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    From Print to Digital: Composing Multimodal Texts Through Transmediation

    By Sohee Park
     | Mar 17, 2017
    301270317-TILE_w220

    Transmediation refers to “student’s translation of content from one sign system into another.” Writing a story based on a photo or creating an iMovie book trailer about a novel are two examples of transmediation. transmediating print-based text into digital multimodal text, by introducing the benefits and some evidence-based transmediating tasks for use in K–12 classrooms.

    Benefits of transmediating a print-based text into a digital multimodal text

    Research studies report at least three positive impacts of transmediating a print-based text into digital multimodal text on students’ learning: deeper understandings of content, creative expressions of ideas, and promoted analytic conversations.

    1. Deeper Understandings of Content. Transmediation develops students’ understandings of specific literary and informational text. In More Than Writing-To-Learn: Using Multimodal Writing Tasks in Science Classrooms, for instance, Mark McDermott reported that students who composed multimodal texts on the scientific
    content that they learned from a textbook understood the content better than before the activity; students who created more integrated multimodal texts showed better understanding of the content than others.

    2. Creative Expressions of Ideas. According to Marjorie Siegel and Jason Ranker, transmediation enables students to be creative through making new connections and meanings between different modes. For example, if a student reads an informational text about volcanoes and wants to compose a video about the stages of eruption using interactive whiteboard apps (e.g., Scoodle Jam or Educreations), the student should go through a series of complex cognitive processes: comprehending written information, creating linguistic mental representations of the comprehended information, transforming the linguistic mental representations to visual and audio mental representations, and applying it on the apps. During these processes, students utilize their creativity and imagination to transform linguistic mental representations into other modal representations.

    3. Promoted Analytic Conversations. Some transmediation tasks accompany analytic conversations between students. In Jennifer McCormick’s study on how transmediation fosters analytical conversations among middle school students, the conversations occurred when a student’s connections between the known and the invented modes were not apparent to other students. In Øystein Gilje’s work, students had analytic conversations while they collaborated for the transmediation of a student’s written synopsis into a film. To further clarify the author’s intention or for collaborative multimodal composition, having analytic conversations during the transmediation activities helped students improve understanding of the task and content as well as oral language skills.

    Evidence-based tasks for transmediation through digital multimodal composition

    There are some evidence-based tasks for transmediation using digital multimodal composition. The table presents exemplary tasks using literary texts at three different levels.

     

    Elementary School
    (Grades K–5)

    Middle School
    (Grades 6–8)

    High School
    (Grades 9–12)

    Transmediating Tasks Using
    Literary Texts

    • The BFG by Roald Dahl—A micro-documentary including an introduction by a narrator, an observation, re-enactment of events, and an interview of the main characters (Mills, 2011)

    Transmediation can be done with informational texts in a variety of content areas. One thing that should be emphasized in all lessons about transmediation is that metalanguages such as glossaries of filmmaking and technical aspects of digital tools should be taught in advance for the successful implementation of the transmediation activities.

    This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

    SoheePark_80w

    Sohee Park is a doctoral candidate specializing in literacy education at the University of Delaware. Her research interest centers on best practices for instruction and assessment of digital multimodal composition.

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    Digital Formative Assessments in Literacy

    By Kara Sevensma and Robin Schuhmacher
     | Mar 03, 2017

    20170303_TILEFormative assessment is a crucial component of supporting effective literacy instruction in any classroom. Research has taught us that teachers can responsively inform their literacy instruction through intentional and varied assessments of student learning. (For more information about effective formative assessment, see Johnston and Afflerbach).

    A powerful formative assessment tool is observation. Teachers gain valuable data by observing individuals or small groups of students reading and thinking aloud about the text or their reading processes. Documenting these think-alouds can be time-consuming given the ratio of students to teachers in most classrooms. It is here that teachers can leverage digital technologies.

