Experiencing the Five Functions of the New Literacies

After deciding that my classroom activity would be Internet Workshop, I needed to decide what the exact focus of the lesson would be. I knew from the start that it would be a topic discussed during my weather unit, and after some thinking I decided upon global warming. I chose this to be the topic for my Internet Workshop because knowing that it is an area that is broad and very prevalent today, I knew that the Internet would have an ample number of sources and websites that could be used.

My next step was to locate the websites I would like my students to visit. I decided that I wanted to narrow the general topic of global warming down even further, and decided upon the subject of carbon footprinting and ways to reduce carbon emissions in our everyday lives. I thought back to the search engines we read about on the Reading the Web website and I tried several of those, including Yahooligans and KidsClick! I had the most success when I searched using Google. I also found it helpful to use the search technique of putting the words you want in quotation marks so that it searches for those words as a whole phrase.

My next step was to visit and evaluate the search results that came up. While visiting each website I was evaluating it based upon reading level of the text, content and relevance of the text, and who wrote and produced the information on the website. From here I will continue working with the websites I found to create my Internet Workshop activity.

I have done many Internet searches before, but I think this was the first I went through the process of finding information on the Internet while being aware of the five functions of the new literacies. It definitely was a different experience to complete the search process while thinking about how and what I was thinking while searching. I think once we are comfortable with the five functions we do them naturally and without thinking.

6 thoughts on “Experiencing the Five Functions of the New Literacies

  1. I agree that while searching for websites that this is the first time that I had new literacies in mind. I was also thinking how will these websites help my students? I liked the point you made about looking for websites within the students reading level. I also was looking for age appropriate sites for my lesson and it is important that the students are able to comprehend the material.

  2. I absolutely agree that I am so much more conscientious when searching sites now and I always have the five functions in the back of my head. I am always asking myself questions now to make sure I am not at a hoax site. It really does make a huge difference with the different search engines you use.
    It sounds like you have a great start to you unit – great job!

  3. I think it’s great that you have new literacies in mind when you are selecting a site for the students in your class to use. You brought up an important point – checking for reading levels. I have made the mistake before of being distracted by the amount of information provided for my students that I overlooked if everyone would undertstand the site. Like you, I am now being more cautious.

  4. The Internet Workshop is a great project for introducing new literacies in the classroom. It is not an overwhelming project for students just starting out using the Internet in the classroom. Often, an Internet Workshop might only use only one website. As long as this website is rich in information and answers the questions you give them on an accompanying worksheet.

  5. Have you used any of the worksheets from Reading the Web? I emailed for reproducibles and it took a few days, but they did send me links. I modified them a little to use with my students, but they were a good place to start.

  6. Excellent blog and great reflective practice. You are being metacognitive on the search process and the five functions of new literacies while reading online. Good for you, Sarah!

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