How to Use an Interactive Literacy Resource (for the OSSLT)

by Corina Koch MacLeod

Great news! Don’t Panic Books will soon release its first interactive digital literacy resource that Ontario teachers can use to prepare students for the OSSLT.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be overly techy to use it. If you know how to open a PDF and operate a computer keyboard, you’re set. Really!

Follow these steps and you’ll have students and teachers up and running in no time:

1. Ask students and teachers to download the latest version of Adobe Reader
Adobe Reader XI (free)to their tablets or computers. We recommend using the latest version because it has some fantastic features that will support students with a wide range of learning abilities:

  • text highlighter and virtual sticky notes
  • text-speech option for students who need reading support
  • drawing tools to create graphic organizers to plan writing
  • spell-check for writing (activated by a right-click of the mouse)
  • marking tools, so teachers can mark and comment on students’ work
  • audio comment tool, so teachers can include oral comments with students’ work

This isn’t your grandma’s PDF!

2. Upload Don’t Panic 2.0 to First Class, or your school intranet (or email the file to students), so students can download it and open it in Adobe Reader XI on their home computers. Students open the PDF on a tablet, too, but note that the Adobe Reader tablet apps have fewer features than the computer app.

3. Ask students to save the file as StudentNameDate.pdf.

Example: CorinaKochMacLeod16Oct2013.pdf

This will help students and teachers keep files organized.

4. Have students respond to reading selections and complete writing tasks right in the PDF. Remind them to save their work often.

5. Encourage students to use the highlight and sticky notes features while working through reading selections. Students can access these features in the Comments menu in Adobe Reader XI. See the video clip from Fargo Public Schools for a demonstration of the highlights and comments features:

6. Encourage students to use the drawing tools to create graphic organizers or to plan their writing, in the space allotted in the Don’t Panic 2.0 file. The drawing tools are found in the Drawing Markups menu under the Comments tab.

7. When students have completed their work, ask them to upload their file to a designated location on your school’s intranet, or email the file to the teacher who will check their work.

8. Teachers can offer feedback to students, right in the student’s file, using the Annotation tools. We’ll discuss some of the marking features in a future post, but for now, know that teachers can mark student work like they would on paper, and they can also leave audio comments using the audio button in Comments tab. Now how neat is that?

* This resource will also be available as printable PDFsfor students who don’t have a home computer.

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