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May 23, 2011 / Thinknology

Technology and reading instruction

Is technology impacting how we learn to read? Yes it is. Back in the day, in elementary school, every morning we got into our reading groups. There were usually three that were organized according skills (or lack thereof). Even though the group names were decidedly neutral, we all knew that the Robins were the smart kids, the Bluebirds were the dumb kids, and the Goldfinches fell somewhere in the middle.

But I digress. This post is about technology and reading instruction.

In the model described above, the teacher worked with one group while the other two worked independently. (Note that it doesn’t matter what philosophy you subscribe to; phonics, whole language, Carden; this model was basically the same). It was all print-based and you had to read pretty much whatever was put in front of you. In the group instruction, the teacher and students used the “reader” while the other students completed “workbook” assignments. Any and all support was provided by the teacher and parents in the case of homework assignments.

Technology is changing all that. Now students, especially adult learners, have access to online instruction that provides the support they need to learn to read. This support includes audio, video, hints at the point of instruction, and useful tips along the way.

So, an adult student who is trying to improve his/her reading skills, while juggling many other responsibilities, can use technology to meet this goal. In addition, the support technology offers allows the student to read passages that otherwise would be inaccessible. For example, an article of interest may be at a higher level but the audio and visual support now makes this accessible.

Think60 is built on this foundation.

I’d like to hear your thoughts. You former Robins (and you know who you are) can comment with a 5-paragraph essay. A few sentences will suffice for the rest of you.


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