Modern Book Reports
SLIS S603 High Tech Learning Final Project

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High Tech

Book Report Models:

 

Podcasts

 

Blogs and Wikis

 

Photo Story Video

 

 

For educators:

 

Useful Links

 

Grading Rubric

 

Online Survey

 

 

Audience

The models for modern book reports featured in this project can be adapted for learners in grades 4-12 within a classroom setting. The Modern Book Reports Web site is designed to serve as a learning tool for educators who wish to incorporate these ideas into their lesson plans.

 

All of the digital book report models featured on this site refer to Louis Sachar's 1999 Newberry Medal-Winning book, Holes.

 

 

Need

While written book reports are an important tool in developing and measuring reading comprehension, students seldom get to use a great deal of creativity when assigned projects of the solely written variety. By coupling reading comprehension with technology tools, students will build important reading and information literacy skills. While mastering vocabulary and syntax, they will also master software and digital technology that will prove helpful in multiple educational fields, as well as professional settings.

 

Additionally, students are learning how to use technology from a very young age, often times for entertainment value. By incorporating high-tech tools that they already use or may have more interest in using, teachers stand a greater chance of engaging those students in unique and exciting learning opportunities. As educators Anna Adam and Helen Mewers note, “With polls and statistics suggesting that more than 57 percent of teenagers have published on the Internet in some form or fashion, it's really about time for educators to get on board and start capitalizing on the plethora of tools that students already use.”1

 

There are two learner groups involved in this project. After reviewing sample products and directions, educators will be able to take these ideas back to the classroom or school library to incorporate into lesson plans.  Educators will be asked to take a brief online survey after exploring this site in an effort to get feedback about the implementation tools.

 

After completing these projects, students will have honed in on existing literacy skills, while further developing their technology know-how. Educators will be able to guage student achievement using a simple grading rubric provided here .

 

Technology Effectiveness

 

Tools:

 

GIMP and Photo Story for Windows

Students will be asked to use two technologies for this project, GIMP, the free downloadable photo editing software to create content, and Microsoft Photo Story to compile their digital photos or artwork into a "trailer" book report. Students can opt to use the drawing elements of GIMP, or use featured tools to edit digital photographs that they take. The Photo Story project provides visual learners to describe their reading experience in the way they learn best. They may be able to better realize and explain their opinions, views and interpretations of the story and literary content by creating their own visual images to accompany them.

 

Blogs and Wikis

Kinesthetic learners will appreciate the interaction and dynamic opportunities for classmates to interact with them as they discuss their respective book. Their peers can add and edit wikis and leave comments and notes in the discussion section of a blog. (Only a blog has been created as a sample under this heading.)

 

Audacity and Podcasts

Auditory learners will have the opportunity to develop their own classroom lecture or discussion and share it with their fellow classmates. It allows them to develop storytelling and vocabulary abilities and can help them improve their public speaking and communication skills.

 

            "Podcasted book reports provide a much-needed twist on a time-worn assignment, engaging students in developing their own perspectives, while also allowing themto hear recommendations by their peers on what to read. Podcasts can also be shared with others, including parents, who can learn what their kids are reading. Teachers could get     in on the action as well, commenting on student podcasts and adding their own. Libraries win, too, as students will naturally want to create podcast episodes about books not already reviewed, inspiring them to explore a wider variety of books, boosting reading skills along the way. With podcasting, we move beyond the two-dimensional paper book report to a dynamic product sure to excite students and adults alike."1

 

1Read the full article “Book Reports 21st Century Style” by Adam and Mewers, as featured in May, 2007 School Library Journal.

 

 

Technology Issues

Oddly enough, many school systems have now chosen to block mutliple Web 2.0 technologies, which prevent teachers and librarians from incorporating these digital tools into classroom assignments and learning from these resources for their own professional developemt.2

In such cases, the modern book reports featured on this site would be very difficult to implement without requiring that students to the bulk of the work at home or at their local public library. Given that not all students have access to their own computer at home, that makes the digital technology divide even wider and harder to span.  

 

2For more information on issues with blocking Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom, read the February, 2008 School Library Journal article, "Blocking Web 2.0 tools in schools: creating a new digital divide" by Esther Rosenfeld.