Today we begin our series of articles featuring the innovative projects coordinated by Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of the International Reading Association. In this debut feature, we highlight the Technology in Literacy Education SIG (TILE-SIG) who has been contributing weekly articles to Reading Today
Online for the past few months. President Julie Coiro shares what makes the SIG unique and fun. 1. Are you especially proud of any of your SIG's projects?
One SIG project I am especially proud of is our efforts to more actively involve conference attendees in our TILE-SIG annual session. Beginning in 2010, we decided to combine our regular large group presentation offering with more interactive small group roundtable sessions. We’ve gotten positive feedback from our members about this format as it enables attendees to enjoy a 40-minute formal presentation made by the winner of our annual Computers in Reading Research Award and then meet in several small group 30-minute breakout sessions to talk more intimately with researchers and other teachers wanting to share their ideas about how technology can be used to improve the quality of reading instruction. At the 2012 IRA convention
, we will host Renee Hobbs, our 2011 research award winner, and 18 different roundtable sessions, in three groups of six breakouts each.
A second TILE-SIG project that I am proud of speaks to the amazing amount of expertise that lies within our membership. Our newsletter now boasts regular columns such as Voices from the Field (by Denise Stuart), Educational Blog Watch (by Mike Putman), Book Reviews (by Brenda Stein Dzaldov), and Summaries of TILE-SIG Presentations for SIG members unable to attend IRA’s annual convention. Elsewhere, this past August, seventeen TILE-SIG members volunteered to contribute to a blog series featured in Reading Today
Online that posts weekly segments on topics including online composing tools, exemplary classroom websites, technology tips, research briefs, and professional development initiatives around infusing technology into the literacy curriculum. Recent posts by Jill Castek
, Rick Ferdig
, and Marjie Podzielinski
, for example, illustrate just a few of the many ways that IRA and TILE-SIG members seek to support classroom teachers.
2. What are the benefits of joining your SIG?
The biggest benefit to joining the TILE-SIG is having regular access to formal and informal professional development opportunities and the insights of our over 190 members. Our membership is distributed mostly between classroom teachers and literacy researchers, although some hold positions as technology specialists, school administrators, or educational consultants. IRA members seeking to be more actively involved in initiatives related to technology and literacy are highly encouraged to join us and think about how you can help the SIG to better meet your needs. In addition to these networking opportunities, registered members receive our SIG newsletter two to three times each year; they can submit proposals to present at our annual TILE-SIG session; they work closely with members of IRA’s Technology Committee to assist with technology-related charges; and they can become more active as a SIG committee member. We are currently investigating opportunities to partner up with other SIGs for a social event at the annual convention as well.
3. Are there any future projects in store for your SIG?
One exciting new venture that TILE-SIG members Denise Stuart, from The University of Akron, and Paula Saine, from Miami University, are heading up this fall involves coordinating efforts to more formally connect our members who have volunteered to serve as liaisons between the TILE-SIG and their local/state reading associations. The TILE-SIG has members in almost every state in the United States as well as in at least six countries. Our hope is to find more ways to effectively share our resources and learn how our SIG can better meet the needs of classroom teachers seeking to improve the quality of reading instruction through the use of new technologies. Through these liaisons, we also hope to meet teachers doing exciting things in their classrooms and invite them to share their work with our members.
And finally, I think our most exciting future venture involves developing a professional, peer-reviewed journal for sharing research and teaching ideas related to literacy and technology. Beth Dobler, from Emporia State University, and Denise Johnson, from the College of William and Mary, have volunteered to head up this project and are hoping for the online publication for the inaugural issue of the Journal of Technology In Literacy Education
to appear early summer, 2013.
4. How does one join your SIG?
The easiest way to join our SIG is to visit IRA’s TILE-SIG website
. From here, you can download the one page registration form and mail it with your $10 annual registration fee to our membership chair, Joan Rhodes, at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her contact information is included at the bottom of the form. Please note that you must be a member of IRA in order to join the TILE-SIG. There is also space on the form to indicate your interest in serving as a TILE-SIG committee member or liaison with your local reading association.
5. Is there a website, newsletter, or another way to find more information about your SIG? Is there a person that prospective members can contact?
To get a sense of our TILE-SIG offerings, you can download a recent newsletter
or access several previous newsletters by selecting the Newsletters
link at our TILE-SIG wiki
. From the wiki, you can also explore handouts and presentation materials from previous TILE-SIG annual conference sessions
and relevant resources connected to several years of Technology Pre-Conference Institutes, which are hosted collaboratively by members of TILE-SIG and IRA’s Technology, Communication and Literacy Committee. You do not need to be a member of the SIG to view the wiki; however, only SIG members will be given access to the wiki as content contributor. To learn more about our SIG, you can contact me (Julie Coiro, President of the TILE-SIG) at firstname.lastname@example.org or our membership chair Joan Rhodes at email@example.com. For more information about our newsletter, you can contact our co-editor Michael Putman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like Reading Today Online to feature your SIG, please contact email@example.com.