I’ve done it. I finally stood up in front of a group of people and put voice to all the ideas that have been bouncing around in my head and on this blog recently. It was quite cathartic and I actually felt like I knew what I was talking about. I gave my presentation after a colleague gave her great presentation on non-fiction literacy and while I think I did manage to touch on some very important topics I realised just before I was about to go up that my presentation had a very big gap in it; in all my big picture thinking I never took the time to think about strategies that my students can use to actually READ the information on a web page. This is ironic because it was the difficulties my students were having actually reading on a computer screen and sifting through all the words to find the stuff they really needed that got me thinking about literacy in the first place.
So today we had a staff meeting and tried to unpack what the actual things are that we do with our eyes and brains when we skim for information (in order to find the big ideas) and scan for information (in order to find answers). And this got me thinking about what a skills articulation might look like for non-fiction reading online. I think it has to start with a teacher or librarian picking good websites that are at an age appropriate level. These could then get bundled into a google custom search box. The students would have to be taught how to ask good questions and come up with appropriate keywords for their search. When they get some hits they should know how to toggle the cache so they can see all their key words highlighted; they should also know how to use the find feature in their web browser to search for further key words.
I think this is just the beginning though. I need to start modeling for them the strategies I use for reading online, how I scan and decide what is pertinent. And I need to make sure they get practice at this all the time.
The next step is to introduce them to google notebook, delicious and PLNs, but I think I’ll go one step at a time.
Picture from Flickr by Earl – What I Saw 2.0