One of the greatest challenges associated with developing students' literacy capabilities is keeping up to date with today's ever-changing Internet communication technologies. For instance, while many of us were busy helping our students to master e-mail and web site construction, diverse telecommunication software like MSN chat (www.messenger .msn.com) and Skype (www.skype.com/) was being introduced and eagerly embraced by large numbers of students around the globe (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2006).
SHOULD WE KEEP STUDENTS CURRENT?
Such change begs the question, Should we try to keep our students up to date with these changes in literacy technologies, and, if so, how? This question has been the focus of a great deal of literacy research, theory, and debate exploring the impact of communication technologies on self and society (e.g., Anstey & Bull, 2006; Forum Barcelona, 2004; Kamil, Intrator, & Kim, 2000; Leu, 2000; New London Group, 1996). Tapscott (1998), Doiron and Asselin (2004), and McPherson (2005) suggest (a) that educators expand their notion of literacy to embrace evolving communication forms that include--but move beyond--just reading and writing and (b) that educators assist their students to develop critical literacy capabilities across a wide set of real-life communication contexts and technologies. They also warn that if we do not, we risk leaving our children at the mercy of less scrupulous players (e.g., advertisers, corporations) using the Internet to communicate their own agenda.
FREE LITERACY WEB SITES
This column introduces five free and relatively new online literacy sites that teacher-librarians can use to assist teachers to further develop their school's literacy objectives.
Gliffy (gliffy.com) is a free online drag-and-drop diagram editor that allows K-12 users to quickly and easily create, edit, and share a variety of visuals (see Figure 1). I have seen students and teachers using Gliffy to create simple and complex maps, flow charts, tables, timelines, illustrations, graphs, and figures. Five strengths …