Big Shifts in Education: Readers Are No Longer Just Readers!

As a reading specialist, my readers see reading a very passive and, dare I say, boring part of learning. They undeniably will avoid excess reading and assume the reading is too difficult to understand or remember. Read/Write/Web has changed the definition of what reading it! My teaching practices have been adjusted by this thinking because my students have always wanted to be heard, debated with, and argue for the fun of it! So, telling my students to read and reply to a classmate, myself, or an author empowers them to read critically more than ever before. They cannot be passive readers. They are now given the opportunity to response and “be heard” like never before. “I matter” has changed the way they read and operate in the classroom. They are not only commenting for the sake of commenting, but they are commenting to a learning community that they want to impress.

This will continue to change the way I do business in my classroom. My students are coming in each year more technologically aware and hungry to use these skills in the classroom. I am excited to give them the opportunity to become responsible, active cyber citizens. My district still seems fearful of using these methods to learning in the classroom. That’s where I struggle now, and I am sure will struggle in the future.

At the start of this course, I was not aware of all the Read/Write/Web opportunities to me, as a professional, and to my students. I too was fearful to embrace this form of technology in light of my district’s restrictions and policies. Now, I feel more like a maverick with this Read/Write/Web world. If you would have told me last year I would have my own blog, participated in wiki projects, responded to teachers in forums today, I would have laughed telling you I do not see the value and my district does not allow for this type of educational experiences for me or my students on our current network. Today, I have found many ways around the district’s limitations to help my students experience and enjoy this Read/Write/Web we have today. My hope is that I can build their educational interest as we dabble with it in my classroom.

I need to remember that technology and teens go hand-in-hand. The resources available today allow teens to express themselves and challenge their learning like never before. I look at most assignments different now than ever before. I see ways to use these tools in the classroom to do what I planned on doing anyway, but it is often easier or better than I could accomplish on my own in my classroom walls. I think these ideas go along with the push for enhancing critical thinking skills in the classroom today as well. Anyone can read about an idea, but if you have to respond intellectually to the reading you are doing, where others will see it, then you better make sure you understanding what you are reading.

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