Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Equal Access!?

Teachers need to provide equal access to the digital world to all learners

Equal access; the concept sounds simple enough. Allow everyone to have the same amount of accessibility to something.
One of my goals in the after school program that I run is to have everyone of my students have an equal opportunity to use and become more familiar with the digital world. This is an important goal because roughly 60% of my students have computers at home. Unfortunately, this task is proving more trouble than I originally thought.
For instance- Not everyone of my students will attend on Tuesdays, which is the designated day of the week that the computer teacher will be offering her class. Another roadblock is that there are only 20 computers that are accessible to the students during each one hour class. I will be holding two, one hour classes, so that means 40 children will be able to take the internet class! But, I have 59 students that attend on Tuesdays. Also, even though the two classes are broken down by grade; first and second graders together and then third, fourth and fifth, I still have varied knowledge of computers within each group. Also, a huge factor is learning abilities and disabilities.
We are still in the development stage of this process. Our first class is Tuesday, March 8, 2011, and it will run for eight weeks. I'm excited to see how everything unfolds.

Is the Book Dead? by Johanna Sorrentino

As an avid book reader, the title of this article caught my eye. I was concerned that what I was about to read would insult and discourage the past time of finding a quite place to curling up with a thick novel.

The article starts off with a statistic by The Pew Internet & American Life Project stating that 93% of teens use the internet. That number didn't surprise me at all. The author, Johanna Sorrentino on the other hand feels that with such a high percentage rate that means that the tactile book is getting less and less attention.

The article continues with critics of both sides; paper books and the digital media. Paper books allows the reader to become one with the book, to really develop their understanding of each characters. Whereas the digital media emphases the speed to which a reader can skim a text.

However, one extremely valid point for digital media is the ability to have research right at your fingertips while reading. If there is a word in a text that a child doesn't understand, most won't go searching out for a meaning. Whereas, digital text allows the reader to leave one article to go and search for an unknown meaning. That ability to have a quick answer allows the reader to continue without missing a beat.

Ultimately, according to the article, electronic media is best because it encourages and entices kids to read more. I mean, isn't that our overall goal anyway? We want a society of readers. Perhaps this digital immigrant needs to get with the program?