    By using apps that allow students to record images and audio (Educreations, Shadow Puppet, Book Creator, ShowMe, Seesaw), teachers reduce the time it takes to conduct individual or small-group think-alouds about specific literacy concepts or skills. Well-structured formative assessment tasks allow students to work independently or in small groups, either recording simultaneously or through structured rotations, with limited support from the teacher. The resulting digital videos can be viewed any time and shared with wider audiences.   

    Creating videos to understand text features

    To understand the potential of digital formative assessment, I asked Robin Schuhmacher, second-grade teacher and 2014 Apple Educator of the Year, to share an example. Robin developed a cross-curricular literacy and science unit in which one of many goals was identifying informational text features (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.5). After several initial lessons, she had the second graders participate in a formative assessment of their current knowledge about informational text features. Students embarked individually on a nonfiction scavenger hunt in books selected on the basis of interest and reading level. Then, in pairs, students discussed and selected the best representations of informational text features. Over the course of a single lesson, they used Shadow Puppet on their iPads to take pictures of specific text features and to record audio that named and described the characteristics of each feature.

    Robin reviewed the videos outside of class time, identifying gaps in knowledge and planning responsive instruction for future lessons. Robin shared selections of the videos with the whole class, reviewing text features that students had mastered and those that still needed reinforcement. When reviewing videos with each pair of students, Robin could more specifically identify gaps in knowledge. Supported by additional targeted instruction, the pair then recorded a new video to demonstrate new understanding about text features they had previously missed.

    Tips for using digital tools for assessment

    Teachers can use a number of digital tools to enhance formative assessment. When getting started, consider your current assessment practices and evaluate whether a digital tool could provide new or unique opportunities to assess students’ literacy knowledge. Choose an app that is easy for students to use and high-interest texts at an appropriate reading level for each student. Model the creation process and a sample video of what you expect from students. Consider pairing or grouping students when first using the app. If you are recording simultaneously, spread students out to minimize audio overlap. Be intentional in the process, and you will find the power of using digital tools for formative assessment.

     
    Kara Sevensma is an assistant professor of education at Calvin College. She is currently researching educational technology and human flourishing with a grant supported by the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning. She can be contacted at sevensma@calvin.edu.

     

    RobinSchuhmacher_80Robin Schuhmacher is a second-grade teacher and differentiation coach in Cherry Creek School District. She has 12 years of experience in the primary classroom and holds a B.A. in elementary education and an M.A. in special education. She can be contacted at rschuhmacher@cherrycreekschools.org or via Twitter @robin_schuh.


    This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s 
    Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).


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    Integrating Videos Into Literacy Instruction

    By Marilyn E. Moore
     | Feb 24, 2017

    ThinkstockPhotos-80607869_x300Common Core State Standards encourage teachers to focus on reading texts deeply, writing for digital environments collaboratively, and reading and writing nonfiction texts. The use of videos for instruction and production facilitates meeting these standards and engages students in more real-world reading and writing experiences.   

    Integrating videos in support of literacy practices

    Traditional literacy practices emphasized individual mastery of concepts and skills, whereas new media literacy practices emphasize collaborative, social, and context activity. Following are new media examples that describe literacy curriculum at the elementary and secondary levels that incorporate the use of video.

    Ideas for the elementary level are found in the article“Devillainizing Video in Support of Comprehension and Vocabulary Instruction,” by Matthew Hall and Katherine Dougherty Stahl. Classroom videos that digitally define a content area vocabulary term are being developed by teachers. The definitions can include narration, music, props, additional people, and manipulatives. In “eVoc Strategies: 10 Ways to Use Technology to Build Vocabulary,” Bridget Dalton and Dana Grisham emphasize, “Sound vocabulary instruction incorporates multiple exposures in multiple contexts of words to be learned.”

    With young students, using short videos of narratives as part of comprehension can address higher comprehension skills such as inference skills. In addition, introducing a story using video and discussion can be followed by children reading the story and completing writing activities.

