Radical Change

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.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Radical Change

  1. Hannah, I enjoyed what you said about the fact that graphic novels are a good example of a genre that is in-line with the kinds of changes brought about by technology. I had the opportunity to teach Stitches to a group of seniors and working with images is a wonderful way to engage the students, particularly on an emotional level. Some of my favorite panels in the graphic novels are the ones that do not include any text at all. Your ALP sounds fantastic – there is so much potential with photojournalism and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to hear about it in Second Life on the 29th.

  2. I really enjoyed your summing up point about graphic novels. Having read and studied graphic novels in an educational setting, I approached the assignment with a different mindset than you, but I love that you were able to get so much out of it as well. Finding ways to teach new literacies is such a valuable tool, and when that opportunity presents itself, there is no reason why we should not jump on it.

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