What I’ve Been Reading

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted what I’ve been reading…

Books

I’ve read The Darkest Minds and Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken.  I have the third sitting on my bedside table to read this weekend and the fourth on reserve at the library.  My 15yo daughter is reading them after me.

I bought my first comics from Kings Comics in Sydney – Issues 1-3 of Water Weed, part of the Rivers of London/Peter Grant series.  I listened to the free audiobook A Rare Book of Cunning Device – a short story from the same series.

I read Perfect Sinners.  Are you my Mother? by Alison Bechdel.  Willy’s Stories by Anthony Browne.  A pile of graphic novels – Fahrenheit 451, The Night Bookmobile, Blue, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Lie and How We Told It, and Pitch Black.  The Night Bookmobile is more of an adult’s picture book than a graphic novel and a nice short story.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.  I gave this 5 stars.  It’s not a brilliant book that will win awards.  It was just exactly the book I needed to read.  I’ve loaned it to someone else who could do with its message.  Then I’ll read it again.

Web

Galiwin’ku library abandons Dewey Decimal System for one based on local Indigenous Knowledge.  I’m really excited about this.  I can’t fathom why we take the classification system of a racist, sexist, dead white guy and apply it to all libraries, everywhere.

Bear Finds a Voice is a digital story about bias in children’s literature.  Well worth five mins!

YA Books about social anxiety.  This issue is near to my heart and this list of books is quite long.  I’ve only read one book on this list – Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell (which I mentioned when discussing fanfic).

Book Week

I’m not currently working so I didn’t have to worry about Book Week preparations except to get my own kids ready for it.  My 8yo son has autism and has never wanted to dress up for Book Week before so I didn’t worry that he wanted to be Dash from The Incredibles (and, hey, there are Incredibles books!) and then my younger daughter wanted to be Jack Jack.  Older daughter should be self-explanatory.

Book Week 2018.  Composite photo of my children dressed up as Dash and JackJack from The Incredibles and Hermione from Harry Potter alongside pictures of those characters for comparison.

Multiliteracies

Literacies and Learning

This module opens with comment on the changes in literacy in modern times, including the tendency to skim read rather than read deeply.  In the last 48 hours, The Guardian has published a piece about how modern readers skim, which doesn’t give their brain time to do the deep thinking they need.  That we aren’t reading deeply, using our critical faculties and we are going to lose them.

This is why I am so upset by the dumbing down of our course.  We aren’t given much to sink our teeth into.  There isn’t much that invites critical reflection.

Especially this module.  I feel like we are just rehashing old ground.  We covered literacy and multiliteracies in ETL401.  We covered critical thinking.  We’ve covered picture books for older children in a previous module.  And this reading isn’t building on our old work and deepening it.  It’s just more of the same banal fluff.

What evidence is there that the library supports transliteracy practices? What do you think could be done better?

My public library offers free wifi access, free computer access with basic word-processing and some limited use of the internet and paid computer use with full internet access.  They provide a free tech help-desk service every day where people who are having tech issues can have them solved by a librarian.  Outside of the library our community is well serviced with free computer classes for seniors, and the library has offered these also from time to time.

Literary Learning

So, apparently “literary learning” isn’t really a thing its just a term they made up for our course to differentiate it from literacy.  Literary learning just means learning through literature, which presupposes a degree of literacy for it to be effective.

Then, to illustrate “literary learning” we get to watch this inane video, set to Vivaldi’s Spring, that is a glorified slideshow showing covers of books, sorted into maths concepts.  The content would be more useful in a list form, for starters, and maybe something that some teachers may find useful, but its not an academic source.  The video isn’t even Australian and, in my experience, a lot of the books on recommended lists like this that come from America aren’t readily available in Australia.  The only use I can see for this video is perhaps “creative ways you can promote your own school’s collection to staff”. But that’s not what it’s in the module for.  Not to mention this video is now seven years old (and the other video we needed to watch is nine years old).

Literacy and Learning

In part two of a three part module we have three pre-internet definitions of literacy from 1979-1990.  When we finally get to a proper reading (that isn’t a slideshow or a video) its only available if you borrow the book from the uni library.  It’s not digitised.  We are covering critical literacy all over again.

Anstey & Bull (2006) provide a useful definition of multiliteracies from A. Luke & peabody (2000), describing flexibility and the need for continued learning to maintain mastery, they have ignored several elements of literacy, including context and community.  This is where Belshaw’s Elements of Digital Literacy (2014) does a better job of outlining the different aspects of literacy across contexts.

The Eight Essential Elements of Digital Literacies
The eight essential elements of digital literacies. Licenced under Creative Commons Zero licence (Belshaw, 2017). Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ugnOTDQ9wGBl3DeGNvpFS3aBQ80GCuXdv2z4ZAi0ks8/edit#slide=id.g35464f8dbf_0_168

The definition of a text as something consciously constructed is interesting and would have been useful in previous sessions’ discussions about the nature of information.  The list of semiotic systems: linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial is helpful to keep in mind when teaching multiliteracy.  We covered intertextuality when we looked at post-modern picture books but the additional information in this reading is useful for conceptualising what intertextuality really is.  Intertextuality simply means that a text is referring to other texts to enrich the readers’ experience.  One example is the movie Shrek which relies on solid knowledge of fairy tales and the conventions of fairy tales, such as a magic, transformative kiss, and an epic quest to slay the dragon.

