults who struggle. As most readers of Literacy Beat who work with adolescents know, finding material that is not overwhelming is a challenge.

Story Shares Home Page Screenshot

Story Shares Home Page

Story Shares has created an online space that provides opportunities for writers to publish their work in a variety of genres and fills the need of teen readers for something meaty but not impossible to read.

Romeo and Me

Story Shares Digital Book

The online book collection is searchable by the usual indicators (author, title)
but also by interest level and three readability indices.  The books are easy to navigate by chapter and by scrolling. Controls include a bookmark, a word lookup tool that brings up definitions of challenging words, and a tool to mark a book for reading later. Some readers prefer books on paper, so Story Shares makes some of their collection available for purchase as a paperbound book.

Because some readers benefit from hearing the words of a book read aloud, the Story Shares team has built in a text-to-speech reader. As the reader speaks the words, the written words are highlighted on the page.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela: In His Own Words for iPad. Author: Ruth Chasek

I sampled the books on my computer and on my iPad. Both worked perfectly with the books on Story Shares.

For authors who wish to write for the teen and young adult audience, a user-friendly interface allows the writer to focus on the narrative and not the technology.  I tried it and found the graphic user interface (GUI) very easy to use.

Because Story Shares is a nonprofit organization that serves students around the world, they also appreciate donations. Just click here to help them out.

Literacy in the Disciplines: A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 5-12

My book with co-author Diane Lapp will be available in October 2016.  Besides many resources, some of our colleagues and friends contributed to our chapter on specific disciplines.

A Special Offer for Readers of Literacy Beat from Guilford Press: Save 20% with Promotion Code 2E! Just click the link or the cover art to automatically have the discount applied in your cart. You may also enter the code 2E directly in the cart to receive the discount.

Literacy Disciplines Cover

Meet some of our experts:

A great lineup of experts in teaching and in the disciplines contributed to chapter 2 with sections for many content areas and topics.  Take a look!

Faith Bass-Sargent teaches mathematics at Elsinore Middle School in Lake Elsinore, CA.

Kathy Blakemore is an outdoor education enthusiast who also teaches science and physical education at Elsinore Middle School in Lake Elsinore, CA.

Cameron Brown is the Director of Instrumental Music at Thurgood Marshall Middle School in San Diego, California.

Devin Burr, D.O., is a resident physician at Aspen Dermatology in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Dr. Maria Grant is a Professor of Education, California State University at Fullerton working in the College of Education.

Dr. Dana L. Grisham is a retired professor in the Department of Teacher Education at CSU East Bay (Hayward) where she taught courses in literacy teacher preparation and in the graduate reading program.

Liz Jardine owns a design studio and is an artist in San Diego, California.

Dr. Denise Johnson is professor and director of the Literacy Leadership Program and Department Chair of Curriculum and Instruction at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA.

Dr. Linda Lungren, a music teacher for San Diego City Schools (elementary).

Stacy Miller teaches at Stuttgart High School (DoDEA) in Germany.

Dr. Stephen Mogge is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Reading Education Program at Towson University.

Dr. Barbara Moss is a professor of literacy education at San Diego State University, where she teaches courses at the credential and masters levels.

Dr. Donna Ogle is Professor Emeritus of Literacy Education at National Louis University (NLU), Chicago, IL.

Dr. Susan J. Pearson is an Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

Tim Peterson is a bass guitar specialist. He works in retail at Guitar Center in the Los Angeles area and is a member of the popular band, EverTheory.

Steve Sheinkin is the author of several award-winning nonfiction books for young adults: The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery; Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon; and the Port Chicago 50.

Dr. W. David Scales is a professor and psychometrician in the Department of Psychology at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC.

Javier Vaca is a teacher of social studies at Health Sciences High and Middle College, San Diego, CA.

 

 

The Lazy Classroom Model

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Hey, who are you  calling “lazy?” That’s what I thought when I first came upon the phrase, “Lazy User Model.” In this case, being lazy is not a value statement or judgment but rather a phenomenon that explains certain behaviors, particularly when technology is involved, that may permit the user to get on with the business of learning.  Let’s explore that a little.

What is the Lazy User Model?

Remember the last time you wanted to upgrade your cell phone? One of the factors you likely considered was how much time you would need to spend to learn the features and affordances of your new phone.  If you chose a phone that worked much as your old phone did, you demonstrated the principle of the Lazy User Model (Tétard & Collan opens as PDF, 2009).  The theorists postulate that users attempting to solve a problem, such as obtain information or carry out a task, are limited in some ways and have a set of possible solutions against which to weigh the need and the limitations.  They believe that users typically choose the solution that results in the least cost to them and still solves the problem. That is why they call the theory the “Lazy” User Model.  You can see that in this case, being lazy may save on the overall investment of time, money, or other resources.  Here is what that looks like in graphic form.

