The authors present a sensible argument for and a detailed description of how to meaningfully include technology in today's...
The authors present a sensible argument for and a detailed description of how to meaningfully include technology in today's classrooms. This book is the thirdin a series entitled "From Reading Research to Practice." Chapter 1, "Learning, Teaching, and Technology," begins with an overview of ״how" we actually learn to read. This cursory review is a bit naive for anyone who has previously researched the topic, but for novices and beginning teachers,this oversimplified breakdown of the many steps required in the reading processseems potentially helpful and enlightening. The second part of Chapter 1 lists and explains a number of the positive uses of computers in today's classrooms. The authors believe that many of the currently available computer software programs can provide learning experiences which enhance classroom instruction. Three of the seemingly most important points they offer are: oFlexibility is the most important attribute of computers in the classroom, suiting them to the complexity and individuality of the learning process. oComputers can be adapted to present material in many ways and customizedto individual learning styles and needs. oThe interactive quality of computers allows them to engage, motivate, guide, and support students.״Developing Reading Recognition," Chapter 2, is not just merely a condensed version of any reading textbook you might pick up to find out how to teach word identification skills. As is also the case with the following chapters, Chapter 2 describes how a teacher might effectively incorporate computer technology intohis or her everyday program of reading instruction. Since "reading software must reflect the same kind of whole-brain, individualized approach that good teachers use," the authors list four elements that any quality software package must provide: ohighlighted patterns; oopportunities for meaningful practice; omotivation for studentsto learn and practice; and oacknowledgement of individual differences.Throughout this chapter, the reader is reminded of the highlighted points from Chapter 1: software should be evaluated and selected on the basis of how well itaddresses textual patterns, and to what extent it provides opportunities for practice, exploration, and motivational support.Chapter 3, "Developing Reading Strategies," outlines how we, as readers, pursuemeaning from text if we are to be successful. Chapter 4, "Developing Reading Engagement," can be summarized with a most enlightening statement: "Without new challenges, students become bored; impossible challenges frustrate and dishearten them. The right level of challenge at the right time can 'pull in' students the way video games do, building mastery a step at a time." The authors go on to remind us of seven points to consider when evaluating the motivational aspects of software. As always, they recommend we use a variety of programs and web sites in combination. Software should be selected that: oprovides variable challenges and adjustable supports; outilizes engaging multimedia features and rewards that are germane to reading processes and the meanings of texts; orespects and emphasizes the pleasures of reading; oprovides tools that students can use to create and publish their own works; oprovide a broad and varied real-life context for authentic communication; oinvites students to set their own challenges and levels of support; and ocontains or is open to a great variety of texts.״Technology, Teaching, and Literacies Old and New," Chapter 5, powerfully reminds us that computers can only help us do what we are trying to achieve, they cannot do anything for us or change what we do. They are, however, ״redefining what literacy is.״There has never been a prescription for teaching someone to read in the more traditional sense, just as there is no definitive way to do so in this "computerage." How we view technology will largely impact our teaching practices. Teachers who view computers as threats will never see the positive aspects that could be added to their instruction programs through the use of computers. ״Learning to Read in the Computer Age" challenges us to incorporate technology into our teaching; improving our instruction and the reading skills of our students is the ultimate goal.