#EduConText Session 2: Towards an e-Book Quality Rating Tool for Early Elementary Literacy Instruction

Towards an e-Book Quality Rating Tool for Early Elementary Literacy Instruction

When: Session Two: Saturday 12:30pm–2:00pm Where:Room 300 Who: Jeremy Brueck

Affiliation: University of Akron Conversational Focus/Audience: Elementary School

E-books1 are certainly on the rise. And, since, they’re well on their way into the mainstream, it seems to me that we should be talking about the place of the e-book in our classrooms, especially since I’ve seen so many conversations about e-books that focuses solely on the positives – without consideration for the limitations. 2

So I’m curious to attend Jeremy Brueck’s session on developing a tool for thinking about the use of e-books in early elementary settings. It seems to me that Barnes & Noble and other vendors are thinking quite a lot about how to put e-books into the hands of early readers – and that there are some powerful opportunities there for improving reading and the experience of learning to read.

Heading into the session, I’d be thinking about these questions:

  • Are e-books really “just like traditional books” when it comes to elements of readability and story? If so, how do we know?
  • What considerations for availability and access do we need to consider in order to have quality and meaningful access to e-books in an early elementary environment?
  • When do we need to employ e-books in an early elementary environment, anyway?

In the session itself, I’d probably be curious about others’ experiences with rolling out shared e-books, and how the tools and infrastructure support “classroom sets” of e-books. It seems to me that the ease of access issues of e-books are also tied up most trickily with publishers’ desires to eliminate books as shared objects. I’m not sure how to move forward in that environment when many of the assumptions that we’ve made about how books “work” will change drastically in an e-book classroom.

Who gets to make the e-books that we read in schools? One advantage of e-books is that we can make them as easily as we can read them. How does that change the classroom?

I’ve lots of e-book questions, it seems. I suspect the conversation in this session will lead me to more, especially as the talk moves into evaluation. Lots there to explore.

Educonners – What’s catching your eye for session two?

What is #EduConText?

  1. or e-Books, or E-Books, or e-books, or ebooks, or whatever []
  2. And e-books come, right now, with many strings attached. []
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#EduConText Session 1: “I’m From the Education Department and Am Here to Help” and other bedtime stories: A conversation about how to make and influence policy with some who do.

“I’m From the Education Department and Am Here to Help” and other bedtime stories: A conversation about how to make and influence policy with some who do.

When:Session One: Saturday 10:00am–11:30amWhere:Room Drama StudioWho:Jonathan Becker, Julia Fallon, Cathy Higgins, Doug Levin

Affiliation: Virginia Commonwealth University (Becker), Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, EdTech (Fallon), New Hampshire Department of Education, EdTech (Higgins), State Educational Technology Directors Association (Levin)Conversational Focus/Audience:All School Levels

Education policy, or any policy, for that matter, fascinates me.  It’s a complicated process to turn an idea into a law and a law into practice and practice into useful action.  And the ideas we start with often don’t come out of the policy process as the things we wanted.  It’s terribly, terribly hard.  And often tedious, which is why, I suspect, plenty of people have no interest in the work.1

But I’m pretty interested in this session, where four folks who fiddle with policy will be digging in.  I’ve written local policy, and worked hard to influence the process at the local, state, and federal levels.  I know that it’s not just being right that matters – it’s being intentional about plenty of other elements of the process.  Were I sitting in the room for this session, I’d be wondering things like:

  • How do you know which policy battles are worth fighting?
  • What kinds of things make sense in policy?  What don’t?
  • How do the rules of a policy-making body influence the way policy gets made?
  • When does it make sense to revise?  When is it wise to start fresh?

I might also look to those in attendance when I ask about these questions:

  • What policies have you helped to craft?  Did they end up as you had hoped?
  • How do the policymakers in your communities seek out your voice?
  • How do you make sure that your voice is heard in policy conversations?
  • How do you help your students to understand the policy environments that affect them?
  • How should teachers and students speak truth to power?  What place does that have in a policy conversation?

What would you ask if you were in that room?  What do you want that group to know about your experiences?  What questions should folks like me be asking?

What is #EduConText?

  1. That said, the description mentions a policy game.  Do you think there’s a board?  Action figures?  I’m intrigued. []
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Enter #EduConText

Teachers should create. Coversations can lead to tremendous bursts of creation and excitement. Capturing creation through writing and returning to it later is how innovative ideas are refined.

Enter #EduConText.

Each day leading up to EduCon, Zac Chase and I will write about some of our thinking surrounding selected EduCon sessions.  We’ll also share some questions to prompt your own thinking and inquiry around the ideas we see that might arise in the session.  There are plenty of fine sessions at the conference.  We’ll pick a few of them.  You choose some others.

#EduConText is about moving into EduCon conversations with the same critical lenses we help our students refine each day. Because a rah rah chorus of excitement and enthusiasm isn’t really going to do much to make our schools better places.

And, of course, the Internet is a free place. For now.  So you should feel free to write along with us.  Prompt us.  Share your thinking.  Preflect on the conversations you’re planning on joining. Dig in.

During EduCon, we’ll be supplying some writing prompts to help attendees, both virtual and face to face, archive their written thinking around the conversations in which they take part.  Because your learning is worth remembering.

After EduCon, we’ll encourage folks to set writing goals for themselves that will allow them to reflect on how they incorporate new ideas into their practice and around documenting what they want to be sure to keep.

How can you participate?

Simply add the tag “#EduConText”1 to your blog, wiki, and twitter posts (or any other kind of post). From there, we’ll archive the tag and see what we build.  Mostly, we hope that #EduConText is a gentle reminder to write and write often about what you’re seeing, hearing and thinking.

Worth doing, right?

Let’s get to it.

  1. Or “educontext.”  Either way. []
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#NDOW: Prompt 1

I’ll try to post a prompt or two today, on this , just in case you need an idea or two to get you started.  Here’s one:

r☼sita
Creative Commons License photo credit: schaaflicht

It’s a day to wear purple, a day to say “no more.”  But more important, it’s a day to make change.  The good kind.  Write about the change you’d like to see, or the change you’re making, or the change you will make.  Or, write about who you’re hoping to make change for.

The gallery I’ve created is here in case you’d like to submit what you write.

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