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Adding a Tech Twist to Poetry Study

Helping students connect with poetry by connecting technology to the study and creation of this vibrant and personalized literary form.

By Lani Aquino           

Imagining lessons on poetry may conjure up visions of glassy-eyed students with quilled pens in hand entering a study of rhythm, rhyme, and iambic pentameter. While the days of yore produced many amazingly composed and oft studied verses, the students of today are able to return the lids to the inkwells and power up technology to delve into the study and creation of all things poetic. Whether there is a plan to study classic poetry, tackle contemporary poetry, or dabble in personal writings, the integration of technology can bring new life and a new lens to poetry. These 5 technology resources are ready to bring a love of poetry to device screens everywhere.

Word Mover- This student interactive program from Read, Write, Think offers a variety of applications for poetry study and creation. Via web connection or app, students can delve into an engaging study of words and poetic form. Students select key words from any literary passage, word bank, personal interest list, etc. and place them in the Word Mover program. With 6 poem categories to choose from, there are a host of possibilities for what can be created and how the program itself can be utilized. This unique way to deconstruct and reconstruct text offers students a way to personalize their literary study experience and create engaging visuals of their stylized poems.

Poll Everywhere- This free app is integral to the Top-Three Words activity highlighted in Teach Thought’s 6 Technology-Based Poetry Ideas for Students Who Think They Hate Poetry. As a poem is explored with students, their smartphones can be used as data collection devices. Poll Everywhere captures data via text message. In the Top-Three Words activity, students are asked to select the 3 words in a poem being studied that have the most impact. Students are able to text these responses to a specified number that populates these shared responses in a wordsplash that fills a single screen. Filters can be applied via the teacher’s Poll Everywhere account to derail any inappropriate responses from hitting the big screen. This is a great way to foster discussion of word choice and impact. It’s also an excellent app to utilize for real-time response collection in any subject area.

PoetryNow- This free app connects users to a wide collection of poems with insights from their authors. PoetryNow is a weekly radio series that features modern poets and their works. These 4-minute talks and readings by the poets themselves give students some behind-the-scene’s knowledge when it comes to the creative process. Teachers can share the podcasts and carry out rich discussion, or students could explore the expansive collection in search of favorite modern poets or a new voice that speaks to them.

Poetry Creator| Verses- Poetry, Poems, and Poets- This app offers a limited amount of free resources, and several in-app purchases that can add some extra zing for those who become taken with this form of poetry creation. The developers liken users to dictionary DJs as the words from different eras and forms of lyrical prose are combined to create new and personalized poems of today. Students can enjoy creating their own mixes and stylings to put a modernized spin on a classic study. Think fridge magnets meet smartphones.

Poetry Everywhere- Another app that puts students in touch with modern-day poets and words of past poets is Poetry Everywhere. With this video collection, students are able to watch short interviews of contemporary poets sharing the poets’ work and their insights into the creative writing processes that produce poetry. These interviews are also interspersed with works from past poets that are explored by modern readers. The collections and musings of the featured writers allow students to connect to poetry in new ways. There are also links to additional resources available at Poetry Everywhere on PBS.

The study of poetry doesn’t have to feel like an antiquated journey to students. By interspersing technology into the exploration of famous poems/poets, modern-day artists and collections, and personal writing, poetry can engagingly come to a new era of students. The power of the pen can be fueled by the power of the keyboard with these technological resources for enhancing poetry study.

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