Areas of literacy and a selection of activities
 

The board facilitates beginning reading instruction

This technology has much potential for early literacy instruction. For me it became an extension of my right arm, in that I was able to point at, rearrange, and re-create text quickly, while still maintaining good eye contact and communication with my students.

This connection with students maintained their involvement in the lessons. The digital whiteboard let me prepare and present literacy lessons in a manner that allowed for easy navigation to lesson components. The board allowed use of multiple senses, leading to increased levels of engagement and greater understanding. Color and visual display drew attention to concepts about text and conventions of print.

These advantages, as well as the ability to manipulate text, were all important considerations for me for use of the digital whiteboard. While all of these factors greatly influenced my enthusiasm for use of this technological tool, as a teacher of young children I continue to be cognizant of the need to vary activities, use authentic reading and writing materials and experiences, and incorporate movement and change of location. Play, art, music, and movement were necessary components of the new technology. In other words, while the board served as an extremely useful tool for literacy and language instruction, the developmental levels and thus the developmental needs of young children must be kept in mind.

In the future I will work to increase student engagement during literacy lessons through use of the board in small-group settings where students may more frequently respond to text through manipulation of it. It’s important to keep the focus on literacy and language learning, and not on the tool. My goal is to model this through my attitude, words, and actions.

The process of learning to read is truly complex. As educators we continue to learn more about this process and to seek ways to help young children become successful readers and writers. Incorporating the digital whiteboard in our practice as a tool to teach early literacy skills may help us reach young children in many positive and powerful ways. The students’ involvement with and demonstration of skills when the digital whiteboard is used may prompt continued use and research of this tool. As we persist in learning more about the reading process and effective instructional practices, this tool may assist young learners as they become excited and ever more proficient readers and writers.