For the Love of Literacy – The 21st Century Learner

Last weekend, I had the joy of attending Halton’s annual For the Love of Literacy Conference. This was my first time attending this conference, and I would highly recommend it! To start off the day, we got our welcome package which consisted of our name tag, the workshop information about the workshops we would be attending as well as a fabulous new teaching bag, which was provided by Scholastic.

To start off the conference, I had the absolute pleasure of listening to an hour long presentation about the 21st Century Learner from the honoured guest, Lisa Donohue (you can visit her blog located at www.lisadonohue.wordpress.com). Lisa is the author of educational books, including her latest book: 100 Minutes. In her presentation, we learned about the key traits to learning in the 21st Century:
* Collaboration (working with others)
* Communication (communicating with others, via various different forms)
* Authenticity (making learning authentic / meaningful to students’ lives)
* Engagement (making learning fun to engage our students)
* Creativity (creative teaching/giving students the opportunity to be creative in their learning)
* Choice (giving students choice is KEY to them being engaged and taking ownership in their learning).

Using digital media is extremely important with the 21st Century learner. Technology is all around us, and using it in the classroom will be engaging and authentic to our students. One quote I absolutely loved that Lisa tells her students is that when they are using social media/technology, they are “tools, not toys” and these tools should be used to “extend, not escape”. I think these are fabulous quotes to teach our students about when using technology in the classroom.

Here are some fabulous ideas of how YOU can implement social media into your classroom/assignments:
* using media literacy with higher level thinking questions (perhaps give students a higher level question, that they can respond to it on their own student blog)
* having a classroom twitter account (I have one, and post pictures/quotes of students while they are learning. My parents absolutely love this. Follow us @class_obrien).
* using Toontastic or mystorybook for storytelling/retelling
*  incorporating Blue Spruce books with technology. Give each group a book from the Blue Spruce collection, and get them to use iMovie to make a commercial advertising their book of choice. They could use many things taught in media literacy as well such as looking at their audience, what is the big idea of the book, etc
* using Edmodo for Learning Skills. Each group could have a different learning skill, and could make their own Edmodo page, which can be accessed all year long

If you can attend next years Love of Literacy Conference, I would highly suggest it. I will be there… will you?

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The Author

Katie Pryde

I am a Kindergarten teacher at Joshua Creek Public School in the Halton District School Board. I have previous experience in Grade 1, Grade 3, Phys. Ed and Library positions. I am a very enthusiastic, and dedicated teacher- I believe that all students should feel respected, appreciated and safe in the classroom, and I ensure I provide this for all my students.

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