Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bringing Technology to English Class

Yesterday a colleague emailed asking for ideas to infuse technology into the English curriculum. It's still a difficult task to get newbies hooked without scaring them off. If they are digital refugees the task is even harder. Is it better to introduce one idea, say blogging, or give them a smorgasbord? The further one gets from one's own first steps into the digital landscape the harder it is to put oneself into the headspace of newbies.

These are some ideas:

Look at sites such as flickr or pics4learning that are a rich source of images.
Then make up digital collections and have students respond to images, brainstorming about the feelings/moods/themes/topics that the images invoke. Or have students look for images as metaphors or symbols for a variety of topics and make up their own picture collections.

Use apps like Glogster or VoiceThread to create digital book trailers, reports, character studies, glossaries etc.

Use author blogs such as Alan Gibbons or author websites like Neil Shusterman’s and have students can ask questions or leave comments for the author.

Use a soundtrack to introduce a novel or have students create their own as suggested in Glogowski's Blog of Proximal Development.

Demonstrate essay types using examples. One good site for this is Jenny Eather's Writing Fun .

Have students create digital public service announcements like this one for Freedom to Read.

Have students contribute to the new collaborative online dictionary Wordia.

Use Google maps to bring a story to life – add comments, photos, etc. to a novel’s setting like this one about Marco Polo.


Bryan said...

Further to the idea of using Google Maps, I really like Google Lit Trips, a great mashup that allows you to see literature through the prism of geography.

I'm also a huge fan of Wordle, a fascinating tool to play with text and ideas, and envision words in a whole new way.

Great post Lesley! I'm bookmarking it for future reference.

Jacquie said...

I would really like to share this post with my faculty - but blogger is blocked by our content filter. Please let me know if it is OK for me to paste most of it into my blog for teachers, which can be found at

I will give you full credit and a link-back of course. Thanks for considering my request.

Lesley Edwards said...

Hi Jacquie, did you get the comment I left on your blog?