Saturday, August 23, 2014

Here are some thought provoking articles on meshing technology and literacy. Courtesy of Choice Literacy.

The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
August 23, 2014 - Issue #396

Pure Enjoyment PD
There are many true statements about complex topics that are too long to fit on a PowerPoint slide. 
                                                          Edward Tufte
This is the season when literacy leaders are thinking about kick-off professional development sessions in the fall, and dusting off PowerPoint (and Keynote) presentations to be revised or designing new sets of slides for their audiences. But what would happen to your presentation plans if you found out PowerPoint presentations were banned at your school?
It's a reality many professionals in other fields are facing. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon (and the owner of the Washington Post), banned PowerPoint presentations more than two years ago. Presenters instead must write six-page memos, which are read silently by everyone in the group before discussion begins.
Although Amazon has moved to longer written narratives, most other workplaces that have ditched PowerPoint have moved back to the lowly whiteboard. Leaders have discovered PowerPoint slides can be a barrier to discussion and creativity in group settings.  It's a growing trend across many different professions. Andrew Askew, a professor at a physics forum that banned PowerPoints, explained,  "The communication became a lot more two-way instead of just the speaker speaking at length for 15, 20 minutes. The audience really started to come alive, to look up from their laptop computers and actually start participating in the discussion, which is what we were really trying to foster."
I'm not advocating a ban on PowerPoint presentations (we've even posted creative ideas recently for students developing them).  But the fact that so many leaders outside education have come to the same conclusion is great food for thought. If PowerPoint wasn't an option for your back-to-school professional development sessions or presentations to families, what could you do with a whiteboard and a few questions to launch a discussion? What would happen if instead of firing up your computer and your LCD, you began with questions, or a read-aloud?  If the thought of open-ended discussions or the group response to reading is scary, how healthy is your school community? Jeff Bezos once said, "If I could organize my day just in terms of pure enjoyment, I would be with other people around a whiteboard." What would a day of "pure enjoyment" PD look like for you?
This week we look at options for reader response. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Brenda Power
Founder, Choice Literacy


Free for All

[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links,  follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook:
Here are two features from the archives on integrating technology and reading response.
Katherine Sokolowski discovers some new tools for reader response in Audioboo, QR Codes, and Authentic Reading Response:
Shelly Archer is Rethinking Reading Logs with Wikis:

Cathy Mere shares some of her favorite digital tools for reader response with primary students at her Reflect & Refine blog:
Read more about why many businesses are banning PowerPoints:
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Differentiation with e-textbooks - at last! Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

E-textbooks evolve to include more adaptive features
E-textbooks have evolved beyond words on a screen to include adaptive features that adjust levels of difficulty based on students' needs and offer translation functions. "Think of it as making the textbook a hands-on activity," said Andrew Miller, an ASCD faculty member and technology expert. "It's making the content come to life in a way that meets the needs of different learners -- auditory learners, visual leaders, text-based learners." District Administration magazine online (7/17)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Here is a great article on a school that went digital. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief

Lessons for schools considering going all digital
Just one year after his high school went all digital, vice principal Frank Portanova shares three tips for other schools considering what he says has been a successful and exciting transformation. In this commentary, he writes that the transformation does not happen immediately, that it is important to ensure that infrastructure needs are met and that teachers and students are on board. eSchool News (free registration) Bookmark and Share