    Teaching Shakespeare With YouTube” by Christy Desmet and Joyce Bruett proposes that YouTube is a popular site for building class assignments for students’ skills in critical reading and writing. For example, YouTube lists nearly 50 entries for videos on Macbeth and videos on Hamlet. These videos can be used for modeling the text for further discussion, writing a critical analysis, or having students produce their own modern-day version of Hamlet or Macbeth. YouTube Shakespeare restricts the length and size of videos to 10 minutes or less.

    Identifying tools used for video production

    For years, educators have purchased videos or made their own videos using a camcorder or smartphone. Today, students are using Web. 2.0 digital tools such as Flipgrid and Voki, as Kara Clayton shared recently. Flipgrid can be used by students to create their own video response to posts by people such as their teacher. Voki is a speaking avatar program that also gives students a platform for expressing themselves.

    Educators are also using YouTube videos in the classroom to get attention, introduce new concepts, provide information, or review important points. The subject of literature is particularly enhanced through the use of YouTube.

    Identifying potential challenges of using videos in the classroom

    Currently, many schools block YouTube and other social networking sites because many videos are highly inappropriate for students. Locating the right video can also be difficult because the vast numbers available must be vetted for accuracy, reasonableness, and support for the literacy activity. Another challenge when using YouTube is that videos teachers select may not be available at any given time. To ensure availability requires teachers to copy and save it on a thumb drive, computer, or other device.

    In “Escaping the Lesson-Planning Doldrums,” Catlin Tucker states, “As students shift from passive observers to active participants, teachers must also shift from being founts of knowledge to becoming architects of learning experiences—the goal of designing lessons that are exciting, engaging and student-centered.” The use of videos can give new energy to planning literacy lessons. 

    marilyn moore headshotMarilyn E. Moore is a professor and faculty director for the Reading Program at National University, La Jolla, CA.

    This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

     
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    Video Production Made Easy With Web 2.0 Tools

    By Kara Clayton
     | Feb 17, 2017

    ThinkstockPhotos-163931537_x300Using video production in the classroom is no longer the expensive, intimidating approach to student engagement that it was 20 years ago. As a result of Web 2.0, digital tools are seemingly ubiquitous. With more freedom to use mobile devices in the classroom and increased Internet access, video creation and collaboration has expanded beyond the traditional broadcasting or English language arts class.

    Since 2014, I have attended the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy at the University of Rhode Island and have had the good fortune of spending a week learning about best practices for using digital tools in the classroom alongside other K–16 educators. As a result, I have learned different methods for including video tools in my practice without the added stress and expense of purchasing cameras, tripods, and editing software.

    Creation and asynchronous conversation

    Though our world is huge, we can help our students engage in conversations that go beyond a 140-character tweet or an abbreviated post on social media. Flipgrid is one of the tools that I  have leveraged in my classroom in order to engage students in conversations with people with whom they might not normally communicate. This year, as my ninth graders stepped into my classroom, I knew they were my first group of students who had no memory of the events of September 11, 2001. I wanted them to hear firsthand what others had experienced. To do that, I created a Flipgrid, which started with friends and grew beyond people I knew. The interviewees used Flipgrid as a video tool to respond to a prompt about their own memories of September 11. I shared this Flipgrid with my students, who not only watched but were able to create their own video response to posts that resonated with them. Flipgrid offered my students an opportunity to have a dialogue with others through the affordances of connected learning. (Note: If you have a memory of September 11 that you would like to contribute to my Flipgrid or continue a conversation with one of the people who posted to this grid, I would love for you to share it here.)

