Two More SITE Sessions: Digital Photography and Social Networking

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: The Use of Digital Photography to Enhance Literacy Development in Young Children
Lauren Cummins, Regina Rees, and Kelly Bacroft, Youngstown State University

  • What do we know about literacy development?
    • Young children are natural storytellers, and they “write” stories through pictures
    • Children use pictures to help them remember about their story and be able to tell their story in more vivid language
    • Students write more when they are motivated
  • What do we know about digital imagery?
    • Images provide a motivating “hook” for students to get into writing
    • Photography lets children speak with pictures
    • Visual “think alouds” can helps students support the writing process
    • Learn content
  • Will the use of digital imagery to write a story increase a child’s amount of words produced and effective use of story elements?
    • Five day workshop, 1.5 hours per day
    • Urban elementary school
    • Thirteen third graders
  • Workshop outline
    • Day 1: Elements of an effective story
    • Day 2: Learning to use the cameras
    • Day 3: Choose images and storyboard
    • Day 4: Creating final story
    • Day 5: Story celebration
  • Results
    • Pre-writing sample from same prompt as compared to post showed increase in many students’ scores
      • For instance, 42 words in original story up to 107 in sample story shared here
      • Lowest increase was at least 67% and an average of 233%
    • Reflections:
      • Children tended to focus on telling about the pictures and needed more experience in storytelling with the pictures
      • Storyboards helped with the story elements
      • Most of the children took pictures of their families and this changed the story prompt for some
  • Implications
    • Children can improve their literacy skills through the use of digital imagery
    • This is especially true for urban children
    • Writing prompts need to be related to children’s read world experiences
    • Students are interested and motivated

Social Networking in PreK-6: What Are Webkinz, Club Penguin, and Other Online Communities All About?
Nancy Yost, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

  • Social networks
    • Profiles
    • Network
    • Photos
    • Videos
    • Personal Journals
    • Connecting with families and friends
  • 8.2 million 3-17 year olds were expected to visit virtual worlds in a month (eMarketer research group)
    • Where are young children going?
    • Why should we be interested? For instance, 10 million Peguin Club members.
    • They give kids a context for using social networking and instant messaging
    • Maybe we need to look at how these sites are used and figure out what’s there and how, perhaps, they can support ISTE standards and classroom connections
  • Content Analysis for Social Networking
    • Access
    • Parental Controal
    • Safety information
    • Ages for which the site is designed
    • Types of interactions allowed
    • ISTE standards addressed
    • Content standards adressed
    • User friendly?
  • Webkinz
    • Purchase a stuffed animal and get access code (then you get a one-year subscription to the website) and get to look at all the merchandise you can get virtually and for your stuffed figure
    • Parental controls to keep informed, page on safety information
    • Club house that has structured chat and they tried to have an open chat, but they closed it
    • Academic/content games in the Webkinz world
  • ISTE Standards
    • 1: Creativity and Innovation
    • 4: Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision Making
    • 5: Digital Citizenship
  • What’s next
    • Overview of all sites, with recommendations for educational uses
    • What opportunities might we be missing by not using social networking sites in our classrooms?

Author: Troy Hicks

Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree program. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Hicks has authored numerous books, articles, chapters, blog posts, and other resources broadly related to the teaching of literacy in our digital age. Follow him on Twitter: @hickstro

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