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Putting the e_in_r_eading_e_readers_and_lit

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  • 1. Putting the "E" in rEading: Using E-Readers for literacy in the middle school classroom Christine M Smith SJC Educ 515 10-12-2011
  • 2. Introduction
      • Extant literature focused principally on the effects of e-books on emergent and early elementary readers
      • E-books and e-readers may soon be part of every classroom in America according to Mardis, Everhart, Smith, Newsum, Baker (2010) 
      • With the introduction of the Amazon Kindle 1:1 student access to electronically delivered digitized text is feasible
  • 3. Introduction continued...
      • Case studies such as Mardis, et al (2010) suggest fully integrating digitized textbooks at the high school level
      • Princeton and other major universities have moved to all digital textbooks
      • Under researched populations relative to electronic text and electronic reading devices as they affect and support literacy skills in the classroom are struggling readers and middle school aged students 
  • 4. Purpose of the study
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    • The purpose of this case study will be to describe the benefits of using electronic books and dedicated electronic readers to enhance students’ responses to text and to provide specific instruction for using electronic reading devices to support struggling readers.The case study will describe how e-readers can advance e-book readership for students in the middle school at the Wheeler School.
  • 5. Research Questions
    • The case study is designed to focus on these questions:
      • How can wireless digital reading devices support struggling (as identified by the teacher) middle school readers in their reading processes as they read and respond to digital text?
      • How do wireless digital reading devices advance e-book readership for middle school students as they offer new ways to access and manipulate texts?
  • 6. Literature Review
      • “ But the question remains: Are e-readers desirable pedagogically” (Wetschler, 2011, p.23). 
      • “ Questions remain unanswered regarding how middle school student users feel about e-books, their experiences in different contexts and aspects of e-books that facilitate engagement” (Shin, 2010, p.261). 
      • "The New Literacies perspective acknowledges that new literacies are persistently evolving and challenges teachers to transform reading instruction in response to emerging instructional computer technologies.” (Larson, 2010, p. 16) 
      • Korat and Shamir, 2007, the new technologies have the potential to support cognitive development and learning 
  • 7. Literature Review continued...
      • “ For older children who are confirming their decoding skills and developing fluency, less evidence is available. Little information is available regarding how struggling readers respond to e-books with hypermedia features.” (Zucker, et al, 2009, p78) 
      • Larson (2010) forms of electronic books have been available for two decades, studies examining how students interact with and respond to e-book texts are still few and results are somewhat conflicting. 
      • Larson (2010) because e-books can be presented in an individualized format, students with special needs (ELL, visually impaired, struggling readers) may benefit from the additional text tools available with the use of electronic text
  • 8. Literature Review continued...
      • According to Zucker, et al, (2009) there is a “dearth of studies on the use of e-books with struggling readers” (p.77). 
      • Zucker, et al, (2009) in considering the effectiveness of e-books for different profiles of readers, the extant literature provides little information for struggling readers or children diagnosed with reading disabilities because no experimental studies addressed the population
      • Larson (2010) “The lack of research published on the topic hinders the efforts made by educators and administrators who wish to integrate digital texts into their current curricula or school libraries
  • 9. Research Methods
      • Mr. Abeshouse will select a novel available in digital form that is of high interest to and on an appropriate level for his sixth graders
      • The proposed study and data collection will focus on the students Mr. Abeshouse identifies as struggling, either with comprehension or engaging with the text, they will be the digital reader group
      • The remaining student in Mr. Abeshouse's class will read from the print version of the novel for close reading, note-taking and journal responses
  • 10. Methods continued....
      • For the purposes of this study a dedicated mobile reading device was chosen to focus the research on the students’ interaction with the digitized text and subsequent enhancements that allow for individual manipulation and response to that text
      • Students in the Kindle Readers group will be given thorough instruction relative to the functions of the device 
      • Data collection will be ongoing and will include analysis of the types of response notes the students create while using an e-reader
  • 11. Methods continued....
      • Understanding of the story, personal meaning and connections, questioning, desire for more information; answering in response to questions in the text and text features/literary evaluation
      • Observations and interviews will be among the principle data sources. Detailed data will be gathered through open ended questions
      • Students’ digital notes and markups will be collected for careful examination and data will be analyzed for emerging categories of information
  • 12. Methods continued....
      • The classroom teacher will develop assessments used by the researcher to evaluate the students’ comprehension of the novel, evaluating the depth and quality of the responses to the text 
      • Additional data analysis will be based on a brief online survey that will focus on the students’ experience with the Kindle Readers and how they might advance e-book readership for middle school aged students
      • Wheeler Middle School e-book reader survey  
  • 13. Research Limitations
      • The results may not be generalizable because of the case study’s small sample size
      • The results may reflect the behavior, attitudes, learning profiles and socio-economic status of the students in a small independent day school in an urban setting
      • The results may not reflect the experience of students at other schools and those schools facing funding and staffing issues
  • 14. Research Limitations continued....
      • Research conducted with e-readers is inherently difficult as a result of the rapid change in e-reader technology
      • Currently there is no research discerning the effects these frequent changes may have on student interaction with digitized text 
      • The study does not further the research on the use of e-reading devices as an adaptive technology for students diagnosed with language based learning differences and Dyslexia at the middle school level
  • 15. Results and discussion
      • Promoting new literacy practices that encourage struggling readers to extend connections between reading and text as engagement with and manipulation of the text is facilitated through the use of electronic readers and the imbedded features
      • Students feel more in control of their reading with digital text then printed text allows as they can customize the experience
      • Students who participate in the digital reader project will report on their preferences for engaging with written text 
  • 16. Results and discussion continued
      • Other middle school teachers will consider a similar case study broaden the sample  and provide support to struggling readers in their respective classrooms
      • Administrators will consider the feasibility of acquiring digital reading devices for students in the middle school
      • Students  in the digital reader group will indicate an interest in checking out e-books loaded on to an e-reader from the Prescott Library at the Wheeler School
      • Funds will be allocated in the budget to support and further develop the e-reader initiative of the school/library
  • 17. Future research 
      • Questions of comprehension and reading fluency  require a broader study with the inclusion of various grade levels across a longer period of time with varied demographics
      • One aspect of e-Readers upon which teachers and researchers can rely is that the technology will continue to change as the market demands; therefore the research must be ongoing
      • Further research on the use of e-reading devices as an adaptive technology for students diagnosed with language based learning differences and Dyslexia at the middle school level
  • 18. Conclusion
      • A need for progressive and active research in the area of mobile digital devices needs to be on going and aggressive as changes occur regularly with new technologies
      • Qualitative studies advance the development of pedagogical possibilities for the use of e-books and e-readers in support of reading literacy competencies beyond the early reader stage
      • Populations, underrepresented in the existing literature, will benefit from further study as digitized text and digital readers increasingly impact the educational landscape

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