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Mark Wingfield

Using Emerging Technologies to Enhance Literacy Education in an Urban Elementary Classroom

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Educational technology is currently expanding at an exponential rate. Chalkboards are being replaced with smart boards – school districts, with the resources, are introducing smart desks, and increasingly younger students are becoming proficient in the use of laptops and tablets. Unfortunately, classroom instruction is often lagging behind this fast growing field of digital media. This is often due to access problems, resource issues in urban and rural classrooms, and the occasional reticence on the part of some teachers and administrators. The purpose of this research is to determine how these emerging technologies can be used to enhance literacy instruction in an urban elementary classroom.

     Introducing digital applications into the curriculum allows another opportunity for students to deeply engage with the material. Specifically, it allows for new opportunities for teachers to differentiate for students that are struggling with more traditional print-based material. By providing students with visual, aural, and interactive experiences, digital applications give opportunities to students of all learning styles. Also, iPad phonics applications – such as Pocket Phonics – provide teachers with the ability to track student literacy progress in real time by storing relevant data. By combining this real time data with classroom assessments, teachers are provided with a more complete picture of the progress of their students. In addition to phonics instruction, open applications – such as Story Builder – uses writing prompts that engage students in enriching creative writing experiences that improve classroom approaches for emerging readers. Finally, these apps also give students the opportunity to explore and engage with the increasingly essential world of digital literacy.

In a 3rd grade urban classroom in Baltimore City, I will to work with students in a small group setting, implementing technologically-enhanced lessons that supplements their regularly assigned work. Using the data collected from the apps, along with regular classroom assessments, this research will monitor what effect these digitally enhanced sessions have on student performance. Prior to implementation, I will also build a simple website to share the creative work that students will develop using the application.  I will use the results of this study to inform an approach to teaching and literacy curriculum that applies digital integration decisions in an urban school district.

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