Giving Students Voice and Choice in Tech-based Literacy Instruction

Audiences: 6 - 8 Teachers , 9 - 12 Teachers
Levels: All Levels

Session Description

Two New Jersey high school teachers have joined forces to combine student choice, digital tools, and research-based instruction to ignite student engagement in literacy.
Our action research model involves creating an open line of communication with our students about the impact of our lessons, the technology platforms available, and the influence of our collective choices on their learning. We use this data to inform our lesson design and the digital tools we implement in the classroom. We also encourage creativity and personalized learning with existing technology to help our students find the best way for them to demonstrate their learning and build digital literacy skills.

Collaboration is a key to 21st-century learning, so we aim to put their interests, thoughts, and feelings at the forefront by providing choice in literacy-based digital platforms and by differentiating for students for both interest and developmental scaffolding. By emphasizing high-interest independent reading and a variety of strategically-selected tech tools, our presentation will showcase how voice and choice lead to engagement and student achievement.

District Information

Cherry Hill Public Schools is comprised of 19 schools, educating more than 11,000 students. It is the 13th largest district in NJ. Cherry Hill High School West is a Title 1 School. IThere are 72 native languages spoken among students across the district. The Cherry Hill Public Schools is a 2017 State District of Character
National Schools of Character

Heather Esposito

I have been teaching high school English for 19 years. In that time, I have served as an MYP coordinator, PLC Coordinator, Technology Mentor, and Educational Technology Workshop Presenter. I conduct workshops on Blended Learning, New Teacher Support, Screencasting, and Digital Literacy. Last year, I was selected to be a Student Voice Leader in my district, where I have the honor of working with Russel J. Quaglia and The Quaglia Institute to support teachers and students in having their voices heard.


Kelly Healey

Kelly Healey is an Education Consultant, assisting in the process of modernizing education, increasing student achievement, and moving schools forward.

Throughout her career, Kelly served as a K-12 classroom teacher, Dean of Students, district ESL Specialist and operated in multiple capacities as an Education Consultant. She has worked with organizations such as WIDA, TESOL, The Dana Center, Measured Progress, WestEd, Literacy Design Collaborative, ASCD, KDSL, and Amplify. Kelly’s efforts have been featured by ASCD, eSchool News, The Data Quality Campaign, Education Week, and in the TESOL Classroom Practice Series.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross, and a Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Rhode Island College.


Additional Resources

Actively Learn

Survey Infographic

Coda, Rebecca, and Rick Jetter. Let Them Speak: How Student Voice Can Transform Your School. Dave Burgess Consulting, Incorporated, 2018.

Fisher, Douglass, et al. Engagement by Design: Creating Learning Environments
Where Students Thrive. Corwin, 2018.