As a language teacher, I am always looking for new ideas to spark interest in writing. Sometimes I provide some sentence starters and other times, offer some prompts or themes, to spark curiosity and boost student engagement in writing through the power of choice. Getting started with writing though can sometimes be a challenge as students may struggle with finding the right words or feeling motivated to write and perhaps because of the fear of making mistakes.
It is important that we provide our students with the opportunity to share their ideas, engage in inquiry based learning, explore different resources and provide support to them as they build their writing and media literacy skills. Helping students develop media literacy skills is essential because of how much information is available to them. Students need to be able to access and evaluate information they find and then create an authentic representation of what they have learned. There are many ways that we can create these opportunities in our classrooms, and with Pressto, we have even more choices available that will boost student engagement and motivation for writing during this school year.
What is Pressto?
Pressto is a writing and micro-journalism platform that can be used with students in kindergarten through high school. Through the use of Pressto, students learn how to process information, interpret this information and then communicate their ideas. With Pressto, getting started with writing is easier. Students take on the role of a writer or journalist which adds authenticity and meaning to their learning experience. After choosing a topic, students are personally invested in the writing process and can continue to revise their writing before publishing it and sharing it with their teacher and classmates.
What I love about Pressto is that it helps students to build writing skills in a way that is comfortable and boosts their confidence. Because of the ease of using the Pressto platform and the templates available, students can enjoy the writing process more. As educators seek ways to promote the development of social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, and confidence in writing, using the Pressto platform is very beneficial.
As students write, they can evaluate their own writing and reflect, receive feedback during the writing process, and set new goals for building their skills. In these phases alone, students are building self-awareness and self-management as well as decision making. By sharing their work with others, they focus on building social awareness and relationship skills during the learning process. Using Pressto promotes not only the development of essential media literacy skills but also the SEL skills students need for success.
[feedback from users of Pressto, via Pressto site]
How does Pressto work?
First, students select a topic to write about and can select a template for getting started. As they write, students will receive feedback in the form of tips from Pressto. The tips help students to write a title, select images, focus on the reading level of their text, and emphasize the positivity in the message.
Students build their own digital space through Pressto and can start with a short story and build up to longer narratives, even adding in images to highlight in their newsletter or “zine.” Students will think about the information they are receiving, how to process it and how to best share that information and present their ideas to others.
Also a unique opportunity is available for students through the new Junior Journalism program which gives them the chance to use Pressto and report on activities alongside reporters who are covering stories from the community. Talk about an authentic, real-world learning experience! Check out this video from a fourth grade student who created a newsletter, or “zine” to thank her community for helping her to provide sandwiches for the homeless.
Learning from others
With access to so much information, it is essential that we help students to develop their critical thinking skills and become digitally literate as they navigate all of the information available to them. It is important for students to create and share what they are learning and to be able to build knowledge by exchanging their information with others.
There are a lot of great ways to learn more about how Pressto is being used and its many benefits for students. Check out some of the research available on media literacy. Learn more about Pressto in these testimonials from New York City teachers and some students who are using Pressto. Discover specific uses and experiences from the case studies available to get ideas. Get started today by signing up here: Join Pressto
About the Author
Rachelle Dené Poth is an edtech consultant, presenter, attorney, author, and teacher. Rachelle teaches Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle has a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. She is a Consultant and Speaker, owner of ThriveinEDU LLC Consulting. She is an ISTE Certified Educator and currently serves as the past-president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and on the Leadership team of the Mobile Learning Network. At ISTE19, she received the Making IT Happen Award and has received several Presidential Gold Awards for volunteer service to education.
Rachelle is the author of six books, ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” (EduMatch) and “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World” and her newest book, “True Story Lessons That One Kid Taught Us.” Her newest book will be available this summer from Routledge, “Your World Language Classroom: Strategies for In-Person and Digital Instruction.”
Rachelle is a blogger for Getting Smart, Defined Learning, District Administration, NEO LMS, and the STEM Informer with Newsweek.
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