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Quad City Students Skype With Children’s Book Authors

There’s a school mixing literacy and technology by connecting local students with writers across the country – and in some cases – across the ...

There's a school mixing literacy and technology by connecting local students with writers across the country - and in some cases - across the world.

In Mrs. Krystle Padilla's class, 4th graders at the Rock Island Academy are going beyond the book.

"A lot of times we read these great books and we don't know who the author is or we may know the name, but we don't know the face. We don't know why they wrote it and so it started as something very small and has actually turned into something really big, which has been great," she said.

With the help of an iPad, a projector, and a screen, her students are using Skype to talk with the authors of children's books.

On Friday, November 21st, 2014, the class talked with Lori Degman, who wrote 1 Zany Zoo. Students were able to ask her questions - everything from what inspires her to how many pets she has.

"One of the goals is getting to know authors," explained Mrs. Padilla. "My other goal for the school year is for my students to ask higher level thinking questions. Our kids constantly are asking questions that have a quick answer and we need to get the kids to a point where they can ask questions that don't necessarily all have one answer and they have the ability to come up with different answers that are all correct if they're able to justify that."

Mrs. Padilla says the addition of technology helps with those goals since it's how students learn and like to learn in the 21st century.

"Common Core touches technology a lot and the realities are - our kids are using it so we need to  be making situations that are mock real life and allow our kids to learn how to use these tools as a resource rather than something that's just for social media."

However, there is also a social aspect, too. Students are becoming better public speakers, discussing their answers with each other, and getting more interested in reading, writing, and technology. It's a focus of the Rock Island Academy, as well as the entire Rock Island-Milan School District.

"Rock Island Academy is doing outstanding things this year and we're really pushing our kids to be higher level thinkers."

Mrs. Padilla says their next author will Skype with her students from the U.K. and she already has an author set up for every Friday through the rest of the school year.