A guide for teachers looking to incorporate digital literacy, multimodal communication and the Common Core State Standards into their work.
Purdy and McClure (The New Digital Scholar, 2013) have collected essays by dozens of experienced educators that address Common Core implementation and the most effective ways to meet students’ needs by using digital forms of communication. The book focuses primarily on teaching the humanities, particularly reading and writing—or rather, information consumption and production. Several chapters stress the importance of incorporating standards across multiple formats, from print to digital text to video to infographics. The book is full of concrete methods that the authors have used in their own classrooms—such as Google Docs to write a collaborative poem, a geotagged map of neighborhood graffiti as part of a unit on Frankenstein, or an audiovisual “remix.” The chapters cite specific online tools, such as Weebly and Storify, but the emphasis is less on how to use particular tools than on the reasoning behind a particular educational strategy. Appendices include sample lesson plans and evaluation rubrics, and the book also includes links to a substantial amount of online material. The book’s primary audience is knowledgeable teachers in public schools, so readers without an education background may find some of the pedagogical theory a bit dense. However, each chapter focuses on implementing specific techniques and meeting clearly defined goals. Both supporters and opponents of Common Core will likely find value in this book; although it doesn’t address the standards’ broader controversies, it does acknowledge potential shortcomings that digital tools and digital literacy might address.
A thorough, convincing and useful exploration for modern educators.