by Linda Barrington
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair
Liaison between the JEA board and NCTE

I bet many of the JEA mentees are also English teachers. I hope they are familiar with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).  It is a wonderful resource in so many ways, one of which is the annual convention held last November in Philadelphia.

Jane Blystone and I got involved firsthand when we presented a session on using technology to engage learners.

In addition to presenting a session on using technology to teach English, Linda Barrington staffed the JEA information booth at the NCTE convention in Philadelphia last November.

We have both been struck by the rapid infusion of technology into a teacher’s repertoire of skills.  Our new teachers quickly adapt the latest advances into their teaching: web pages, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, podcasts, vodcasts, etc.

Jane demonstrated how to create a podcast and use GarageBand software, explaining how her students have used this as an interactive, multi-dimensional assessment after reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” (Jane’s podcast of this session is at

The audience quickly got involved, brainstorming other ways to use podcasting in their classrooms: to record and evaluate Literature Circles discussion, to record talk-alouds for self-assessment, to research and edit script (within time frame) to report as a podcast and to record PodNotes as an alternative to CliffsNotes.

If English teachers are doing all this, certainly media teachers should be using this technology as well. Most of the JEA mentors have recording equipment to use and could help their mentees find effective ways to use this in the classroom. Many students have their own MP3 players and may be able to use these as recording devices.

More later on technology as a classroom tool and NCTE as a valuable resource. The 2010 NCTE convention is in Orlando, Nov. 18-21.

FYI: Jane and I have both left high school, after 30+ years of teaching and advising publications, and now teach pre-service teachers at colleges near our homes. Jane is at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Penn., and I’m at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wis.