The new technology that I chose to use was called Blurb. Blurb is a website in which you can publish books. To create the books, I used a program called BookSmart. In classrooms that I have been in during the past, I always created books. These books recorded things like apple taste testing, number scavenger hunts, and show’n’share of stuffed pets. The children really enjoy reflecting on their experiences by looking at these books. However, to create these books, I would bind computer paper by staple or binder.
What this new technology did for me was provide a new source for making books. The program was VERY easy to use. Not only was I able to manipulate the layout, style, and appearance of the book, but photos be uploaded with a small click of my mouse. The most complicated aspect of the project was the transfer from BookSmart to Blurb. There are many steps when copyrighting a text, but the site provides scaffolding. Ultimately, the upload time due to graphics was just a matter of patience. In the future, I would definitely use Blurb. In fact, I would actually have the children use the program to publish the work that they had made. They could be the authors and illustrators of the book, which could be developed over a period of time during writer’s workshop times. The book could be published on the web, for their parents and family to see. This also gives them the choice to buy the book if they can afford it (but without feeling the pressure). I feel like this technology fits directly with ideal literacy instruction. The students work to develop a book. They could do research, peer revising, and write to a specific genre. They could present it to others. Essentially, it brings together multiple aspects of literacy: listening, writing, reading, speaking, and technology.
As for the literacy, I chose environmental. When researching the different literacies, I was drawn to environmental. The idea behind it makes so much sense. Environmental literacies consists of real life, environmental issues presented in a way that helps students develop opinions. I am not discrediting any of the other literacy choices. Instead, I found the idea of environmental literacy so natural. I found it very natural in the early childhood portion of education. Children are constantly trying to make sense of the environment. They are exploring and using their senses to discover and interpret the earth’s wonders. In this way, I believe the environmental literacy is imperative to help aid in this discovery.
At the start of the semester, I divided literacy into the following categories: reading, writing, listening, viewing, reading, speaking, and the incorporation of technology within all of them. Now, my interpretation is different. I now believe that literacy is this huge thing that really cannot be defined or categorized. It cannot be broken into a hierarchy, considering some parts more relevant than others. I am not sure if one could accurately define literacy in a 500-page book. If I claim that literacy is something, can someone else argue that my interpretation is wrong? I really do not believe that any of the books that we have read in class could/has provide a definition either, as none of the books is the end all of literacy knowledge.
I think that literacy is directed based on the student’s individual needs and interests. No two children have the same experiences, learning styles, and interest, so as a teacher we need to continue to modify our views on the topic. If we do not, we actually provide a disservice to our students.