Lazy User Model

The Lazy User Model

Plug your need for a new cell phone into the graphic, and you will see how being lazy works for you.  You need a new cell phone. The state that limits you includes the choice of phones your cell phone provider offers, your knowledge of the phone you already have and when your current plan expires allowing you to select a new phone. Your possible solutions (let’s say) include an iPhone and an Android. The least cost or lazy option for you is the type of phone you already have because you already know how to use most of the features. The cost in terms of time spent learning the features of the phone outweigh the choice to adopt (or “switch” as Tétard & Collan, 2009 call the action) the possibility of choosing a new brand of phone.

Being Lazy in Class

What does being lazy look like in class? More important, why would you want to allow your students to be lazy? In our present case, let’s change the title of the model from Lazy User to Lazy Classroom.

Here is a scenario from a project Dana, Linda, and I reported on Literacy Beat recently (here and here). We asked a group of fifth graders to learn science vocabulary through the Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy Plus (VSS+) model.  The students needed to solve the problem of creating the VSS+ entry by selecting images, creating an audio file, and writing a definition, among other things.

The need or problem: Create a VSS+ entry.

The state that creates the limitations: Use the tools assigned and that are available in the school computer lab.  The students were further limited by the amount of time they had to complete the project before they were required to submit it.

The set of possible solutions thus includes choosing Thinglink or PowerPoint. Most of the students were familiar with PowerPoint but hadn’t used it, and none of the students were familiar at all with Thinglink.

The lowest cost or “lazy” solution for most students turned out to be PowerPoint because most of the students were familiar with the software. Some students did try Thinglink and created successful VSS+ entries because they were intrigued with the tool, and a few others started with Thinglink but switched back to the more familiar tool after experimenting with it.

Lazy Classroom Model

Lazy Classroom Model

What are the Implications for the Lazy Classroom?

There are several things we might take away from the Lazy Student Model.

  1. Being lazy can be a time saver that allows the students to concentrate on the task and not on the tool.
  2. Being lazy might mean that students will not choose the best technology because they chose the tool they know instead of the best one for the task.
  3. If students need to learn how to use a new-to-them technology, the will need support. Support could include direct instruction, a series of help or job aids, or access to a peer expert who is knowledgeable about the tool. Indeed, in the VSS+ project, we purposefully chose some students to become experts in working with sound files, selecting graphics, or designing graphic images using the drawing tools in PowerPoint, for example. Then, when other students needed assistance, we teachers directed the students to their expert peers to teach them what they needed to know just in time to put the technology to work.

What other implications for the Lazy Classroom Model occur to you? Are there examples you would like to share? Please use the comments section to post your thoughts.

Learn more about the Lazy User Model at http://lazyusermodel.org/

Reference:

Tétard, F. & Collan, M.  (2009). Lazy User Theory: A Dynamic Model to Understand User Selection of Products and Services. Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences – 2009. Retrieved from https://www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings/hicss/2009/3450/00/09-13-01.pdf


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Teacher Education Research Study Group

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey & Dana L. Grisham 

The Teacher Education Research Study Group, or TERSG, is a professional learning community of the Literacy Research Association that sponsors research in the field of (you guessed it) teacher education related to literacy.

TERSG members consider the preparation of excellent literacy teachers to be both a professional and a personal priority. In addition, this study group provides an opportunity for educators to come together for further study of effective practices in literacy teacher education. In this post, I want to tell you a little bit about a longitudinal project that examined the pathways from teacher candidate to student teacher to novice teacher. This project is the work of a subset of the larger study group who have published many other articles and resources related to teacher education, as well.

The research team has changed members as personal and professional demands have changed over time, but the work has continued since we first started the three-phase project in 2009.  The group has been incredibly productive, but one of the things that has come out of our work has been the opportunity to demonstrate that faculty members from small teaching colleges can work together to gather a substantial data set and mold that into multiple presentations and publications.  In addition our little band of researchers, a subset of the larger study group, has strengthened friendships, as a result of this project.

In addition to face-to-face meetings at the annual Literacy Research Association conference, the researchers met frequently using technologies such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and webinar software. We stored and shared documents on Box.com, Google Drive, and occasionally in Dropbox.  The Box.com secure site houses over 1154 discrete documents from raw data, to minutes of our meetings, to draft and final manuscripts.

