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09/13/2016

From Pencils to Podcasts: COE Professor Promotes Technology in Literacy

Quick Facts

 Lindsay Yearta and Katie Stover got the idea after a reading project with students and pre-service teachers.
 "From Pencils to Podcasts" is available on Amazon for $34.95.

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ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — Lindsay Yearta and Katie Stover had just presented their work on how technology can enhance literary practices at the International Literary Association conference when a publisher approached them. Would they like to publish a book on how digital tools can enhance best practices in the literacy field?

The answer, of course, was yes. “From Pencils to Podcasts: Digital Tools for Transforming K-6 Literary Practices” hit stores this August.

“We are both former classroom teachers, and we realize how little time teachers have in the school day,” said Yearta, an assistant professor in Winthrop University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education. “We wanted to provide a text that would highlight how to use digital tools seamlessly and in meaningful ways so that technology wasn't just ‘one more thing’ teachers had to fit into the few short hours that they have students.”

A few years ago, Yearta and Stover, an assistant professor at Furman University, had elementary students and pre-service teachers blog online to discuss “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park. Through the project, they saw how technology—the blog—allowed teachers to have meaningful conversations with students and each other.

This project became the spark for “From Pencils to Podcasts.” In the book, they offer tips and tools for teachers, such as the idea of “reading histories.” Yearta said it’s important to participate in self-reflection about reading experiences.

“This helps students to shape their reading identities,” she said. “Who we are as readers is closely tied to motivation and engagement. When teachers have access to this information, when they know who their students are as readers, they can better plan instruction to meet each student's needs.”

“Reading histories” are typically done with pencil and paper, but Yearta and Stover propose this digital tool: ReadWriteThink’s digital timeline. In the infinite space, students can not only type their thoughts but can integrate pictures and graphics and easily share it with others. For example, Yearta said this timeline could be used in history to record World War II events, or in science to categorize the stages of a plant.

It’s just one of many suggestions included in their book. “From Pencils to Podcasts” is available on Amazon for $34.95.

For more information on their work, contact Lindsay Yearta at yeartal@winthrop.edu or 803/323-3089.

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