Beyond word processing technology in the english classroom
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Beyond Word Processing – Technology in the English Classroom. Freyja Bergthorson Loudoun County Public Schools In this session…. Where I’m from… background information. Brief discussion & video presentation of 21 st Century Literacy

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Beyond Word Processing – Technology in the English Classroom

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Beyond Word Processing – Technology in the English Classroom

Freyja Bergthorson

Loudoun County Public Schools

In this session…

Where I’m from… background information

Brief discussion & video presentation of 21st Century Literacy

What’s a WikiGoogle Docs

Examples of classroom applications & student work

Assignment #1 – set the stage analyze & connect

PSA – analyze & create


Drink & Drive

Darth Vader

Digital essays (My Friends / Brain Surgery)

Student choice (451 hand/trailer/song)

Traditional Literary assignments, with a modern twist – “The Bells”

On a piece of paper, jot down an answer to the following question –

What did it mean to be literate when you graduated from high school?

Now answer this one…

What does ‘to be literate’ mean for students for students who will graduate from high school in the 21st Century?

  • The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies

  • Adopted by the NCTE Executive Committee, February 15, 2008

  • Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. As society and technology change, so does literacy. Because technology has increased the

  • intensity and complexity of literate environments, the twenty-first century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, many literacies. These literacies—from reading online newspapers to participating in virtual classrooms—are multiple, dynamic, and malleable. As in the past, they are inextricably linked with particular histories, life possibilities and social trajectories of individuals and groups.

  • Twenty-first century readers and writers need to

  • Develop proficiency with the tools of technology

  • Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and

    • cross-culturally

  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes

  • Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information

  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts

  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments

The Changing Face of Information – Who is in control? (Blogs / Wikis…)

Digital Natives are constantly exposed to messages

If anyone can create & publish material for anyone to see, the ability to read critically is more important than ever & involves the analysis and interpretation of more than just text.

Who are these Digital Natives?

How can we engage them in the English classroom?

Digital Natives

While we teach whatever we teach at school, the kids go home and learn the skills they need to survive and prosper in an interconnected global economy.

Clarence Fisher

Digital Natives Need…

  • to create using technologies they view as relevant / real world

  • choices that respect their learning styles & interests

  • to create individually and in collaboration with others

  • to tell their own stories

  • access to high quality information & the ability to critically evaluate information

  • guidance / rubrics / high expectations

Critical Reading

  • Thinking critically about information involves more than just reading text.

  • Video can be used to engage students in the same thinking skills they need to practice to improve reading.

  • Skills can be transferred to ‘traditional’ reading assignments.

Ordinary People


  • Take a ‘traditional essay’ in a new directions

  • Creates a product that showcases student interests and talents

  • Provides opportunities for practicing composition & communication skills

  • Engages even reluctant students in the writing

  • process

  • End up on thumb-drives, not trash bins

Brain Surgery

When I was two years old, my parents discovered that I had a brain problem, but they didn’t know that the problem was seizures until the second grade, when they took me to see a doctor. The seizures worsened due to the flipping that occurred in some of the exercises.

  • I had to remain in the hospital for a total of nine weeks. During those nine weeks, I had three surgeries. The first was to locate the problem, the second was to remove the problem, and the third was to remove an infection I had obtained in the second surgery.


After the surgeries there was a long healing phase I had to make it through. I had to wear a large bandage and a unique helmet at all times. I also could not participate in any physical activities. Even after all that, I haven’t had a seizure in over four years.


  • The reason these surgeries had to be done even though they were life threatening was because, if I didn’t have these surgeries, I would never be able to drive a car, ride a bicycle, play sports, or even do daily activities without risking injury to myself or others. So I am very thankful I survived and am here today.

My friends

My Friends

My friends mean the world to me. Without friends I wouldn’t be the same. I have a lot of friends but these are some of my closest. There’s Bailey in the upper left, Jenny in the upper right, and Leanna on the bottom.


First there’s Bailey! She is my best friend ever. She has always been there for me through the good times and the bad times. Not only is she my best friend but she is also my neighbor. She lives right down the street from me. Since we live so close we do so many activities together. We go to guitar together, we hang outside all the time and listen to loud music to annoy our very annoying neighbors.


Bailey’s personality is very easy to sum up. She’s wild and crazy happy and has the best sense of humor. Her three loves in life are food, music (as in AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, and Led Zeppelin) and her favorite guinea pig named Pig.



Next is my other best friend Leanna! I have been friends with Leanna since 5th grade. She is a great person to laugh with and always has something to say. You can talk to her about anything and she will always listen.

Leanna like to laugh and just have a good time. She is a little more quiet in school but out side of school she is wild and crazy. Leanna is very athletic and like soccer and basketball the best. Playing kickball outside with Leanna and her neighbors is so much fun.

To sum it up Leanna is just, Leanna!



I have known Jenny since we were 4 years old. Ever since I have known her we have been eating candy. Jenny lives near me so we can hang out a lot.

Jenny is a very nice person with a great personality. Some of Jenny’s favorite activities are to talk on her phone, and sing (she is a good singer by the way!) Jenny likes her dog buddy too. It is the dog she always wanted.

In conclusion


My friends are all very special to me and make me laugh non stop.

With out their funny personalities and great sense of humor I don’t know what I would do.

Now as you can see this is what makes my friends my friends.

The End

Interpreting Media Messages – Public Service Announcements

Students must be able to interpret and evaluate media messages –

Analyzing and creating Public Service Announcements

Persuasive Writing - PSA


Don’t Drink & Drive

Don’t Bully



Beyond Book Reports

Movie Trailers – selective information, relevant medium

Responsible use of social networking – a basic life skill!

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