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Ministry of Education.
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Embedding literacy in technology

Cheryl Pym shares the benefits of providing strategies to understand words.

Duration: 01:51


Cheryl Pym: Embedding literacy in technology in the learning area is really important for students so that they can communicate what they know about what they’re doing. That means that teachers have to engage with literacy strategies and understanding what the literacy needs of their students are.

One example of that would be using specialist vocabulary. We know what the vocab is like in technology, what the specialist words are. So, for instance, when we’re developing conceptual statements, or a brief, or specifications, or talking about attributes, these are all specialist language words that need to be unpacked with our students so that they understand what they mean and how they’re going to use them in the context of their practice or articulating what they want to share with you, the teacher, for evidence of their achievement.

So only we know the best way of actually unpacking those words. Students experience a range of material in technology that they have to unpack themselves. When we look at the key competency of understanding language, symbols, and texts, that’s really embedded in technology because students look at flowcharts, they look at working drawings, they code web page, they might make some sample code and they’re reading from electronic or hard copy.

So there’s a range of different things that students engage with to be able to unpack that to make meaning of it. So if they don’t have the skills to both unpack, decode, and recode that, then they can’t actually talk about what they’re doing. We need to give them strategies to understand the words, but then also then reshape it into thinking where they can then write it down to communicate as evidence of their achievement.

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