This paper foregrounds sociocultural learning theory and dialogic pedagogy to describe how instructors at two universities, one in the Midwest and one in the mid-South, used a web-based social annotation tool to spark conversations among English language arts methods students who crossed geographic boundaries and invited all students to share their voices and respond thoughtfully and respectfully to others’ ideas. Outcomes of this exploratory exercise include the following: methods students’ inquiries into the potential for social annotation to expand learning beyond traditional classroom walls, instructors’ reflections on student interactions with peers in virtual spaces, and a call for educators to be intentional with the digital tools they choose to employ.
This manuscript describes an inquiry into preservice teachers’ (PSTs) experiences composing a digital story around the concept of adolescent literacy as part of an English language arts methods course built on critical literacy and critical inquiry traditions. Part of the assignment was to examine adolescent literacy “in these times,” paying attention to the literacy lives of current adolescents. This inquiry used qualitative methods to gain insight into the ways digital storytelling about literacy might support PSTs to forge new connections with youth. The article reports three key findings about the role and value of including digital storytelling as a required part of an educator preparation program.
This report presents research on preservice (PST) and in-service teachers acquiring digital practices for addressing climate change related to knowing how to employ digital practices for studying visual representations of climate change and engaging students in critiquing online information about climate change. Study 1 examined PSTs understanding of climate change through participation in visiting a laboratory involving scientific study of ecological systems to interact with scientists, collect digital artifacts, and create a virtual field trip using these artifacts for instructional purposes. Study 2 involved PSTs and in-service teachers responding critically to the NASA Climate Change website, identifying digital literacies their sixth-grade students would need to employ in responding to this website and designing activities to foster critical response to the website. Some PSTs focused on issues of bias and ideological assumptions, while other PSTs focused on comprehension strategy instruction. Study 3 examined PSTs critiques of the reliability of two web sources containing conflicting claims and evidence about climate change based on analysis of screenshots of each source, a digital literacy web-based tool for critical analysis of the sources, and whole group class discussion. PSTs assumed the need to consider both perspectives on the validity of climate change claims.
This work addresses the potential for English teachers to prepare their students for the literacy requirements of the digital age. The authors reviewed the literature about media education and teacher preparation, focusing on the need for students to think critically about the information, technology, and media they interact with daily. Based on the authors’ experiences teaching a critical media literacy course in a university teacher education program, they designed a survey for former students to comment on their successes and struggles in bringing the ideas from the course to their K-12 students. Through this online survey, secondary English teachers and elementary teachers were questioned about the critical media literacy teaching they had been doing with their students. An exemplar secondary English teacher who regularly incorporates critical media literacy into her instruction was also interviewed. The data from the literature, surveys, and interview provide examples of the potential English teachers have to teach with and about media and to analyze media critically.