When used wisely, technology can help teachers integrate the multiple components of a language arts lesson, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking. In addition, the creative use of technology fosters interactive learning by helping students remain engaged in the learning process.
Software is a simple technology that teachers can easily integrate into the classroom. Word-processing programs can be used for each stage of the writing process. The outlining and shapes features that are a part of many word-processing programs can be used for prewriting, and word processing can be used for drafting, editing, revising, and publishing. When using word processing within the context of the writing process, and in conjunction with grammar instruction, teachers are also able to help students understand why one cannot simply rely on word-processing spell-check and grammar-check features to catch all errors. Presentation software can be used for speaking assignments or as a means of publishing a piece of writing. For example, after students have written a how-to article, they can create a presentation, using a photo or an image to illustrate each step of their how-to process. Additionally, appropriate games can be used to reinforce grammar concepts and to provide students with more practice.
In a Web 2.0 world where students are not just consuming content but are helping create it, the Internet can also be a useful teaching tool. Online dictionaries and thesauruses, especially those with audible word pronunciations, can help students during the writing process. Web sites can also be used to expose students to various forms of literature and to provide examples of good writing. When teaching a unit on formal letters, for example, teachers may wish to use the letters to the editor section from an online newspaper. Classroom blogs can be used as another way for students to publish their work.
For almost seven decades, Voyages in English has helped students become articulate, intelligent communicators. Mindful of a 21st century culture while remaining committed to the rigor of the original Voyages in English, the most recent 2011 edition offers teachers in grades 3–8 the perfect blend of technology and text. Voyages in English includes technology tips and teaching options that give concrete ideas teachers can use to integrate technology into the classroom in a way that effectively reinforces concepts being taught. Examples include directing students to read a piece of writing online or using an online thesaurus to find strong verbs and colorful adjectives.
The use of technology in the language arts classroom can help tie together a lesson, foster student engagement in learning, and help students develop skills for using technology safely and appropriately.