The use of technology in the classroom is a fantastic source of motivation for students. They love to engage themselves in its use. So why not take full advantage of this towards the end of the year and set up some literacy-ICT activities where you know they will enjoy and you can watch and monitor this taking place.
Implementing such literacy-ICT activities at this time of the year also sets up the opportunity for you determine their attainment levels in ICT capability and literacy. As the literacy experts you are, there is not much to mention that you don’t already know. However, I can provide you with the expertise you need in order to assess students’ ICT capability today. First, here are a number of fun literacy-ICT activities which work in a number of technology-rich learning environments like yours.
This type of activity is best suited to a computer suite so it is a good idea that you have booked it in advance. For this activity, you give each student a one line story starter. The student is then asked to continue to the story and then after one minute, and you can use a timer for this, they move to the next computer and do the same. Everybody changes computers and continues the story in their own terms. This can be done throughout the entire lesson and will create a great buzz for reading and writing. Not to mention create a whole lot of text.
Building an interactive story together
The literacy objectives for this activity are to do with story writing (planning using setting, characters and structures). By drawing a simple outline of an island and scanning it into your computer, or even using a draw/paint program to do it, students can create a series of linked web pages using software as simple as MS Word or Dreamweaver (as it is based on MS Word). There would obviously be a few ICT objectives then to accompany this too. Students will need to have thinking time to come up with characters and learn how to link the pages to assemble the class story.
Information literacy is an essential part of their digital skills as student will need to continue to search for information online throughout most of their lives. A particular good activity to have with after you have taught them various key skills is to get them to search for specific types of information and get them to limit the results via the use of these techniques. You will need to be specific so that the focus is upon the search skills rather than end points.
Web page creation
In my literacy-ICT online course, I mention a number of ways to do this. Creating a web page is not a difficult task and it teaches them valuable literacy and digital skills. Software like MS Publisher and MS Word allow for easy creation these days. Some ideas could be to make a class web page, individual web page and even celebrity web pages featuring events, people in the class or the local community.
You will need to see if the students have their own email address and be sure to stress to the importance of email etiquette if you haven’t already. Extended writing extends itself to this sort of activity. Students can send a paragraph of a story to their partner, then reply to another section. Any collaborative writing task gains an added excitement if it is carried out by email. Be sure to set some ground rules for them in this project.
We can’t forget about desktop publishing when it comes to fun literacy activities. You can get them to create a class newsletter, brochures or what about posters? Digital images can be used meaning the additional use of digital cameras! Other ideas include making class anthologies, wall-display captions with text and pictures.
Making a video
Most classrooms today have access to some sort of tablet computer. Using a video in a literacy context is a fantastic way for you to help them develop 21st century skills. iPads is the tool of choice for most schools and so they can do things like create an animated soundtrack, sequence of events or even storytelling.
Along with video cameras, iPads and most other tablet computers comes with the ability to take digital still images. If your class runs short of available iPads, you could even use students’ smartphones as most of those come with cameras these days too. Some fun activities can include a photoplay where you take a section of a story you are reading and make it into a short play script, a photobook, a photo resource bank or even a set of instructions where photos are taken at each stage.
Photostories with MS PowerPoint
While you can also do poems and novels with multimedia programs like this, students tend to think less about them at times. A photostory is simple enough for them to take photos using a digital camera which is fun in itself and then then importing them into the computer to be added into their story. Other software you could also use for this would include MS Photostory! The name says it all…It allows you to add, edit and crop images for a creative literacy task.
This is similar to cumulative stories except you give a student a piece of paper with a story starter sentence on each one. Ask them to type it on one of the computers and carry on writing the story on their own.
Ask students to write a brief poem and to space out the lines by pressing ‘Return’ at the end of each one. Another student then comes and adds a line in between doing the same as the one before.
So there you have it. Some great literacy activities for students to do any time of the year. Either one would be ideal for end of year activities. How much work students need to put into it will be entirely up to you. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article you could also make the most of these opportunities to assess their ICT capability. Achieving this would be a great way to determine their attainment levels at the end of the year in order to pass on this information to their next teacher. That is though if they share the save perspective as you on teaching ICT capability.