Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Maximizing eBook Potential

For a middle or high school English class, reading novels on an electronic device utilizes the commenting, built-in dictionary, clickable background knowledge via web links, and multimedia components, all the great resources teachers have been using in one, mobile device. 

However, it would be wasteful if lessons were limited to traditional literature circles in which students read the same novel as a small group and allow discussion to guide the learning. Years of pedagogy supports this practice, but with the advent of mobile devices, these literature circles need to expand outside the 25-30 students of a classroom. 

Kids aren’t just holding books, they’re holding a communication device. FaceTime, Skype, instant messaging, email, and wikis are all ways discussions on text can break the classroom’s four walls. Opportunities for discussions with experts or students from relevant regions of the globe bring a range of insights a single community of learners can’t. 

Attached below is a lesson plan for traditional literature circles in which the only innovative component is utilizing eBooks and the various tools the book reading apps provide. It falls short of its potential by limiting the discussions to the students in the particular classroom. 

This lesson focuses on the skills of using an ebook. Yet, student background in technology literacy and device intuition is growing. While basic training in the tools of a school’s particular ebooks is necessary, just as it is necessary to teach the use of science lab equipment or a new software program, an entire series of lessons is overkill. Further, students often end up teaching the teacher a new trick and are more than ready to show off their knowledge to the fellow student who is a tad behind. This instructional time could be better spent discovering connections with world-wide circles. 

eBook Lesson Plans:

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