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Literacy and technology in today’s schools

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Student literacy is among the top priorities of all schools and districts, and becomes a particular focus for many educators each September during National Literacy Month. Some 30% of respondents to a recent poll of SmartBrief on EdTech readers reported that special literacy events or projects are underway or are being integrated into the curriculum this month in their school or district.

There are of course many approaches to meeting literacy needs in schools, including the use of tech-based tools from blogs to e-readers. When asked about the use of technology as part of literacy instruction, a majority of respondents — 64.71% — said they believe tech is an important tool for this mission, while 26.47% see it as somewhat beneficial, and 8.82% say it is not important.

Focusing in one aspect of literacy — how students are being taught to understand and use technology resources — more than 97% of respondents say digital literacy is part of the curriculum for their students. Of those, a majority say digital literacy is taught across multiple subjects while a smaller number say it is taught as part of the technology curriculum.

Here’s a breakdown of the poll results:

September is National Literacy Month. How does your school or district plan to celebrate?

  • Events are being held — 10%
  • Projects are integrated into the curriculum — 7.5%
  • Events and projects are planned or are underway — 12.5%
  • No celebrations are planned — 70%

How much do you feel that technology benefits the teaching of literacy in today’s schools?

  • Technology is an important tool in literacy instruction — 64.71%
  • Technology is somewhat beneficial for literacy instruction — 26.47%
  • Technology is not important for the teaching of literacy — 8.82%

Which of the following best describes how digital literacy is incorporated into instruction in your school or district?

  • Instruction in digital literacy is included across the curriculum — 66.67%
  • Digital literacy is taught as part of broader technology courses — 30.56%
  • Courses are dedicated to the teaching of digital literacy — 2.78%

How is literacy being taught and supported in your school or district? Is technology part of the approach? How is digital literacy being incorporated?

Katharine Haber is an associate editor for SmartBrief, writing and editing content about a variety of topics in education.