Amy Hutchison is collaborating with a local teacher, Samantha Kelley, to enhance Kelley’s language arts curriculum using iPads.
Hutchison uses iPads for digital literacy
Amy Hutchison has read the proverbial writing on the wall, while watching it migrate rapidly from the page to the screen. Now, she's partnering with schools to study the interplay between this digitization and student literacy.
An assistant professor in the Iowa State University School of Education, Hutchison began collaborating with Samantha Kelley, a sixth grade language arts teacher from Gilbert Middle School, in spring 2012. The pair has since developed strategies to enhance Kelley’s existing language arts curriculum by introducing Apple iPads into her classroom. Hutchison noted that this tablet technology offers new accommodations – including access to graphics, audio, and video – that simultaneously demand "new literacies" of students who use them.
"I became interested in using digital technology because of the evidence that reading in digital environments requires different skills, strategies and dispositions than reading printed text. I believe we should be teaching students these new literacies in addition to traditional literacy skills," Hutchison said. "Students need to understand how to read and gain meaning from these kinds of texts, as well as how to effectively create them."
In this vein, Hutchison has begun evaluating the benefits and limitations of the iPad by comparing it against computers and yesteryear’s assortment of pencils and books. She aims to determine how iPads influence the quality and nature of literacy instruction, while also discerning how teachers decide to incorporate such tablets into their curriculum. According to Hutchison, early returns suggest that the intuitive nature of the iPad appeals to schools – and spells promise for its capacity to support literacy.
Kelley, meanwhile, said the experience has shown her that instruction need not go by the book.
"Working with Dr. Hutchison gave me the confidence I needed to utilize technology in my classroom," Kelley said. "The students loved being the pioneers, and I loved learning alongside them."
Amy Hutchison, associate professor, Iowa State University School of Education, 515-294-1952, email@example.com
Samantha Kelley, sixth grade language arts teacher, Gilbert Middle School, 515-232-0540 ext. 3110, firstname.lastname@example.org
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