This post will serve as a home base listing of the publications and presentations completed to date. We hope that our work will help inform the ongoing discussions about how best to prepare candidates as exemplary teachers of reading. Whenever possible, I have included a link to the presentation and publication resources, as well. The Wordle slide show, below, is drawn from descriptors of the teacher preparation programs that participated in the project.

Publications:

Scales, R.Q., Ganske, K., Grisham, D.L., Yoder, K.K., Lenski, S., Wolsey, T.D., Chambers, S., Young, J.R., Dobler, E., & Smetana, L. (2014).  Exploring the impact of literacy teacher education programs on student teachers’ instructional practices. Journal of Reading Education, 39(3), 3 – 13.

Grisham, D.L., Yoder, K.K., Smetana, L., Dobler, E., Wolsey, T.D., Lenski, S.J., Young, J., Chambers, S., Scales, R.Q., Wold, L.S, Ganske, K., & Scales, W.D. (2014). Are teacher candidates learning what they are taught? Declarative literacy learning in 10 teacher preparation programs. Teacher Education and Practice, 27(1), 168-189.

Wolsey, T.D., Young, J., Scales, R., Scales, W. D., Lenski, S., Yoder, K., Wold, L., Smetana, L., Grisham, D.L., Ganske, K., Dobler, E., & Chambers, S. (2013). An examination of teacher education in literacy instruction and candidate perceptions of their learned literacy practices. Action in Teacher Education, 35 (3), 204 – 222. doi: 10.1080/01626620.2013.806230

Lenski, S., Ganske, K., Chambers, S., Wold, L., Dobler, E., Grisham, D.L., Scales, R., Smetana, L., Wolsey, T.D., Yoder, K.K., & Young, J. (2013). Literacy course priorities and signature aspects of nine teacher preparation programs. Literacy Research and Instruction, 52(1), 1-27. doi: 10.1080/19388071.2012.738778

Young, J.R., Scales, R.Q., Grisham, D.L., Dobler, E., Wolsey, T.D., Smetana, L., Chambers, S., Ganske, K., Lenski, S., & Yoder, K.K. (In press). Teacher preparation in literacy: Cooking in someone else’s kitchen. Teacher Education Quarterly. (scheduled for volume 44, 4 in the Fall, 2017 issue).

Scales, R. Q., Wolsey, T. D., Lenski, S., Smetana, L., Yoder, K. K., Dobler, E., Grisham, D. L. & Young, J. R. with Wolsey, J.B. (in press). Are we preparing or training teachers?  Developing professional judgment in and beyond teacher preparation programs. Journal of Teacher Education.

Scales, R. Q., Wolsey, T. D., Young, J., Smetana, L., Grisham, D. L., Lenski, S., Dobler, E., Yoder, K. K., & Chambers, S. A. (in press). Mediating factors in literacy instruction: How novice elementary teachers navigate new teaching contexts. Accepted: Reading Psychology.

1 additional manuscript is in preparation. These will be added to the resources listed here as they are published.

Presentations:

Wolsey, T.D., Grisham, D.L., Smetana, L., Ganske, K., Scales, W.D., Lenski, S., Scales, R., Wold, L., Chambers, S., Young, J., & Dobler, E. (2013, April). A longitudinal investigation of teacher education programs across the United States. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Francisco, CA. Poster session 45-086-5 #14. Juried.

Wolsey, T.D., Scales, R.Q., Young, J., Smetana, L., Lenski, S., Yoder, K., Ganske, K., Grisham, D. L., Dobler, B., & Chambers, S. (2015, December). A longitudinal perspective on teacher development: Investigation of teacher preparation. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association. Carlsbad, CA. Juried.

Wolsey, T.D., Grisham, D.L., Smetana, L., Ganske, K., Scales, W.D., Lenski, S., Scales, R., Wold, L., Chambers, S., Young, J., & Dobler, E. (2013, December). From teacher preparation through first-year teaching: A longitudinal study through the lens of professional standards for literacy professionals. Alternative session paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, Dallas, TX. Juried.

Scales, R.Q., Chambers, S., Wold, L., Young, J., & Lenski, S. (2012, November). Exploring the impact of literacy teacher education programs on teacher candidates’ instructional practices. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, San Diego, CA. Juried.

Dobler, E., Grisham, D., Lenski, S., Scales, R., Wolsey, D., Smetana, L., Young, J., Yoder, K., Alfaro, C., Chambers, S., Ganske, K., & Wold, L. (2011, December). Expanding the investigation: Exploring the impact of teacher preparation programs on the instructional practices of teacher candidates. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, Jacksonville, FL. Juried.