    Leveling the class participation playing field

    Another creation tool I stumbled upon in its infancy and that I now use frequently with my students is Voki. Voki is a speaking avatar program that allows users to choose an avatar, make it unique by adding clothes and finding hairstyles and accessories, and add a voice through three methods: microphone, telephone, or a text-to-speech device. Certainly, the avatar design is what draws students in, but one of the most powerful aspects of this tool is that it gives students a platform for expressing themselves. Students can comment on a topic important to them or simply share what they’ve learned. Voki is also excellent for formative assessment. Though I didn’t realize this tool’s power at first, students who are often uncomfortable talking in class or who are physically unable to talk get the opportunity to engage in classroom discussions. The avatar does the talking for them through the text-to-speech option. There are many other ways to use Voki in the classroom; for instance, I’ve had students comment on politics or create advertisements for a product they were trying to promote. Teachers can also use Voki. For example, I have used the Voki Presenter option to teach elementary-aged students how to spell word family sounds. It’s a versatile tool, and many of the options are free to students and teachers.

    As a veteran teacher, I know that when students are engaged, they love learning. By providing instructional approaches for developing student expression that go beyond the traditional multiparagraph essay (which typically is not read by anyone other than the classroom teacher), digital media has the potential to be a powerful approach to education. Not only does video production allow students to communicate with a broad audience, but it also provides them with an easy means to become civically engaged citizens.

    kara clayton headshotKara Clayton is the media studies teacher at Thurston High School in Redford, MI.

    This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).

     

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    Learn By Doing: Exploring Values, Networks, and Genres

    By Jill Castek
     | Feb 10, 2017

    ThinkstockPhotos-119874900_x300Makerspaces are informal learning contexts that have become popular because they feature hands-on exploratory learning driven by interests rather than curricula. These learning spaces provide a rich context for collaboration, communication, and literacy development. This post explores three aspects of learning in Makerspaces intended to spark new thinking about instruction in classrooms and beyond.

    Making values

    Making as a culture is a learn-by-doing endeavor. As makers engage in making, they’re innovating—expressing creativity and problem solving. In these spaces, learners choose to make things they like, need, or could use, as they express creativity or artistry. The Maker Camp Projects gallery and Makerspaces Projects show a range of examples. The learning that surrounds making capitalizes on just-in-time learning as makers work together to figure things out or research ideas as the need arises. Engagement in learning is real, as is the desire to create. Achieving a goal is fed by a need to know or a desire to explore. In this way, making is perhaps the most authentic form of inquiry.

    Making networks

    Makerspaces create an environment where learners of all ages come together to learn from one another. In making networks, the desire for sharing ideas that lead to improvements or hacks to make design better are paramount. In these networks, crowd-sourcing approaches are the norm; everyone contributes to make products and directions better for the whole community. Sharing encourages and empowers learners—other readers use resources, documents, and archives that have been posted to create/recreate what has been shared by others. Makers seek each other out online to share advice and mine specific expertise.

    Makers are collaborative as part of the culture; sharing is part of process. Digital sharing involves writing and communicating with others on sites that makers commonly frequent (such as Instructables and Make:). Makers document their processes and share “in progress” work within networks to look for ways to use or improve a process or product or to riff on ideas shared by others (remix and make new things). Specific examples of making networks can be found in Making it Social: Considering the Purpose of Literacy to Support Participation in Making and Engineering, in the August 2016 issue of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (JAAL).

    Making genres

    Genres are social processes in maker spaces and digital platforms provide multiple ways of sharing ideas formally and informally. Makers often compose multimodal online how-to guides that are presented through a mixture of images, videos, and text based directions. These posts also include reviews of what’s made (i.e., directions for making, extensions or hacks). Face-to-face interactions are a critical part of the social interaction of making as well as learners working together to support one another as they learn new strategies and processes. Within community makerspaces, students often serve as apprentices who monitor maker spaces while serving in roles that build their identities as experts with tools and technologies. For more resources and examples, visit Maker Space for Education.  

    Instructional design choices that draw on the above principles can help youth develop agency, including taking charge of their own literacies and teaching others, in a community-oriented environment that treats individual learning as part of the greater, interconnected whole. Additional resources, readings, and reflections about how to facilitate learning within Makerspaces or similar environments are linked to Renovated Learning.

    Jill Castek is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona. She co-edits the column Digital Literacies for Disciplinary Learning in JAAL.

     This article is part of a series from the International Literacy Association’s Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).
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