Disclaimer: The HISD ELA/R department realizes that literacy and writing are seamless connected processes. The two are only separated to make it easier to navigate through the content.
Tips on how to integrate Technology into the Language Arts Classroom
By: Janice Christy, M.Ed.
It may seem to some that the primary
foci of English classrooms, communicating through reading and writing,
are not conducive to technology integration. In fact, just the opposite
is true. There are numerous ways English and language arts teachers can
integrate technology into classroom instruction. Teachers of language
arts and literature can use the Internet, digital media tools, and
common software applications to enhance student learning.
Technology can help you:
- Create visual aids for teaching
- Improve access to resources, such as online literature libraries
- Review and comment on student work more efficiently
- Integrate video clips into presentations
- Broaden choices for students to demonstrate learning
- Assign Digital Presentations—While
it is still important for students to master the research process, the
product of research is not limited to a printed research report.
Students can demonstrate their learning in a digital presentation. They
can create a Web site or use a hypermedia tool, such as Hyperstudio, to
create a stand-alone presentation. Require students to cite their
sources, as they would on any research project. It is also important to
teach them the importance of gaining permission to use copyrighted
material, such as images and music. If you have a class home page,
connect Web presentations to your site so others can experience it.
- Connect to Books Online—Historically,
supplemental reading materials were limited to the holdings on the
English bookroom shelf. Technology now provides access to thousands of
books online. Teachers are limited only by the students' ability to
access a computer. The Online Books Page offers more than 20,000 titles
in its free digital library.
- Use WebQuests—This
popular Web activity is well-suited to language arts and literature
exploration. A WebQuest is a detailed set of questions and tasks that
lead students to the Internet to research topics. They then complete a
task or set of tasks based on their research. The WebQuest can result in
a product as simple as a one-page document or as complex as a
multi-faceted project. For example, teachers have written WebQuests that
require students to explore themes presented in literature, to review
and analyze the bias in newspaper writing, or write pieces of historical
fiction. The form can be adapted easily to your purposes. Visit the WebQuest Portal to read more about it.
- Battle Plagiarism with the Internet—English
teachers battle plagiarism continuously. For years, the Internet made
it easier for students to access prepared research papers, and likewise,
more difficult for teachers to determine plagiarized work from original
material, but that has changed. Teachers can now have students submit
work electronically. For a fee, the teachers can subsequently submit all
student work to a Web-based service that will compare the paper to
thousands of existing resources. The service returns a report to the
teacher or school indicating whether the work contained plagiarized
material, and if so, the exact phrases and origin of those that were
- Streaming Media for On Demand Viewing—While
Web-based streaming video is available for individuals through a number
of sources, most educational institutions subscribe to a vendor that
provides access to thousands of audio and visual resources. While it may
be appropriate to occasionally show a film of literary merit in its
entirety, day-to-day instruction is often enhanced using a short video
clip. Streaming video provides quick and easy access to such clips.
Teachers can bookmark or provide links to the clips, and even integrate
them into online presentations. Additionally, in most cases, students
can access the video clips when and where they want, and as often as
- Grammar Instruction—Individualized
instruction is increasingly important. While written comments or
one-on-one conferences provide effective venues for individualization,
technology can provide another. In high school, the most effective
grammar instruction is individualized. Some students may have mastered a
concept, such as irregular verbs, while others are still trying to
understand a founding concept, such as verb tense. One way to
individualize instruction is by directing students to interactive Web
sites. Purdue University's Online Writing Lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ provides interactive grammar and writing instruction; it also provides ready-made downloads for teachers to print and use.
- PowerPoint™ Presentations—If
you have attended a conference lately, most likely the presenter used
PowerPoint™ to provide visual interest and guidance. The presentation
program can also be used to enhance instruction in the language arts
classroom. Consider the following tips.
- Store daily objectives in a PowerPoint™ presentation and begin each class session by sharing the daily objectives.
- Create PowerPoint™ presentations for
essential notes and provide students the slides using the "handout"
option. This will prevent students from focusing on simply copying the
notes from the board or overhead. Rather, they will listen to teacher
comments and make meaningful notes in the spaces provided. Limit the
amount of information on each slide to one or two important points.
- Encourage students to use PowerPoint™
presentations when they are required to present to the class. The
design options encourage self-expression and creativity. Instruct
students to limit the amount of information on each slide to one or two
This article was contributed by Janice Christy, M.Ed., English Department Chair, Louisa County High School, Louisa, Virginia.
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