What I didn’t know until I came upon Ben Rimes’s blog (http://www.techsavvyed.net/archives/2928) was how ‘March is Reading month’ was being celebrated in schools across the US. ‘ Read around the Planet’ is one such program that is part of this great celebration. Who would have thought, even as recently as five years back, about the importance of technology in classrooms. When I hear the word technology I think of Silicon Valley, definitely not a classroom. But times have changed and technology has now become an essential element in the elementary classroom.
What makes this program,’Read around the Planet’ so interesting is that it connects students from not just schools across North America but also Europe. Students get to share their love of literacy via video conferences across the world with other students. And all this at elementary level!
I think this is an absolutely brilliant idea to incorporate in the classroom. Not only does it involve technology, it also gets the students excited about using this technology to connect with their peers across the globe. It allows students to share their love of reading, writing with other students from other schools. This medium not only encourages the technology being used, it also serves as a social platform for students to interact. Students will learn the etiquette needed in conducting an online ( F2F or virtual) meeting. They will know how and when to ask questions. Students will learn about different cultures and habits via this medium.
Instead of having just an individual reading log in the class, sharing a log with another class in a different part of the world would be a great tool to promote literacy in your own classroom. Maybe starting on a smaller scale like participating in the ‘Read across America’ program might be a possible idea. It still involves the use of technology, via video conferences, and also enables student interaction with peers.