Scales, R.Q., Chambers, S., Wold, L., Dobler, E., Lenski, S., Smetana, L., Grisham, D., Wolsey, T.D., Young, J., Ganske, K., Alfaro, C., & Yoder, K.K. (2011, November). Signature aspects of literacy teacher education programs: A national study. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Literacy Educators & Researchers, Richmond, VA. Juried.

Lenski, S., Wolsey, T.D., Alfaro, C., Chambers, S., Dobler, E., Scales, R., Smetana, L., Grisham, D., Wold, L., Young, J., & Scales, W.D. (2010, December). The impact of teacher education programs on the instructional practices of novice teachers. Alternative format paper presented at the annual meeting of the Literacy Research Association, Ft. Worth, TX. Juried.


Meet the Influencers

Influencers Banner

Influencers

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

This month, Literacy Beat begins a series of posts to introduce to our readers some of the influencers and thought-leaders who have changed the way we think about intersections of literacy and technology.  Each month, Literacy Beat interviews a person who inspires teachers, researchers, makers, students, and parents to do more and be more.  Each influencer will share some of their thinking about trends they see, their own educational journeys, or tips and tools they find particularly helpful.  We hope you enjoy their stories as they share them each month.

This page will serve an index; you can always return here to find the influencers who have contributed their thoughts. Just bookmark this page at https://literacybeat.com/2016/03/20/meet-the-influencers/ or https://literacybeat.com/category/influencers/ to call up all the posts as a group.

The influencer banner, above, is adapted from an image titled, “Globe, Lights, Blog” by Jisc (CC BY 3.0).

The Influencers:

March 2016: The first in our influencers and thought-leaders series is Kathy Schrock. In this post, Kathy tells the story of how she came to realize the value of curated content for educators. Meet Kathy on Literacy Beat.

April 2016: Don Leu describes the Online Research and Comprehension Assessment (ORCA). Meet Don on Literacy Beat.

May 2016: Sylvia Martinez talks about the Maker Movement. Meet Sylvia on Literacy Beat.

January 2017: Peggy Semingson, assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Arlington.

If you would like to suggest an influencer for this series, please contact DeVere  (link will take you to iaieus.com/contact-iaie) and use the word “influencer” in the subject line.

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Education Dictionaries and Glossaries

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey 

In August, I published a post with links to discipline-specific glossaries and dictionaries. Because the internet has such a wealth of resources, it is sometimes difficult to find the sites you want or the key words for a search you need. Lists with links can help readers find the resources they need quickly. Continuing the dictionary list tradition, I compiled some general education dictionaries online. The criteria for inclusion are the same as in the discipline-specific post, except that the resource audience includes teachers and parents.

Parents may want to catch up on the words teachers use. Because schools and states purchase materials from different publishers, sometimes differing terms are heard in the faculty lounge or the school board room. The underlying ideas may be the same, but the word to describe that idea could differ from district to district.  Here are some resources to learn more about the words teachers use.

Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets

Language and teaching strategies: Effective teachers use a variety of strategies to guide their students. This glossary from Reading Rockets organizes them by the type of language learning task (phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing). http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies


 

Glossary of Language Education Terms

Wikipedia

English Language Learners: WikiProjects Glossaries provides this resource that includes terms used in teaching English language learners (students whose first language is not English). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_language_education_terms

The United States Department of Education also publishes a useful glossary of terms related to teaching English language learners. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/ell/glossary.html 

 


 

Teachnology glossary

Teach-nology

General Teaching Glossary: General terms that go beyond those used just in language learning environments can be found on the Teach-nology site. http://www.teach-nology.com/glossary/

 


 

Fractus Learning Technology Terms for Teachers

Fractus

Technology in Education: As technology becomes an increasingly useful component for teaching, new terms have made their way into the classroom. Learn some of them on the Fractus Learning blog.    http://www.fractuslearning.com/2013/03/04/technology-terms-for-teachers/

Another useful site with technology terms, but not specifically for educators or parents, is Netlingo.com


 

Understood Disability Important Terms

Understood

Special education: The field of special education has its own set of terms, often derived from policies and laws that govern special education settings.  Look them up on the Understood website.          https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/getting-started/disability-important-terms/terms-you-may-hear-from-educators


What other categories should be added to this link list? Are there other dictionaries or glossaries that you can suggest for any of the categories in this post?

 

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