PreK-3 Learning 2.0:The Central Front of Literacy, 21st Century Skills, and Web 2.0

(Especially in Urban Schools)?

Session Facilitator(s): Edwin Wargo
Affiliation: Bridgeton Public Schools/Quarter Mile Lane Elementary

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Essential Questions:

  • Is PreK-3 Learning the Central Front of Literacy, 21st Century Skills, and Web 2.0 especially in urban schools?
  • Do most of our educational technology conversations miss the PreK-3 group?
  • Do we unintentionally focus too much on certain demographics when talking about web 2.0 and 21st century skills?
  • Is the PreK-3 age group where the digital divide is most impacted?
  • What is literacy’s role in technology?
  • What is technology’s role in literacy?
  • What is literacy in the PreK-3 level in the 21st century?
  • Is a home environment rich in technology akin to a home rich in language and conversation? What strategies can be used to ensure “content” and technology understanding?

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Our Texts:
This American Life-Harlem Renaissance Project (audio) (first 17 minutes are especially powerful)

Chris Lehmann's Sustainability Post
Alice Mercer's Poverty Post (blog)
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VoiceThreads of 2nd Grade Reading Fluency



Literacy's Hurdle (some statistics and research)
From Disrupting Class (Christenson, C., Horn, M. & Johnson, C. (2008). //Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns//.New York: McGraw-Hill:

  • This particular strand of research is teaching us that a significant portion of a person's intellectual capacity is determined in his or her first 36 months.
  • Average words spoken to infant children: 1500. Talkative, college-education parents: 2100 words. Welfare families: 600 words.
  • 48 million words heard by a 36 month old in a college-educated family; 13 million words in a welfare family.
  • Business Conversation (directions/statements) versus Language Dancing (what if's and adult, sophisticated language).
  • Level of income, ethniticity, and level of parents' education had no explanatory power in determining the level of cognitive capacity that the children achieved.





The Building Blocks

Here and Now - Our Experiences

Strategies for Moving Forward



The Matthew Effect



The balancing act of technology's ubiquity in a PreK-3 environment can be challenging especially in urban schools. In upper grades, technology can be more transparent as fundamental literacy skills sharpen. But in the lower grades where students are still working on learning site words, blends, and letters, technology can be a huge stumbling block to learning. Finding the words "play", "edit", "record", or "ok" in even the easiest to use web 2.0 tools can itself become the lesson. The content (subject area) understanding of that lesson can be obscured. Add a slow computer or a sluggish internet connection and content can become easily secondary leaving little time for it. This conversation will use Clayton Christensen’s Disrupting Class, This American’s Life Going Big story on the Harlem Children’s Zone, Chris Lehmann’s blog post Sunday Morning Thoughts--Sustainability, and attendees’ perspectives and experiences as the primary texts. Some questions that will frame our conversation are: Do most of our educational technology conversations miss the PreK-3 group? Do we unintentionally focus too much on certain demographics when talking about web 2.0 and 21st century skills? Is the PreK-3 age group where the digital divide is most impacted? What is literacy’s role in technology? What is technology’s role in literacy? What is literacy in the PreK-3 level in the 21st century? Is a home environment rich in technology akin to a home rich in language and conversation? What strategies can be used to ensure “content” and technology understanding?

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