The poem “Skeleton Sky” seemed to me to be an authentic way for writers, and readers, to adapt to our changing world that is driven by technology. Often, I worry that in too many classrooms, technology is used simply for the sake of addressing the tech-based objectives with little attention payed to its real instructional value. In other words, technology should not only be used as an add-on to the existing curriculum, but it should, in some way, lead to an evolution of the way we teach ELA. The poem’s construction mirrored the kind of discovery we now engage in through hypertext, so each reader comes away with a different poem, based on the links they clicked. The poem itself is responding and adapting to the way we use technology, not merely using technology as an extra feature.
“Skeleton Sky” was a great example of the Radical Change that Dresang is talking about in her article. I have had few first-hand experiences with the kinds of texts she describes, but I can certainly see their value in the curriculum. Like “Skeleton Sky,” books that a characterized by Radical Change are fundamentally different because of technology. For example, mystery books can contain phone numbers and websites to engage in to discover clues. New types of texts like this, I think, teach ways to interact with technology. By using texts like this in the classroom, we can teach digital literacy in context in an authentic way.
To be honest, I’ve never read a graphic novel. Well, now I have, but in all my years of English class and being an avid reader on my own, I’ve never picked up a graphic novel. This week, I read Stitches, and my eyes were opened to a whole new world of ways to engage young readers with Radical Change. Graphic novels, by nature, engage readers in a way that is responsive to our changing technology. They seamlessly integrate text with images, which is one thing that characterizes our digital age. Not only can they be used, as Angela Trythall suggests, as a way to get reluctant readers excited about texts, but they can also help to teach new literacies. As I plan on looking at in my own ALP, it is our responsibility as ELA teachers to give our students access to the multiple literacies that are needed in our image-driven and technology-based culture. Graphic novels are one great way to do that. Bookhenge.