Digital Literacy: Climbing the Ladder, One Rung at a Time

Blogging Begins to Take Root

Students at Bertie Early College High School are reluctantly taking the plunge into the blogosphere. We’re also asking a few to ditch the old spiral pads and create digital notebooks. Among them are a few kids who can see the benefits of it, excited about what it means for their writing. I feel a bit like a dentist in some cases, but there’s one young lady who is embracing the idea.

A few weeks back, I gave a couple of science classes a rather compelling spill about blogging and keeping digital notes (my Oscar is in the mail). Fortunately, the teacher is the person who jumped on board first! She’s still got to get the hang of it, but her students are well on their way!

Vanessa Hernandez
Vanessa Hernandez

Today I sat down with Vanessa Hernandez to talk about how and Evernote has changed the way she thinks about writing and taking notes in school. Here’s what she had to say:

Me: Vanessa, your Earth/Environmental Science class recently started blogging. How has it changed your classroom experience?

Vanessa: With blogging I feel like I can express myself more in my work and it will be a lot easier to turn in my work.

Me: What’s the name of your blog and the URL?

Vanessa: NessaScience

Me:  Do you think blogging is something that more students should take on? What’s the benefit?

Vanessa:  I think blogging is a great opportunity for students to express themselves creatively through their personalized blogs. Also, they can get their work known and potentially help other people. By getting their work known, it could bring future college opportunities for students.

Me:  You have also began to keep a digital notebook in Evernote. Tell me why you like it as opposed to the traditional way.

Vanessa:  At first, Evernote seemed really complicated, but the app has a tutorial that walks you through everything. After I got through the tutorial, I began to use Evernote to keep notes for my Science and US history classes. I kept my vocabulary words from science so that I didn’t lose it because I always lose paper. In History I kept my homework in Evernote by taking a picture of the book work with the picture note document feature on. This way, I wouldn’t have to carry the heavy US History book. 

Me: What advice do you have for other kids about the two new practices you’ve implemented this week?

Vanessa: Evernote is more convenient than the traditional form of notes because it organizes all of your information and it saves online so you can access it at anytime, from anywhere. You won’t have to worry about not having your work, for any reason.

Blogging brings an opportunity for kids to expand. Everyone’s scared of the unknown. It’s a natural fear that everyone has. You can personalize your writing and give it a voice. Kids can get their work known by universities and other people across the globe. Who knows what that could lead to?


Vanessa is a ninth grade student at BECHS. Her blog space is still developing, but I’m confident that it will grow along with her as she posts more entries! I hope this inspires her peers to continue to explore the unknown along with her! As for Evernote, here’s a snapshot of how I use the tool to organize my professional notes. Anyone who has to record notes of any kind, should give this tool a shot!


Please share how you are teaching digital literacy in your 1:1 or BYOD classroom!

4 thoughts on “Digital Literacy: Climbing the Ladder, One Rung at a Time

  1. Very intriguing article Mrs. McCullough! I like the inclusion of the student interview as a selling point to utilize Evernote. I still want us to have some conversations about providing PD in October with EC teachers and assistants on using the Promethium boards, as well as how to progress monitor some of our initiatives. Talk to you soon!



  2. Ms. Dobie, thank you for your valuable feedback, ALWAYS. I will email you about the Promethean Boards, etc. It’s funny. I think selling Evernote was a by-product of the interview. Actually, I was trying to sell the student’s willingness to change. If we can break down the resistance (one child at a time, and with the teachers in tow) we can slowly modernize the digital culture here. It just has to catch fire.


  3. What is the effect of digital notebooks on the eyes? How many hours a week should a student look at a monitor? How many of your students experience migraine headaches? At present their is no conclusive evidence of permanent eye damage due to long hours staring at a monitor. Their is, however, plenty of evidence that associates short term discomfort and pain with long hours in front of a monitor. This discomfort includes eye strain, headaches, blurry vision, fatigue, excessive tearing, dry eye and tension in the head, neck and shoulders. I wish you the best on your new adventure with the digital world. Change can be challenging and slow, especially with an old man like myself. All the same, I am surprised at the large number of my students that have debilitating migraine headaches and demonstrate a sense of stress and tension.


    1. Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry your students are having problems. I have not heard any children complain about eye strain or migraines here. In our district we encourage teachers to limit lecture to 10-15 minutes anyway, so we do not expect students to be staring at their monitors for 90 uninterrupted minutes, 4 blocks per day. Perhaps those children should get a physician to pinpoint the cause of their discomfort to be certain. Thanks again!


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