“The Early Literacy Shift: New Words, New Media, New Friends”

The blog Kathy Cassidy (http://kathycassidy.com/2013/09/14/the-early-literacy-shift-new-words-new-media-new-friends/) follows a grade one teacher and her students through their learning and development within their classroom in Saskatoon, Canada. The blog is not a typical blog as Ms. Cassidy embraces the new technological age that is coming upon us and developing her students into tech savy beings. She has realized that the world is changing with or without her, so she needs to develop her curriculum into benefiting students rather then leaving them at a disadvantage.

The blog post “The Early Literacy Shift: New Words, New Media, New Friends” describes how the present day has changed into a technologically advanced educational system. With this has there has been significant changes to vocabulary, tools that  are used for teaching and learning, learning styles, audiences for written work,  and new ways to communicate with each other.

Ms. Cassidy has made a twitter and blog for every student within her classroom. This allows the children to work on narratives, personal reflection, and their writing (spelling, sentence structure) on a public domain that is able to be viewed by not only the teacher but other classrooms across the world, their family, and the general public. It produces feedback from the audience as well as a way to connect to others using the new technology. Within this article Ms. Cassidy describes how she allows the children to practice their reading and writing via Skype with other classrooms across the world. This method allows children to help other children and do peer review over a simple application such as Skype. This article connects to scholarship on technology and learning because Ms. Cassidy has embraced the new technology in her classroom and outside for the children in order for them to learn and develop through the tools of their century. No, I am not saying that not writing on paper and reading out loud to the class is not done within her classroom. She has expanded the opportunities for children to learn the way they are best able to using simple technologies.

As a Registered Early Childhood Educator this article is valuable to me because it opened my eyes to what is happening within our elementary schools. I had some idea of the new technology being implemented such as the smart board and the Ipads being introduced to most classrooms but I never knew to the extent until I read this article. This blog demonstrated how we can use technology to our benefit as educators and to our students. It has given me resources and an image of what I need to learn before I enter an elementary school as a professional. Before I did not believe in technology as a teaching tool because I thought it took away from true interactions and learning opportunities between people but now I have seen how to use technology to connect rather then limit.  As before mentioned, Ms. Cassidy’s class uses Skype to connect with other classrooms across the world. Who can say you did that as a child? I remember writing to my pen pal in Nova Scotia…. Opportunities like talking to another child in a different country via Skype allow learning to expand and develop for both children.

A child develops in numerous ways based on what they experience at a young age. As per John Dewey’s theory of play based learning“[…] Dewey advocated an education for young children that was embedded in their current experience in the world that surrounded them. He thought play could be used to help children reconstruct their experience and to gain meaning from it” (Saracho & Spodek, 1995, pg. 133) I believe that children learn from doing and experiencing through play as to their interests and wants. This allows rewarding experiences to be encountered that allow information to be instilled rather to simply be listened to. In order to find out what children are interested in we need to look at the way they best learn, every one child is different. Technology has become a great tool for children whom may have difficulty learning from text books, reading, and/or listening. For instance, my ten year old cousin has hydrocephalus,  he is at a grade one reading level and grade two writing. He does not like t o focus when doing writing or reading tasks on paper because it does not interest him. When an Ipad was introduced with the app Explain Everything he would not take his hands off of it. The technology aspect of learning interested him so much because it reminded him of his computer and play station that he loves. It is inclusive to his learning needs and allows an expansion of his development

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