- Approaching the task - here are a variety of strategies that lead to understanding and how to deal with obstacles when reading.
- Navigating online tests - strategies for determining what is the important idea/information, and strategies for evaluating the accuracy of the information.
- Comprehension of and pathways through online texts.
- Responding to online texts - how readers communicate the information and their thoughts.
The resource that our TA shared was a toolkit for using technology to enrich comprehension developed by Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke, two teachers from Chicago. They explain that they use technology to enrich comprehension instruction in the following ways:
- To enable all students to participate and engage more deeply - one strategy they use is to add "type" into turn and talk. For example students can post to social media or a backchannel while reading and then see everyone's responses to their own thinking. Posting also doesn't have to be written, many tools can enable visual response options.
- To provide access to resources, experts of texts that students would not otherwise be able to access - in particular magazines, newspapers and primary-source documents. Literacy is not simply processing information from printed text - it can involve using images and video and assistive technology to help emerging readers. Students can also email or Skype with experts.
- To provide a real-world audience for students thinking and learning - for example via blogs or tweets that can reach a global community.
- To monitor and assess student thinking and understanding through observation of digital participation and collecting artefacts. Katie and Kristin refer to this as "a second set of eyes" as technology adds an additional layer of information gathering. They write that "digitally capturing student work, conversations, illustrations of their thinking, peer editing and student writing provides multiple layers of information about how and when students apply strategies". Technology also facilitates students' self-reflection
- To meet the diverse needs of students, by adding visual, video or audio - in addition teachers can make videos that capture their teaching and make that available to students at times when the teachers are not available, for example when the students are at home, in a Flipped Learning model, or even using the In-Flip where students can use a computer or iPad in class to watch a video of a teacher or another student modeling a strategy. For students who struggle with reading, but not with thinking, technology can allow them to access the complex ideas and texts that are beyond their current reading level.
- To build digital literacy - it's important to teach students to interact in positive ways online.
Do you have ideas for how technology can improve reading comprehension? If so please leave a comment below.