I'm reading Digital Reading: What's Essential in Grades 3-8 by Franki Sibberson and William L Bass II. Click here to read more about #cyberPD or click here to join the Google+ discussion group! It's a pleasure every summer to participate in this knowledgeable group. We are hosted by Laura Komos, Michelle Nero, and Cathy Mere.
The page numbers refer to the eBook PDF.
I suspect that I will repeat much of what others are writing; there is much good to take from these full chapters. One overall reflection is that there are consistent common threads no matter which anchor’s chapter one examines: possibilities abound, time and choice for experiences is key, and assumptions of expertise may often be incorrect. Also, there is more to be taught, but teachers and students can collaborate in the teaching.
Chapter Three - Authenticity p. 25
What I liked:
It’s wonderful that Franki took pictures & re-visited them, this time noticing different kinds of learning within the Genius Hour. It does mean more time when one examines the pictures, but at least once in a while, will be very worth it. “Each day they used a new tool because it fit their need or purpose at that moment.”
Referring to the ‘book trailer episode”: I imagine that some, or all, of us have to be intentional about figuring out just what is worthwhile in an authentic digital reading situation. It’s complex, as was explained on p. 29, when she did explain her ideas of authenticity in reading and response to that reading.
The questions on p. 30 are helpful. Diana’s learning shared on p. 31 is so right: “teachers don’t need to know every single thing, but do need to share thinking with students as the need appears.” I teach in a school where each student studies his or her own topic, many curriculum units are in play all the time. While I did do some whole group work, most of the time I was the supporter/mentor/questioner. I knew I could not possibly be an expert in everything. This part of the chapter reminds me of my classroom--many things going on, many experts helping and questioning and working. On the same page, this quote stood out to me: “it’s about choice and ownership”. The management style is different from everyone in the class doing the same project, and it demands patience and looking for good questions to ask, sharing a lot of what the teacher does, as well as allowing students to share their expertise as well.
I enjoyed the specific resources shared, but then also this: “Focusing on the learning rather than the tool created a more authentic workshop.” p. 37
Still questioning: those with devices and those without. How is this going to work for future plans, within schools and districts?
Chapter Four - Intentionality p. 44
What I liked:
p. 47 “If we want students to be intentional users of digital tools, we need to focus on the how and why of using digital tools for student learning and to build on what they already do outside of school.”
I agree that it is important first to examine how students are choosing, and to teach them the ‘possibilities’. However, shouldn’t we also help students understand that they have been making decisions all along, but perhaps with less thought? I watch my granddaughter, six, choosing among several apps on my IPad when she comes to visit, and know that there is a habit there, but I’m not sure she is thoughtful about it, or even knows she might have different strategies for choosing. For her, and all students, “we have to teach them the tools and strategies to make purposeful decisions” p. 48, but also teach that people do use tools and strategies when making decisions.
The later classroom examples are good to examine. The background skills/strategies needed in order to make wise decisions about digital reading are also important, just as the older skills still taught when examining a print n-f book, like using headings, the index, etc., to navigate and choose what parts will answer the questions you want answered. This time, it’s critical to use the right search terms, learn about Hyperlinks, etc.
p. 62 - The work that Katherine Hale explains is so valuable to me. I may never get to use those ideas with students because I’m retired, but I know that I will use them for myself. I have enjoyed the different ways I can make my own notes on just the PDF of this e-book, and now I wish I had started taking the notes on an app, too.
What I question:
p. 64 - These words are important: “This goal is much harder to check off a list and much harder for us to assess. But even though it’s more difficult, it is a much more intentional goal.” If we do want students to be more intentional, and we want to be sure to assess that, the chapter doesn’t say much about how. Later there is talk about students sharing their experiences, and I might say conversations and/or conferring is one tool of assessment. As much as anything I’m just worried about time taken. It’s a lot!
Chapter Five - Connectedness p. 67
p. 68 “For our students to be equally intentional as connected readers and writers, they must know what is possible in order to make those decisions. They must have experience with a variety of tools and topics and find their own sources of information that they recognize to be helpful to them as readers.”
Here again are those two words, “possibilities” and “experiences”-clearly everyone’s work, students and teachers. Slowly we must build our repertoires as the educators in order to know what is possible, have students also share, and then give time for experiences.
Because it involves mostly non-fiction, but not always, students can also connect when studying a specific research topic. They can e-mail or Skype, interview, ask further questions, make appointment for face-to-face interviews, of experts in certain fields, museums, and so on. Or, for instance, if a certain group is reading a book and wants to connect with that author, it doesn’t have to be whole group.
I love the collaborative work Karen Terlecky’s students did in order to support better book selection for their classmates. p.86 As she wrote, doing "double" because each was crafting a project, but helping the other meant expanding the learning.
Looking forward to what's next!