DEC Scan Journal : February 2012
In this issue, Associate professor Alyson Simpson and Professor Maureen Walsh report on a small scale project that explored how digital technology has been integrated into the teaching of reading. Some interesting challenges arise for us to reflect on and inform our practice. Ideas can be considered in the context of supporting the National Year of Reading 2012. Seeking stability on a moving platform The challenge for school classrooms and libraries has been not when to respond to the digital revolution, but how to respond. When we speak of making connections between classrooms, we most commonly mean virtual connections to create networked learning opportunities. In schools where progressive moves have been made, students are familiar with multiple ways of seeking information, communicating new ideas and working collaboratively. Where these kinds of learning opportunities exist, we often see signs of what Linda Darling Hammond would call intellec- tual inquiry, hands-on projects and activity-based curriculum (Hammond, 2011, p. 3). Research to identify how wide these practices are is still in its early stages, so the impact of teaching reading in the digital environment is largely unknown. This paper reports on a small scale project that investigated the ways digital technology had been integrated into reading lessons. We know that the growth in embedding technology into the classroom has been fast paced. We also know that, as technol- ogy develops faster than we can keep up, the growth in appropriate professional development lags behind. Leu set the challenge in 2004 asking for data to direct future developments in education, and stating that access to technology was not the difficulty to solve, rather what we should consider more carefully is the thoughtful use of powerful new technologies for literacy (2004, p. 24). Based on their years of observing teachers working with technological change, the researchers knew, if 34 Research The impact of technology on reading practices for 21C learners Alyson Simpson is an Associate Professor in English Literacy Education at the University of Sydney. Maureen Walsh is Professor of Literacy Education at the Australian Catholic University, Strathfield Campus.