In terms of the literacy instruction and classroom design, literature circles are a way for students to share reading experiences.
Integrating the internet into the classroom can extend the literature circle by providing a worldwide audience for sharing, along with resources for better understanding the literature and using the technology tools to assist students in accessing, organizing, analyzing, and communicating their approaches to essential questions (Lamb & Smith 1999).
Teachers can integrate technology into the literature circle along any of three facets:
The range for communication goes from members participating in person in class, to a student who participates though telecommunications perhaps as a hospital/homebound student, to interactions through telecommunications between the in person class and different classes or grade levels, to a distance learning situation, where all the students communicate through telecommunications. The text material used for the literature circle can range from paper based text, to paper text with digital enhancements or versions, to fully digital text, such as eBooks. For the activities students can participate with just the paper and pencils that they have to integrating activities that use technology such as search engines, paint programs, concept mapping software or web sites, digital recording, and chat software. These technology activities can range from having no technology activities, to using just a few activities, such as for a one computer classroom where students would need to take turns, to having all activities integrate technology where students have one-to-one computer access.
Using this technology enhanced literature circle approach students working in groups have experiences in all six Technology Foundation Standards for Students from the ISTE NETS:
The following are examples of the software (common or free) appropriate for student use with the different technology integrated roles:
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