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Published:January 3rd, 2007 10:15 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Professor Nancy Patterson

Judyth Piazza chats with Professor Nancy Patterson

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

I chair the read/language arts program in the College of Education at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I taught high school and middle school English for almost 30 years and earned a PhD in English at Michigan State while I was teaching full time. 

When I retired from public school teaching, I took a position at Grand Valley.  I became interested in the role that computer technology can play in the language arts classroom during my graduate work and am absolutely committed to helping teachers and students gain more access to meaningful technology integration.  It is not enough to simply supply a computer.  The tasks that students do on that computer must be challenging and meaningful.  Web publishing, on-line conversation, podcating, digital storytelling...All of these can challenge students to become better thinkers, better writers, better readers.  And when students are more engaged in meaningful classroom tasks, they learn more.  William Butler Yeats once said, "Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire."  Meaningful work done through computer technology can light that fire.

I use the word "meaningful" very deliberately here because we are seeing plenty of workbook like computer tasks.  These will not work any better than a workbook that can be opened on a desk.  Technology integration must be meaningful and challenging.  It must push students into creating something new, something they could not as easily do with paper and pencil.  It is more difficult to teach in this way, but it is also far more rewarding, both for teachers and students.
Nancy Patterson, PhD
Literacy Studies Program Chair
College of Education
Grand Valley State University
920 Eberhard Center
301 W. Fulton
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504
Nancy Patterson, PhDLiteracy Studies Program ChairCollege of EducationGrand Valley State University 920 Eberhard Center301 W. FultonGrand Rapids, Michigan 49504616-331-6226