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April 28, 2011 / Thinknology

Reading online and textbooks

An article called “Technology helps make language click for students” by Kevin Simpson ran in the Denver Post recently. He describes a high school freshmen English class where students blend reading online and reading the printed page. The students read novels, essays, short stories and so on just like any other English class. However, the content is as likely to be found online as it is in a book.

The teacher, Cari Roberts, says, ”

“They know that reading online or reading a textbook is part of their lives. I don’t think they see it as either this or that. I think they’re incorporating both.”

The article goes on to say:

In this gateway class to high school reading and writing, Roberts wields every tool available to lift students toward “new literacies,” the confluence of language and technology that’s evolving as fast as researchers can study it.

“Today’s teens have grown up zooming among hyperlinks in cyberspace and conversing in an online world of Twitter and text messaging where acronyms, assorted shortcuts and creative punctuation have redefined everyday discourse.

And while it may not carry the gravitas of Dostoevsky, it all adds up: Experts figure that kids today read and write even more than previous generations. And they do so in a broader and more complex environment — though not always in academic ways.”

The message is that technology is not replacing the printed page or vice versa but that students must be able to read text in all kinds of media to function in today’s world.

I wonder how many classrooms across the country are adopting Ms. Roberts methods to teach students to read and learn.

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