This was another one of those chapters where I agreed with what it said, but was not inspired by any of it. 

In the section on integrating AT into the IEP I at first agreed with the idea that when writing goals the focus of the goal should still be the acquisition of the academic skill that the technology is assisting the student achieve, as opposed to making using the technology the goal.  I understood the example:  “STUDENT will demonstrate improved written expression using a talking word processing program” made sense. But upon reflection, “STUDENT will learn how to use a talking word processing program,” also makes sense, not as an end goal, but certainly as an intermediary step.

I thought the section on developing collaborative working relationships with IT staff was well written, and could be generalized into other arenas of life. It was filled with good solid advice about collaboration in general. I was also totally intrigued by the sections on Cultural Monographs- although it is totally out of my area of “need to know knowledge”.

I found that the most useful sections in this chapter were the tables. In Table 13.1 Resources for Developing Professionals’ AT Knowledge and Skills  I found information about the Texas Assistive Technology Network which has a series of online training modules on AT for reading and writing. I also found many interesting resources in Table 13.3 Resources for Assistive Technology Integration. I was especially happy to find the Learning Grids World to support the Crick software group

Of all the educational technology we have studied, I am most excited by the technology that allows emergency readers and writers to experience ease and fluency in their interactions with the written word.

Twenty-five years ago an interest in emergent literacy was what lead me to the teaching credential program at SFSU. I had just received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from CCAC and was teaching at a preschool. I was enamored with the work of Joseph Campbell, and was a regular at the annual Bay Area Storytelling Festival. Ultimately, I was fascinated by the idea of man as a “meaning making animal”, and felt that we told stories as a way to share our truths and to make sense of the world.

In my application to enter the teaching credential program I expressed my belief that children are inherently literate and that we need to teach them to read and write without losing their inborn literacy. I was aware that I was stretching the term literate- that it actually means “the ability to read and write”.  However I also knew that the term “literacy” could be defined as “the ability to use language proficiently.” And that was the crux of what I was trying to say, that children are already proficient with oral language by the time they get to school, and that somehow we needed to teach them to read and write without inhibiting their natural instincts as storytellers and meaning makers.

This was a hot topic in the educational world in the 1980’s. Starting with Donald Graves publishing Writing: Teacher and Children at Work (1983), and then fueled by Lucy Calkins The Art of Teaching Writing (1986), Writer’s Workshops were showing up in elementary classrooms across the country.  Teachers were learning that children write best when they are given permission to use writing to express themselves. Children were learning to call themselves authors.

It was rich… but at the same time, all these writing programs were still depending on having the child master the mechanics of the written word before they could use it to express themselves. Often there was an adult there willing to take dictation in kindergarten, and sometimes even in first grade. But by second grade the child was expected to use a pencil and do all the writing themselves. Yes, they could use invented spelling, but ultimately being an author still meant having the ability to initiate and imitate fine motor movements while at the same time retrieving a slew of newly acquired information about how the written word works from their long term memory to their working memory, while also generating and organizing the content of what they wanted to say.  For many children this was so cognitively taxing that they gave up before achieving mastery, or at least gave up on the idea that expressing themselves in writing could be enjoyable. We were still seeing children who were starting out their path to literacy as enthusiastic storytellers, but ending up graduating elementary school as reluctant writers.

Now, 25 years later, it feels like we finally have the tools to support the vision of these great researchers and writers in the field of teaching writing. It is exciting to realize that the digital technology of the 21st century is creating so many ways for the emerging reader and writer to engage creatively and fluently with the written word as they acquire mastery of it, rather than needing to master it before they can join in the fun.
This chapter brings up some very important issues:

·     the vulnerability our digital natives have to online predation and harassment

·      the ethics of posting and reposting information in the digital world

·      the importance of clearly defined  “acceptable use” policies for technology in the classroom

·       the role of adult involvement in keeping our students safe when using the internet.

However, I agree with my classmate Lisa, the chapter is incomplete, and needed to include a section dealing with the importance of communicating to the students what it means to publish something on the web. Our students need to understand the implications behind the fact that “anything they put on the web is viewable (and therefore accessible and distributable) by anyone, and can very difficult to delete.”

Additionally, I too would have liked to see more emphasis on the importance of teaching students how to use their judgment in analyzing the validity of the information they find online. The subject was touched upon in David Warlick’s “Student and Teacher Information Code of Ethics”, under the heading “Seek Truth and Express It”, but then it was not brought up again.

In fact, there were four sections in Warwick’s Information Code of Ethics:

1. Seek Truth and Report It

2. Minimize Harm

3. Act Independently

4. Be Accountable

and after reading it,  I felt that all four sections were worth looking at in greater detail. So much so that I was inspired to check out his techLEARNING blog to see if I could find more about his Code of Ethics.

The first thing I discovered was that the site is not very user friendly- lots of pop-up advertisements and a poor search engine, but when I google searched Mr. Warlick by name I hit paydirt.

I found that his Student and Teacher Information code of Ethics was adapted from
the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalism, which takes the four sections and runs with them.

 I also found that that David Warwick has written a book called Redefining Literacy in the 21st Century.

Additionally I found that he is the author of many blogs. One is a wordpress blog which links to his professional role as a speaker on technology and education: 

Another is more causual with the title 2 Cents and which he describes as ” the observations, experiences, half-baked and fully baked ideas of an 35 year vagabond educator:

All of this  means that ultimately I found the information in this chapter to be very rich indeed, even if I did need to do a little digging to find the gold.