Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Your Teacher Loves Wikipedia, Part 2 - Creating an eBook

Earlier I had written a post called, "Your Teacher Loves Wikipedia" to highlight how Wikipedia is a great place to start (but not finish) your research.

Today I found this fantastic guide on how to create an eBook from Wikipedia articles. By using visuals, this guide demonstrates step-by-step how to generate an eBook. Students can gather, discuss and analyze the information they find on Wikipedia. EBook creation is a form of content curation. In this case, it is limited because students would be only using one source. But this compilation would form the exploratory step of their research. Also, if teachers need their classes to do some background reading on a topic, they can use this tool to gather factual material for their students.

I'd love to collaborate with other educators to think about how to leverage Wikipedia in student research. We should discuss with students what a wiki is, its benefits and its pitfalls. We need to recognize that Wikipedia is a valid starting point in research, a way of developing critical thinking skills and a launchpad for further inquiry.

Image credit:
Mikeedesign. Wikipedia - T-shirt. 2008. Photograph. Flickr. 29 Apr. 2008. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeeperez/2453225588/in/photostream/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeeperez/2453225588/sizes/o/in/photostream/.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Close Reading in the Digital Age

Is close reading becoming a lost art?

I hope not, but I find that our digital tools are often a distraction and used more for entertainment than illumination. Next week at my school the distraction is being taken away from us--at least temporarily. Our computer network will be shut down for a week for an OS upgrade. There's no better time to reacquaint ourselves with the important skill of close reading. Of course, we won't give up our digital tools once the upgrade is complete. Below are some suggestions on how to use technology to enhance reading.

A Beautiful Classroom Poster on Close Reading provides teachers with a free, downloadable poster suggesting ways to help students become better close readers:

Actually Achieving Close Reading with Digital Tools shows ways to leverage screen capture and annotation tools to assist with close reading.

10 Strategies to Reach the 21st Century Reader examines how media design influences the modern reader. Skip to the end of the article to see how using media can enhance reading skills.