Alamo Elementary School received an innovation award in 2015 to tackle their equity based design challenge: How might we increase digital literacy for our ELL and SpEd students so they are empowered to demonstrate their grasp of the material using technological resources? Below is a full description of the challenge they tackled, the process, solution, and impact they have had so far.
We are committed to bridging the achievement gap for all students who are most at risk at not meeting the academic challenges. We want to provide an alternative way using technology for our at risk students, i.e., our English language learners and special education students who are performing at ‘Emerging’ and ‘Approaching’ performance levels, to demonstrate their understanding and grasp of material. For example, to complete assignments or projects, students will use applications such as Google Docs to ensure equitable work by team members.
The Alamo community of teachers and students have initiated a successful process to integrate digital literacy in the CCSS: ELA and Math. We are using the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model for all to design and develop class and home assignments using GAFE including Google Classroom, and Google Tour Builder, Padlet, Wordle, and Coggle as productivity tools which will provide students a foundation, and further enhance their digital skills for 21st century learning. Evidence of work are prominently displayed on school bulletin boards to share ideas to inspire others to use technology to impact assignments and transform learning.
Through the design process, we created a program targeted at helping our greatest at-risk student population and also identified a need to strengthen our teachers’ 21st century skills.
Our design sets forth (3) levels of digital literacy knowledge/skills for both our students and teachers: “Egg” (Beginner), “Hatchling” (“Intermediate) and “Gator” (Advanced). Our digital literacy teacher collaborates with each classroom teacher on how to integrate technology into the current lesson.
Receiving the Innovation Grant kickstarted our school’s digital literacy program. Going through the design process in the fall enabled our site-budgeted .5 Technology Teacher to hit the ground running, i.e. begin immediate implementation in January instead of just starting the discussion with Staff. As a result, students have an increased comfort level working with computers.