Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Would Happen if Reading Was More Social?

It is hard to imagine my world without books yet for many students this is their reality. From a young age I could always remember my love for reading. For many, reading is a very personal and solitary activity. But things are about to change. You see it is now possible using eReaders like the Kindle to share ideas and engage others in the books that you are reading. With so many students engaged in the use of electronic and digital devices we have seen that the amount of time students are reading books has plummeted. Yet we know from a recent study ( 2010 Kids & Family Reading Report-published by the Harrison Group) that many students reported that they would be very interested in reading an e-book on an electronic device. Devices like the Kindle are very appealing reading devices because of all the built in features. Many students will enjoy the ability to change the size of the font or use the text to speech feature to have the book read to them. But from my perspective the Kindle opens up all kinds of possibilities for making reading a more social activity.

Now for a moment imagine that all of your students in your reading class had Kindles and were reading the same novel on their eReader. You with me so far? On the Kindle it is possible for the students to set up their social networks like Facebook and Twitter which would allow then to automatically post text they highlight in the book as well as notes they have taken on a particular passage. If all of the students have Facebook and Twitter accounts they can simply log into their accounts and view what their friends have posted about the book. If students use a simple # hashtag when posting their notes then it would be possible to search their Twitter accounts to see what everyone has posted. Likewise students could use a service like Tweetchat and with the hashtag have real time discussions about the book. Students would need to have access to WiFi to accomplish this, but as we move forward being able to utilize social networking to engage students in the reflection and discussion of the books they are reading can be a tipping point to more fully engage students in the reading process.Bring social networking into the reading process may just be the factor that keeps students engaged and coming back for more. I would be interested in your perspective so please leave comment.

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