Students at Sunnybrae Normal School in Auckland improved their literacy skills, and explored connections between oral, written, and visual language by creating digital texts.
"In our school, we regularly inquire into the way higher order learning, enabled by digital technologies, meets learners’ needs."
After completing a series of oral language activities, the students drafted simple written narratives. They drew pictures to go with the stories using Kid Pix , a bitmap drawing programme for children. They then discussed as a class how visual images can enhance written text. The students exported drawings from Kid Pix and saved them as JPEG files (JPEGs can be published with the written text using any publishing software).
Following this, the students used Keynote , a presentation application from Apple iWork, to present their stories and images together. Keynote's features include built-in templates, a voice recorder that records a presentation and synchronises it to slides, and a wide range of video formats to export the presentation.
Digital and hard copies of the stories were created for students to read and share.
Students read their published text as part of the daily routine for independent reading. They listened to each other read and provided feedback. Students were able to read with fluency and expression as they became more familiar with the text.
The students used a flip video camera to film each other reading their written text out loud. A printed copy of the written text was displayed on the front of the flip camera as a prompt. The student in charge of the video camera was familiar with their buddy’s written text, and knew when to stop recording at the completion of each section of the text.
They then inserted the completed recording and the illustrations into a Keynote slide.
The Keynote file was exported as a full quality QuickTime movie and shared on the classroom computers while copies of the students’ recordings were shared on the classroom blog .
Through this process the students had the opportunity to explore how text can be enhanced with visual images, and how their own texts can be published in new ways through the use of technology. By publishing their work orally, students became increasingly aware of how to write texts that would interest the reader, and how to read their texts with increased fluency and expression. Students also became more aware of identifying how text was constructed, and developed an understanding of some of the key language features that enhance text.