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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.

Reading aloud with kids around the globe

April 4, 2013

What if your students could share a popular work of children's literature with other students around the world? Fourth-grade teacher Jan Wells has blown the lid off her small school in Meriden Kansas (population 813) by taking advantage of (free) projects offered by the educational community on Edmodo that allow her to do just that.

Picture this. Wells and her students are participating in a Global Read Aloud. According to Elizabeth Dobler, in Reading Today (February/March 2012), Wells's students are blogging, video conferencing, and participating in online discussions through Edmodo. Younger readers read Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown, a perennial favorite. (Last year Wells's students participated in a read aloud focused on Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt.)

Wells's experiences with Edmodo didn't end with these two books. According to Dobler, Wells also uses the online community as a way to engage with teachers and students in Louisiana. The teachers joined forces to arrange a joint Skype session involving a guest speaker. Wells's children were able to text their ideas and comments on the presentation — which took place hundreds of miles away.

How can you take advantage of Edmodo? Inspired by Wells and her explorations, you might by exploring free, secure websites designed to support several curricular areas. See, for example, Spelling City where students can engage in online games activities to reinforce their vocabulary development. You might also connect with a teacher in a completely different geographic area from yours and collaborate on your own Global Reading Aloud Project.

Or, as Dobler suggests, if you're just getting started with online communities, join one that focuses on subjects that interest you — language arts or technology, for example. You can jump in with both feet, or spend some time getting acclimated to other teachers' perspectives.

Are you a newbie with online communities such as Edmodo? A major player? Or somewhere in between? Let us know how joining one did (or didn't) add to your teaching repertoire.

Comments

Thank you so much for highlighting the Global Read Aloud. As its creator, I would like to point out that this is not just an Edmodo based project, this is just one facet of it. We also use Kidblog, Skype, Twitter, and many other tech tools to facilitate the project. Also, younger readers this year Read Charlotte's Web, not Flat Stanley (that was the book for 2011). To see more information about the project go to our website www.globalreadaloud.com - it may be more helpful than the wiki which is another collaboration site. Best,Pernille Ripp

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