Elementary Classroom Websites Support Children's Literacy Term Paper

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¶ … Elementary Classroom Websites Support Children's Literacy: a Review of the Relevant Literature

Any teacher or parent can readily testify that anything that engages a young learner's interest in reading can help contribute to literacy acquisition, but clearly some approaches are better suited for some children than others. Because the Internet offers such an enormous array of educational resources today, it just makes good sense to use these technologies to help promote literacy in the elementary school classroom as well. Moreover, many young learners come to the elementary classroom today equipped with valuable computer skills that can be readily applied to new and exciting learning activities in school and at home. When these same skills are applied to developing and maintaining a Web site of their own, though, the entire process becomes even more engaging and pupils can use these resources in a number of ways to help improve their language acquisition and usage and these issues are discussed further below.

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Term Paper on Elementary Classroom Websites Support Children's Literacy: A Assignment

Because resources are by definition scarce, it is vitally important for educators in America's classrooms to squeeze every bit of value out of the money that is allocated to them for providing high quality educational services. In this regard, the trend is clear and educators across the country have embraced the increased use of technology in classrooms at all levels for this purpose. According to Smith and Smith (2002), "The tremendous growth of the World Wide Web (Web) has created rich instructional environments for all teachers to address the learning needs of diverse learners. Easy access and immediate applications to classroom instruction allow for an instructional tool unique in access as well as use" (p. 304). These attributes have not been lost on educators or policymakers either. In fact, as Brown and Warschauer (2006) point out, "Improved integration of technology in K-12 instruction has become a national imperative in the United States. Numerous state and federal governmental bodies have adopted legislation supporting the use of computers and the Internet as a tool to improve academic achievement" (p. 599). Moreover, today, many American elementary school classrooms are already equipped with the computer hardware and software pupils would need to develop and maintain a professional appearing Web site that could be used in an infinite number of ways to support literacy among these young learners, and these issues are discussed further below.

Elementary Classroom Resources Online.

In order to develop and maintain a meaningful Web site, most young people will need at least some guidance from their teacher as well as useful and proven educational activities to incorporate. Unfortunately, Brown and Warschauer note that one of the major constraints involved in introducing new technologies in the elementary classroom is the teacher's lack of expertise. Fortunately, there are a number of easy solutions for even teachers who are novices online that make the entire process straightforward and intuitive rather than intimidating. Besides the easy "how-to" directions provided by Web hosts, everything else needed is just a matter of individual choice as to what to include in an elementary classroom Web site. For this purpose, Urquhart and McIver (2005) report that there are a growing number of Web sites devoted to elementary school literacy activities. As these authors emphasize, "The Internet has a variety of sites for publishing student work that explain requirements for publishing at that site and have sample papers posted. Students can also use desktop publishing programs to design, write, and publish a school publication" (p. 51). A representative sampling of some of the best Web sites for elementary classroom resources is provided in Table 1 below.

Table 1.

-rated Web sites for pre-K through Grade 8.

Title/URL

Description

Enchanted Learning Software (http://www.enchantedlearning.com)

Many resources for the elementary classroom, including printable books and other resources on topics such as foreign languages, diversity, science, and mathematics.

A abcteach (http://www.abcteach.com)

More than 5,000 reproducible pages and worksheets organized by subject area; formats for reports, awards, portfolios, flashcards, thematic units, and games.

Education Place (Houghton Mifflin) (http://www.eduplace.com)

Online support for reading series; online leveled books; forms for downloadable graphic organizers; classroom games for practice in various subject areas for pre-K to Grade 8.

The Educator's Reference Desk (http://www.eduref.org)

Lesson plans by subject for pre-K to Grade 12; links to national education standards by subject area; information on special education, including Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004; information on vocational, adult, and higher education.

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