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Using 21st Century Tools to Teach Literature

Page history last edited by Mary Hillis 8 years ago

Using 21st Century Tools to Teach Literature

by Mary Hillis

JALT 2012 Conference in Hamamatsu

Osaka JALT Back to School Event 2011


Abstract: The presenter will describe accessible ways that students or teachers can use technology to enhance literature lessons. After reading and discussing adapted stories, university students developed online projects using blogs, Twitter, Blackboard, and other tools to demonstrate their understanding of the plots, characters, and themes.





Stories used

"The Blue Carbuncle" by Sherlock Holmes (assignment sheet for character blog)

"Cub Pilot's Education" by Mark Twain (assignment sheet for Twitter)

"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin

"The Lady or the Tiger" by Frank Stockton (assignment sheet for discussion)



Useful Tools for Prereading

Google Images

As a prereading activity, students describe characters by looking at the pictures.


Google Maps

As a prereading activity, ask students to examine the setting of the story.



Useful Tools for Summarizing


Students write tweets as if they are the characters in the stories. Use unique hashtags to aggregate students' work.


Character blogs

Students write blog entries as if they are the characters in the stories. Students could also write comments on other students' posts--in character.



This site generates newspaper clippings. Users enter the name of the newspaper, the date, the headline, and the text for their newspaper story and a downloadable image is generated.



Useful Tools for Vocabulary


As a prereading activity, have students preview the story and make guesses about the characters, setting, and plot. Have students categorize words. For example, "The Story of an Hour" includes various emotions; ask students to look for feeling words and categorize them as positive or negative.



As a vocabulary building activity, locate appropriate pictures for the vocabulary words. Change the caption for the picture, so that it is the definition of the word. "Pin" the pictures on boards.


Useful Teacher Resources


Look for ready made presentations on specific short stories, novels, or literary devices.



Look for adaptations of short stories or novels. A search for The Story of an Hour returns various amateur productions of the short story. Compare the original story with the videos, paying particular attention to how changes in the setting or in the method of storytelling affect the story.



For more information, please see:

Exploring 19th Century Literature

Summary of Using 21st Century Tools to Teach Literature presentation on Osaka JALT blog


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