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Engage younger students with tech the right way


John Costilla, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer at Capstone, talks digital literacy and content integration for primary grades.

When it comes to building literacy skills, students are never too young to start—as long as it is implemented in a thoughtful way. That’s the perspective of John Costilla, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Capstone, the nation’s leading educational publisher of K-5 digital solutions, children’s books, and literacy programs for school libraries, classrooms, and at-home reading. 

In this recent conversation with eSchool News, John touches on integrating technology into primary classrooms, highlighting the need for a scaffolded approach, where EdTech complements traditional teaching methods. He mentions, (what else?), innovations like AI, and emphasizes the importance of metadata, transparency, and standards alignment in content development and search capabilities. Just as important, he touches on the intangible significance of providing joy and fun in teaching and the importance of building strong connections and relationships in education. Click below for a listen and scroll down for some more takeaways.

  • Focus on K5 Education: John emphasizes the importance of focusing on the K5 (Kindergarten to 5th grade) sector in education. He mentions the challenges students face in these grades, especially in the context of the pandemic, with some students missing significant amounts of schooling
  • Importance of Literacy: John stresses the significance of literacy in K5 education. He highlights the need for explicit instruction, phonics, decoding, and a focus on vocabulary development within the context of students’ interests, whether related to EdTech, science, social studies, or other subjects.
  • Diversity and Representation: John discusses the importance of diversity and representation in educational content. He mentions the need for students to see themselves in the materials they use and learn from, citing examples of books featuring diverse characters and cultures.
  • Balanced Approach to EdTech: John advocates for a balanced approach to technology in early education. He acknowledges the role of EdTech in providing innovative learning experiences but emphasizes the importance of a balance between technology and non-technology-based teaching methods.
  • Role of AI and Metadata: John discusses the role of AI, including ChatGPT, in educational content. He mentions the use of AI for tagging, metadata, and content creation, as well as its potential for enhancing the transparency of educational materials for districts and educators.

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