Monday, March 19, 2012

Things That Have Me Thinking This Week...March 19, 2012

Here are a few of the blog posts and articles that caught my attention this past week. Enjoy!


While I am not an expert on reading or psychology, this article from certainly caught my attention.  This article certainly leaves me with more questions than answers as this is clearly an area that there is no long-range study to either support or refute the topic. A few of my questions are the following:

Who were the people tested? How many books had they read on an e-reading device prior to the test? What type of test was it? Was it simple recall? What were the books about?  

Anyway, here is what the study concluded:
“It took longer and [required] more repeated testing to get into that knowing state [with the computer reading, but] eventually the people who did it on the computer caught up with the people who [were reading] on paper.”
For me, I like the fact that we have more choices for learners with digital devices. Whether they are reading, creating, taking notes, I think that learners need to try different tools and see what works for them.  Personally, I love the fact that highlighting text in an e-book and going back and looking at my highlights and notes is so much easier. I also like the fact that I can share my notes and highlights with others if we are reading the same book.  As we move forward, I would speculate that future learners will read and recall quite easily from e-books because it will be more common place. Maybe the people tested were transitioning from a lifetime of reading from physical books?

Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with the following concluding statement: 
"More studies will likely show what material is best suited for learning in a digital format..."
In the meantime, let's encourage learners to try new tools and decide for themselves what works best because there is no study can tell you which would work best for you.

The No-Textbook Challenge: Using Web Resources To Replace The College Text

This professor proved what many educators are considering, the fact that we no longer need those cumbersome textbooks to run some courses:
Is it possible to use Open Educational Resources  and other open education materials to replace student textbooks for an online college course? Find free content on the web, eliminating the need for  students to buy textbooks?  Yes!
What Will Education Look Like In 2020?  - Shelly Blake-Plock

In this post, Shelly Blake-Plock looks back at a post he wrote in December 2009 in which he predicted the demise of many staples of most classrooms (i.e. homework and paperback books). His predictions brought the ire of many people who resented this "forward thinking." I think that every school community should be thinking about the tools and practices that are utilized in its classrooms and looking for more modern alternatives that will better prepare students.

What Blake-Plock is doing in the Baltimore area certainly sounds like something that would be worthwhile to others consider whether they want to dwell on homework and paperbacks or not:
Our goal is to demolish the digital divide and to empower those students currently most underserved. Through project-based learning and reverse mentoring — where the students themselves teach their teachers and parents — we want to see students identify themselves as 21st century citizens who will actively take part in the rebirth of their own city. What we are creating will not only take advantage of the shift, but will empower our kids to take advantage of it. These kids are going to own the shift.
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