Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reading is Changing

No, the focus of this entry is not the 'Kindle', Yahoo's recently launched e-book reader. I firmly believe that if people have to bring something along for the ride, an actual book is a lot more convenient! No batteries, no worries about theft, no need to download anything... just bring it along.

I believe the skill of reading is changing none-the-less. I know in my personal life, much of my reading is done reading text from my computer screen (PDFs, Web content, blogs...). My children also spend much of their time reading online text (albeit much of that written by their friends and classmates). With the sheer volume of text to be reviewed in a given day, it is proving to be necessary to be a different type of reader, than we were taught to be in school. With the explosion in content sure to continue, we need to prepare young people to be learners who are able to scan for keywords and topic sentences; to be researchers who are efficient at extracting key ideas; to be documentarians who can track their hyper-learning; to be judges, able to critically consider the validity and relevance of content.

While tools like 'Google Notebook' are available to help develop these skills, I'm not convinced that a wide cross-section of today's teachers is currently able to demonstrate these skills... Let alone, qualified to teach them. Although it's a number of years old already, Alan November's story "Teaching Zach to Think" is still very relevant, as is the November Learning "Websites to Validate" activity.

On the topic of Reading and Change:
Thanks to Wes Fryer (and others) for promoting the free e-books available from the MacArthur Foundation. From Moving at the Speed of Creativity: "If you’re looking for some holiday reading related to digital learning, check out this great set of free ebooks from MIT Press Journals and the MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning."


Wesley Fryer said...

Rodd: I hadn't heard of the Kindle, so thanks for sharing that link. I am with you 100%. This is a familiar refrain from David Warlick, but so true and so needed in our schools: Information has changed. It has an increasingly digital face. The way we access and use it must change too.