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Connected: Digital Literacy for Gen Z

Dr. Julie Wood

Julie M. Wood, a former public school teacher and reading specialist, is a nationally recognized educational consultant with a special interest in digital learning tools. Join Julie in 2012 as she shares best practices in using educational technology and media in the classroom and at home.

Idea generators

June 1, 2012

Greetings friends and colleagues,

I'll bet that some of your web searches focus ideas that will help you figure out how to navigate the digital world and provide great media experiences for the children in your life.

Here are a few of my favorite go-to sites that I can count on for interesting and thoughtful ideas. All of them are free.

Let's begin with PBS KIDS Lab. True to their motto, "Every new technology is an opportunity for learning," the folks at PBS KIDS have gathered many of their educational projects for children in one place. You'll find an app that features an augmented reality game using camera phones, games, behind-the scenes features, and other goodies. Be sure to check out the "Super WHY! Super Celebrations" and "The Cat in the Hat Thing-Ma-Jigger Juice Pump."

Are you interested in research about kids and media? You might appreciate the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Here you'll find reports such as "Take a Giant Step: A Blueprint for Teaching Young Children in a Digital Age," with a special focus on low-income settings. You'll also find a report titled "The New Coviewing: Designing for Learning through Joint Media Engagement," designed to help families connect around new types of media.

While we're reminiscing, how many of you grew up with Mr. Rogers? The Fred Rogers Center builds on the legacy of that wonderful child advocate. Check out the ideas and tools for giving children the best possible experiences with new media. You might also want to download the free app, Everyday Grooves, which shows you a few ways to weave music into everyday life.

By the way, just as I was about to post this blog entry, when a colleague sent me this a link to an article on the Mashable website that I'd love to share with you. It's called 10 Ways to Optimize Your iPad for Kids with Special Needs.

The writer, Zoe Fox, remarks "for the community of people living with disabilities, the iPad may have broken even more ground. The iOS device is not only cool, but provides education, therapy and, of course, entertainment."

Would you agree? Have you explored the iPad's accessibility features before? Or tried adding an external keyboard? Can you think of students in your life who might benefit from Fox's tips? Let us know!

Let's hear from you! What are your go-to websites for fresh ideas about teaching and learning with digital tools? Join the conversation.

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Comments

Looking forward to your insight and comments. I am particularly interested in an online reading program called Reading Plus. Any comments?

I've visited the sites you suggested. They're great. As a Pre K teacher of inner city students ,I am always looking for new ideas to introduce and cultivate reading. Starfall has been my favorite up to this point. Thank you for more great choices.

I've visited the sites you suggested. They're great. As a Pre K teacher of inner city students ,I am always looking for new ideas to introduce and cultivate reading. Starfall has been my favorite up to this point. Thank you for more great choices.

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