Monday, September 22, 2008

Do students really know how to read online?

The following quote from the weblog of Will Richardson, an advocate for the use of communication technologies in education, caught my attention:
[Online reading] is one of those areas where the kids are doing it already and the educators in the room don’t have much to go on in terms of what the differences are or any substantial practical experience. Federman makes the point that when new technologies enter the classroom, teachers see change. Students, on the other hand, see the status quo.
In his post, Richardson discusses the article "Online Literacy is a Lesser Kind: Slow reading counterbalances Web skimming" by Mark Federman. Richardson also admits that without an intentional, personal effort to read longer texts more often, increased effort was necessary "to do sustained reading and thinking [and] to stick with complex narratives."

Online literacy is necessary in our current world and in the future. Obviously, continuing to require long texts as part of academic work continues to provide students the opportunity to learn and practice the related traditional but important literacy skills.

So a question hanging out there seems to be what can teachers and parents do in order to help children transfer some of those skills to online reading and, therefore, further practice those skills?

P.S. I have no answer. However, I wonder if something like the recently released 39 Clues book series from Scholastic would help (at least for younger students) or is it just creative marketing. I haven't seen a novel from the series (but probably will since my son would like it), but it appears to promote some sort of bridge between offline and online reading, (Also, seems to bridge the trading card frenzy familiar to anyone with elementary aged boys.)

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