How Does Technology Affect Literacy?


Published: December 10, 2015

Using technology is no longer a choice in our society. People may claim they do not use technology much or find no use for it, but reality is that even checking out groceries utilizes technology. In preparing students to be productive, literate citizens, teachers must use technology to adequately prepare students. Literacy development no longer relies solely on reading and writing skills. People must be literate in technology as well. So combining the two, literacy development and technology, makes good educational sense.

Technology helps teachers differentiate

Student-led technology efforts can be motivational

Student-driven technological literacy development can be very motivational.

The interactive nature of technology makes it customizable for students. There are electronic books and other literacy apps that change pace and reading level depending on student response. This helps teachers work with different students and ensure those working independently are working within their zone of proximal development (ZPD). Russian psychologist Vygotsky developed the concept of ZPD when he suggested that a child follows an adult’s example and gradually develops the ability to do certain tasks without help. Many teachers believe that the role of education is to give children experiences that are within their ZPD, thereby encouraging and advancing their literacy development. Learning about Vygotsky and how his ideas can help support your teaching is just one of the benefits of a master’s degree in literacy.

Technology helps students create instead of regurgitate

When teachers use technology to help students create, the students learn how to be productive, literate people. This kind of technological literacy development is student-driven, which can be very motivational. Students can go into apps that help them wonder, plan, gather, create, and share. In a master’s degree in literacy program, you may learn about the scope of available children’s literature and want to share it with your students. It would be even more beneficial if you could teach them how to share their reading responses as well. One way to manage this is through apps like Kidblog, Popplet, and Explain Everything. These apps help students organize their information but rely on the students to add their knowledge and develop a way to share it. When students use their new knowledge to create, that knowledge becomes permanent.

How can technology be misused in literacy development

Just because a teacher or school has technology available does not mean they are using it appropriately. When students passively play games or watch videos, they are not connecting and absorbing new information. During the coursework to obtain a master’s degree in literacy, teachers will learn the many different ways students retain information. This may better prepare teachers for identifying effective technology for literacy development. Another common challenge in education is leaving technology out of instruction except for limited periods once per week or month. Students need to see technology as a tool to use when needed. Therefore, it needs to be available to students at all times. It is only through regular use that students will become literate.

Literacy development that includes technology can take various forms in educational settings. It can both support traditional literacies and introduce new forms in the classroom. Technology can help students discuss their ideas by bringing readers and writers together in the same classroom, and it can help students work together at different times through google documents and blogging. Another important feature of using technology is that it allows students to remix various media. The resulting product can be a combination of traditional writing and other new technology-driven genres. Technology is the bridge to creating a new form of education where the borders are undefined.


Comment: This article talks about how technology can create blocks with literacy and not being able to absorb new information effectively. In learning, students can use technology while working within their zone of proximal development, instead of trying to have everyone follow the same standard, leaving some not absorbing the information. Using technology to understand the differences in understanding rather than the best way to get people to follow one way.


  1. I wonder how literacy and learning will be impacted for students that are having to learn to read over Zoom during a pandemic. This may be something interesting to look into that definitely relates to technological literacy and customization. I would be curious if this pandemic will spark this generation of young students to expect virtual delivery and integration in all of their classes, even after going back in person.

  2. There are so many apps that revolve around reading and writing. Aside from Apple products, I remember my neighbor owning one of those Leap Fog consoles… I think the bigger question is does everyone have access to technology to take advantage of its benefits.