Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Promoting Literacy via Technology

This last term, our school librarian, Stephanie Ellis, and I got together to think about boys and literacy. High school boys don't like to read much, if at all. In fact, it isn't unusual to hear a boy bragging about how he "hasn't read a book all year!" Depressing, eh? So Steph and I put our heads together and came up with a multi-faceted unit to help promote literacy throughout the school. Stephanie offered up the "Read for a Feed" programme, where a class can win morning tea by reading, cumulatively, the most books for the school year (Terms 1-3). My Year 9 class had the option of using one personal reader for their second studied text for final exams. Together, we created a reading, viewing, and speaking unit that culminated in a product the whole school could use.

We (the class and I) created "book trailers" (like film previews) for our chosen books. The task was to combine text, image(s) and sound in a coherent moving image that would produce a sense of excitement in the viewer. The trailers were created in .ppt and then saved as a Windows Video File. As the boys cannot access youtube themselves, I then uploaded all of their videos to my personal account so they could create QR Codes for their books. These codes were then printed out in two sizes: one for the book cover, one for the bookcases/display areas.

Lastly, the boys each created and edited a 30-60 second video on their view of the state of technology in secondary schools (will post some of these as they finish). Some of them have come from very highly resources intermediates, so these were quite interesting! This video will be used in a presentation to the BoT next month, when Steph and I present our literacy initiative. 

 Very lastly, I created a survey in Google Drive so the boys could vote for the best trailer (prize: one of my final Twinkies!). I also surveyed them after the unit to see what they enjoyed the most (or didn't), what skills they had learnt (or taught), and what they would recommend to other students (and the BoT). I highly recommend giving it a go. Although the boys weren't too happy to be limited to creative commons (and a couple tried to get around it!), they came up with some integrated concepts. 

 Of course, the project was not without its pitfalls. The boys couldn't directly download sounds from the soundbanks, so they had to find the ones they wanted, email the links to me, and I would download them and put them into Student Data. They also cannot access youtube, so they emailed me again when their videos were completed, and I uploaded them from their network accounts. I then emailed them back the link to make the QR codes, which they printed and gave to Steph, who printed them on colour paper, laminated them, and posted throughout the library. Now all we need is wireless! Total amount of non-teaching time for me to do things they should have been able to do themselves: 6 hours (there's 30 of them; 1 of me).

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