most out of their digital tools.
Bookbuilder.cast.org, in contrast, invites young students to create their
own books and share with other book
builders. This site is primarily for
8-year-olds, but with guidance from
adults or older classmates, younger
students could participate as well.
Because this tool encourages participation and users are able to give and
receive feedback, it would fit in Q4.
Doodlecast for Kids is another digital
tool that demonstrates a participatory
stance. This i Tunes app is for students
3 and up and supports drawing, video,
audio, and text. Students can share
their creations with family and friends
and elicit comments. As with Book-
builder.cast.org, this tool supports
participation and would fit in Q4.
It is not surprising that Lankshear
and Knobel found the least amount
of research on the Q4 tools that had
networking capability and encouraged
full participation via discursive prowess. Even though classrooms have
physical access to technology, whether
and how these technologies encourage
participation varies widely.
Digital tools that encourage participation through critical thinking, active engagement, and contribution are
the tools that teachers often reserve
for students with ample resources and
support. Students confined to merely
interacting with digital tools may be
excluded from the conversation and
conditioned to consume technology
Here are five things teachers should
think about before implementing digital tools:
1. Acknowledge that inequities exist
and consider who has or does not
have the opportunity to participate in a digital environment.
2. Access to digital tools does not
simply mean participation in a
digital environment. Just because
a website or application is educational does not mean that young
students are using digital tools in
ways that promote critical thinking and active participation.
3. Consider how digital tools can
give students voice and make
them feel included. Access to
technology alone will not create
inclusive learning environments.
It’s essential that we select tools
that create more inclusive teaching practices.
4. What digital tools are best for
young students? How can you
select and encourage use of tools
that invite participation? How
can you inform parents and
promote awareness of the
5. How can you encourage your
students to critically analyze
the affordances and limitations
of digital tools? In addition to
content-based features, consider
examining external issues, such
as commercial advertising. While
there are ideal times to use tools