Effective communication between homes and schools can be essential in helping students experience success in the classroom. Unfortunately, the topic of establishing mechanisms for meaningful parent-teacher communication is often slighted during the preparation of teachers. New teachers entering classrooms need the opportunity to interact and communicate with parents during their preparation program. This article examines how one reading tutor used technology to communicate with parents about their child’s literacy growth while the child was enrolled in a university-based tutoring program called the Reading Improvement Clinic. Specific examples illustrate how this technology-based approach enhanced the communication process with parents while sharing tutoring information, student progress reports, and tutoring artifacts. Several advantages of using such an approach include easy access to student materials and assessments, timely postings of the child’s work and tutor comments, and a secure environment for sharing confidential documents.
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The opening remarks offered by Swensen, Rozema, Young, McGrail, and Whitin (2005) make a significant contribution by creating a space for reflection and subsequent action at the intersection of English teacher preparation and technology. In their introduction, they note that educators should not assume that the adoption of these newer technologies is inevitable, or […]
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As a commentary aimed toward revision of “Beliefs About Technology and the Preparation of English Teachers: Beginning the Conversation” (Swenson, Rozema, Young, McGrail, & Whitin, 2005), this paper encourages the authors to focus on the multiliteracies that technologies enable as a guiding theme rather than on technologies themselves. It also contends that revisions could be more congruent with current trends in K-12 literacy instruction, namely addressing how multiliteracies and design-based learning can connect with standards and assessment. In so doing, it suggests that the revision of this belief statement can expand the conversation from one primarily about technologies to one that focuses on the changing nature of literacy as well as the larger and long-term implications of this shift for English education.
This response to“Beliefs about Technology and the Preparation of English Teachers: Beginning the Conversation” (Swenson, Rozema, Young, McGrail, & Whitin, 2005) offers a framework for considering the qualities of the technology-using English teacher.
The integration of digital tools and multimodal representations in the English classroom has the greatest potential when we define literacy as multiple socially constructed practices. If digital literacies are defined as autonomous tools and isolated symbolic systems, reduced to a set of skills and forms for students to reproduce, then school literacy practices will become further distanced from nonschool literacy practices. Instead, English teachers should engage school literacies in which digital and nondigital tools help students inquire into how multimodal symbols are used to construct and negotiate community identities, relationships, activities, and values. Digital literacies may be especially supportive of such critical inquiry practices.