The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 1 - Page 45

with paper and pencil in their classroom. To make it more fun and interesting, I have my students use PowerPoint to display their story. They add pictures of their choice, sounds and whatever colors they like. Afterwards, they are to present their final project to the class. They love being creative and it lets them work on their typing skills with a purpose in mind.

I think it is important for our students to keep up with the newest technological advances and typing is one that has recently become vital to test preparation. As long as aptitude and state tests are online, paper and pencil are a thing of the past. Learning typing at an early age is just one more way to prepare students to be successful in school and eventually in the future.


Borreli, L. (2014). Why using pen and paper, not laptops, boosts memory: Writing notes helps recall concepts, ability to understand. Medical Daily. Retrieved from

Layton, L. (2013). Elementary students learn keyboard typing ahead of new common core tests. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Courtney Stuart teaches in the elementary computer lab at Willow Springs Elementary School. She has taught for 9 years and loved every minute of it. There is no other job she would rather have.


In my son's English class at Stockton Middle School, his teacher, Mrs. McKenzie Harbaugh, has instituted a semester-long endeavor called 20% Time, based on an idea by Google to encourage creativity within their employees. Google gives employees 20% of their week to work on something focused on their own interests, as long as it benefits the company. This type of innovative mindset has been the impetus for the likes of Google Docs and Gmail, to name a few.

I was thrilled when I heard about Parker's chosen theme, and I quickly signed on as the mentor of his 3D printing-focused project (of course, I did wait until he asked). In addition to online research, Parker wanted to learn how 3D design and printing worked in real life. We needed to visit someone with a 3D printer, and I knew exactly where to start looking....Twitter, of course! We were excited when Angela Gries, the business and marketing teacher at Bolivar High School (BHS), answered my tweet and invited us to come and check it out.

Some of you may be wondering what 3D printing has to do with literacy. Technology and literacy are so intertwined that, to me, it's difficult to separate them. It takes a new type of literacy to be able to search online, deter-mine credibility of sources, and synthesize information in a useful way.

In addition to visiting BHS to get an up-close look at a 3D printer in action, Parker conducted research, wrote questions, interviewed an expert, and created a website to share his project with an authentic audience. He also created a video (embedded below) to represent what he learned from our visit, which included thinking about his audience, choosing pictures, videos, and text to best tell his story, writing the text for the voice-over, recording his voice, publishing and uploading it to YouTube, and then embedding it on his website. Talk about literacy! I hope you will take about three minutes to watch the video below that Parker created to teach others about 3D printing, and think about how YOU can empower students to do this in your own classroom!

3D Printing and Literacy?!?

by Jennifer Fox

The above picture to is a keyboard that our physical education teacher, Coach Terrie Rhoades, put on the gym wall to help students with letter placement on the keyboard. They have used it so much there are letters missing.