In a fascinating New Yorker article, Maria Konnikova discusses the differences in reading comprehension across different media. Konnikova cites research into various issues such as Internet-enabled devices, scrolling, layout and hyperlinks. Researchers hypothesize that deep reading – the thoughtful, reflective process of really synthesizing what you’re reading – is taking a hit when readers are using a Kindle or iPad.
So, the first response might be to say that, well we’re not going to use eDevices then…we’ll still teach using books, newspapers and magazines. That might work for a while, but we’re obviously doing our students a tremendous disservice if we make that call.
I think this is just fascinating. Of course we need way more research into this, but it’s one more task that faces those of us in ed tech…how to teach our kids to adapt to the changes technology brings.
What do you think?
I’m as guilty as many at getting much of my news from Facebook. I suspect that my students will have a future where social news is far more prevalent than, well, reading a newspaper.
A recent share from a friend on Facebook got me to thinking about this phenomenon.
First, the photo and caption:
Sometimes I read the comments before actually reading the article. I’m interested in what people have to say. I was shocked by the venomous comments about Islam and Muslims. And I’m sure my friend shared it with that same response of outrage about the mistreatment of women.
Then I read the article.
Well, it started with a big, bold paragraph about an alleged edict that probably was a hoax. A horrible hoax designed to discredit Isis.
A different story than the one implied by the click bait caption.
A powerful message to read before you like, share or comment.
How do we teach this?
Like everyone else, I’ve been reading all the back-and-forth about the need to teach programming. Like everyone else, I’m wondering when we’re supposed to find the time to do it. “How many languages can we teach in one day?” I ask…
An article in Mother Jones addresses this issue, stating that “computer literacy is the key to winning the 21st century.” I’m not exactly sure what winning the century means, but I found the article a fascinating read.
Time? We just don’t have so much of it.
One way our school addressed this was to start an extra-curricular Code Club run by parents. Students sign up (and pay separately) and come to school on a Sunday evening to learn how to code. It was immensely popular…with the kids who were interested in coding. Obviously, since this was a self-selected group, it was, well, great for the kids who identified an interest.
But it occurs to me that “winning the 21st Century” needs to be about getting everybody on board, or at least more students than the ones who self-identify as wannabe programmers.
The article at Mother Jones brings up a different tactic, one that I’m interested in exploring; the principle of computational thinking. This intrigues me. It’s about teaching kids how to approach solving problems in a systematic, logical manner.
I recently worked with our 7th graders to design digital scavenger hunts using ARISgames. It’s a terrific platform, and requires no programming skills. But it does require some careful thinking about what needs to be in place in order to make things happen. It also requires careful attention to syntax (and what 7th grader cares about syntax? Slashes…we don’t need no stinkin’ slashes…).
Most of the kids loved it.
Maybe that’s the way to go…computational thinking, not programming. If they want to learn to code later, so be it. But maybe, for now, we’ll teach them how to create, how to use systematic thinking to solve their problems and get from here to there.
Last week, during the confirmation service, one of the kids spoke about something that happened in Israel during a synagogue trip. She used the story to illustrate, to her, that Judaism is capable of evolving.
During a b’nai mitzvah service in Israel, it was discovered that no one had brought a yad (the pointer which helps you keep your place while reading the sacred scroll without touching it) for the Torah reading. Our quick-thinking rabbi pulled a pen out of his pocket as a substitute and proceeded with the service. (I’m sure it was held in such a way that there was no potential damage to the Torah.)
Clearly this had an impact on our young student, who thought enough of the incident to relate it last night.
I’m sure that the event was quickly forgotten by many of the people in attendance. But not everyone. As educators, we need to remember that you never know what small gesture will have the greatest impact on our students. I know I can use this reminder. Small things (or words) matter.