A topic I'm always interested in and am examining during my research fellowship at the IOCT and through pedagogical work on multimodal story Inanimate Alice. With this in mind, the recent article by James Paul Gee and Michael H. Levine on "Innovation Strategies for Learning in a Global Age" seems particularly relevant.
As Katie Ash notes, the article by Gee and Levine "using new, innovative technology can help students who are struggling with language to increase their vocabulary and form associations between what they're learning with the real world." Also, being au fait with 21st century technology means that the digital divide is closing and students won't be left out of the "global economy."
Some key points:
- According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, most low-income children in this country [U.S.A.] are below grade level in reading by 4th grade [known as the fourth-grade slump]
- What gives students a good head start toward comprehension is a wide-ranging, sturdy vocabulary of complex words in the early years, before the age of 5
- Video games, simulations, modeling tools, hand-held devices, and media production tools can allow students to see how complex language and other symbol systems attach to the world
- Mastery of digital media for the production of knowledge constitutes a new family of “digital literacies,” since such media, like print before them, are tools for the production of meaning
- Digital media offer other advantages. They naturally elicit problem-solving behavior and attitudes in students, and have the potential to create different modes of assessment
- [Digital media] can also be used to track how learners learn, moment by moment, allowing constant feedback based on our knowledge of various trajectories of learning.