07 June 2012

E-Annotating (Part 2)

E-books offer many ways for us to increase student engagement with texts. I highly recommend Adam Renfro's article on Getting Smart (sourced from Deliciouswhich rang all sorts of educational bells with me and inspired some of this post. 

Following on from Annotating Part 1, I'd like to offer a brief share of some of the practices which I have found come with e-reading. Late last year I read my first full book using Kindle e-book software on an iPad (I read it but I don't get it, which I have blogged about before) and immediately explored the options for annotating.

This image shows how you can leave notes or questions on the text. I found this practice had a similar effect to those I discussed in my earlier post about paper/pen annotations. This annotation could be used to record students' personal connections to the text, as Cris Tovani suggests in her book. I would also use this aspect for student questions about a text, as the note allows them to specify the type of question which they had. 

Highlighting is invaluable, but I found myself only selecting individual words as it was difficult to select a chunk of text. However, this is still so useful in the classroom. Students could be asked to highlight something specific, such as the verbs in a passage or the figurative language, or some other relevant textual feature. I envisage students then sharing their selections with other individuals/pairs/groups, followed by using the note-making application to show their interpretation of the textual features.

Once I was finished the text, I found that the notes were not as easy to find in the text as the highlighted sections, which stand out on the electronic pages. That was until I discovered that I could search for all 'Notes and Marks'. When I wanted to peruse this text again, I used the Notes and Marks as a guide to what I had deemed salient on first reading. It allowed me to quickly find the section on connections to the text which I wrote about in a subsequent post on Cris Tovani's work.

As I said earlier on, e-books offer many ways to increase student engagement with texts, and I would have to devote a month of blog posts to all of them if I were to do them justice. I hope that as e-books become more available, I can develop further e-annotation strategies.

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