Project-Based Language Learning (PBLL) uses meaningful inquiry to engage students with language, communities, and content. This project aimed to connect learners from different parts of the world in building both traditional and digital literacy skills.
According to UNESCO's 2012-2015 Round Table on Literacy Action Plan for Brazil, "Teaching children to read and write is still a major challenge", with children living in the North and Northeast of the country having the highest indicies of illiteracy. This project seeks to raise awareness around this issue and address it via a literacy campaign and the creation and distribution of books for young readers in poor communities in the state of Bahia in Northeastern Brazil.
In the project I used Hobbs’ (2010) Essential Competencies of Digital and Media Literacies as my framework for the project’s digital literacy objectives.
1. ACCESS Finding and using media and technology tools skillfully and sharing appropriate and relevant information with others
2. ANALYZE & EVALUATE Comprehending messages and using critical thinking to analyze message quality, veracity, credibility, and point of view, while considering potential effects or consequences of messages
3. CREATE Composing or generating content using creativity and confidence in self-expression, with awareness of purpose, audience, and composition techniques
4. REFLECT Applying social responsibility and ethical principles to one’s own identity and lived experience, communication behavior and conduct
5. ACT Working individually and collaboratively to share knowledge and solve problems in the family, the workplace and the community, and participating as a member of a community at local, regional, national and international levels
They were posed with the question of , how can we engage and encourage young readers in low income communities in Brazil? They also looked at the lack of representation of Afro-Brazilian and indigenous characters in Brazilian children’s literature and came up with criteria for a “good children’s book”. Thus, they wrote children’s books for children from a low income community in Northeastern Brazil. They used Storybird to create the books and created a fundraising campaign through social media and email to get friends and family to purchase copies of the books for the children in Brazil. The books were also available in ebook versions, however the school we were working with in Brazil had limited technology. Since most of them were not able to make the trip to Brazil, they also created short videos which they posted to YouTube, so that the students in Brazil could get to know them.
Through this project my students were able to use technology tools appropriately and share information with others. They analyzed and evaluated traditional books and ebooks and reflected on the lack of representation of certain ethnicities in Brazil. They created original books and videos with for an authentic audience. They acted individually and collaboratively to share knowledge and solve problems in an international community. The students in Brazil also built their traditional literacy skills through reading the books and their digital literacy skills in accessing the videos from my students.
What makes a good children's book?
Show and Teletandem
Narrating in the past
A Critical examination of Children's books in Brazil
Interview with Communities
Project Group Work Reports
Individual Work Reports
Writing, Feedback, and Revising
Editing, Illustrations, Layout and Publishing
Final Product Assessment
Audience reception and Feedback
Implementation information not specified.