 

Transliteracies in the Library

I have not taught (in a paid fashion) for a very long time.  Too long.  But reading about the things I need to teach, and they ways I can teach them through picture books (Anstey & Bull, 2006; Winch, et al., 2014) are making me excited about the prospect of teaching again.

Brueck (2014) talks about how we have nearly the sum total of human knowledge in the palm of our hand in the form of a smartphone with internet access.  However, this is not true.  Only a small percentage of the web is freely accessible.  A vast majority of the content on the web is paywalled.  Even on a publicly accessible website such as Wikipedia, less than half of the articles cited in wikipedia entries are open access, according to analysis done by the Wikimedia Foundation.   The vast majority of human knowledge is not accessible to the average person.  Just wanted to clear that up.

After viewing (Break, 2014), think about ways you could develop the understanding of teachers and students through collaboration and implementation in your library. Can you think of a possible application to support literary learning? Share your ideas in the Module 5 Discussion forum.

Understandings of what? I think that you’re sorely mistaken if you think that a majority of teachers think that everything is still linear.  I think the speaker is also forgetting that people in their late 30s grew up with computers and had the internet in their teens.  Perhaps he learned to read and write only from paper but that doesn’t go for everyone.  Even in my little corner of outer western Sydney, a high proportion of the staff at my local primary school have Masters degrees.  Teachers aren’t stupid.

 

References

Anstey, M., & Bull, G. (2006). Teaching and learning multiliteracies: Changing times, changing literacies . Newark, Del.: International Reading Association. 

Belshaw, D. (2014). The essential elements of digital literacies. Retrieved from <http://digitalliteraci.es&gt;

Brueck, J. [ideastream]. 2014, November 18). 2014  IDEA talk: Jermey Brueck – Developing transliteracy [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/BpQrfPQA1Ao

Winch, G., Ross, J. R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2014). Literacy: reading, writing and children’s literature. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au

Qualitative Research Methods

Interviewing

My current plan for my assignment is to have some initial questionnaires and then follow that up with some exemplary case studies.  I envisage that the case study information will be drawn from interviews and possibly student work samples.

Based on the information in Bryman (2015) I am likely to take a semi-structured interview approach.  I’m interested in the possibilities of giving the interviewees the questions in advance, so they can think about their answers. I think this would lead to more considered answers (like in an email interview) but also has the advantage of spontaneity.  I would probably limit these interview case studies to three, half-hour interviews (which then would take about 3 hours each to transcribe).  Ideally these would be face to face interviews, but depending on how I do my sampling, the participants may be too remote to access physically, and in that case an interview via Skype or similar, providing a face to face live online interview.

Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Research

The method I intend to use is called a Explanatory Sequential Design where I use quantitative data to explain the qualitative data I have gathered, both the quantitative data is weighted as more important, and comes first.  The quantitative data will also be used as a method of identifying potential case study participants.

References

Bryman, A. (2015). Social research methods. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au

 

Quantitative Research Methods

Using Existing Data

Part of (what I hope will be) my research project proposal will draw from existing data – NAPLAN Data. So I chose this chapter (Bryman, 2015, Chapter 14) as my starting point (in two weeks of readings where there are seventeen readings to choose from).

Bryman (2015) discusses secondary analysis of data sets and details how to access that in the UK, but I wonder if we have anything comparable in Australia.  I know we have NAPLAN data and Census data, but I wonder if there is anything else publicly available and/or accessible?

The benefits of using existing data are that a small scale research project, such as a student project, will have access to a larger data set than they could survey in the time available, official statistics tend to be an unobtrusive method of researching, and the large sample sizes mean that the samples are more likely to be representative.  Some of the downsides are the manipulation of public data to make departments (such as the police department) look better, and how representative that data actually is, such as not all crimes being reported.

Using NAPLAN data falls somewhere between secondary analysis and official data because students sitting NAPLAN do know they are being tested, but it is official Government data.  My assignment will also use ABS census data for sampling purposes and this definitely comes under official statistics, although, again, people know they are being “examined”.

Self-Administered Questionnaires

I intend for the first part of my research project to include a self-administered questionnaire.  I would post this out, including a stamped, self-addressed envelope, but also include a link to an online version of the survey to mitigate the problems with postal surveys being lost.  The benefit of a self-administered questionnaire is that there is no researcher bias (either in influencing the answers given or the interpretation of the answers), the answers are returned relatively quickly, are easy to code afterwards and take much less time than face to face or telephone interviews.

 

References

Bryman, A. (2015). Social research methods. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au

Respected Professionals?

Teacher librarians are facing a public relations crisis.  We know from the House of Representatives report in 2011 that teacher librarians are either seen as “dragons in pearls” guarding the collection, or as poor-performing teachers placed in a role where they can “do the least harm”.  Schools around the world are shutting their libraries in favour of online media services.  The public wonders why we even have libraries in the days of Google.  Libraries in the US, UK and now Australia are losing government funding.  As teacher librarianship students we are told that we are training to be specialised professionals with valuable skills and knowledge to offer, but studies and actions show that teacher librarians are not highly valued.

Right now, I don’t know that I can argue differently.  In my post-graduate studies I am confronted with twaddle. For those not familiar with Charlotte Mason, books that are twaddle are ones that are dumbed-down (amongst other things).  I feel that I am not getting what I am paying for.  Or, really, what the government is currently loaning me money to pay for.

I am sick of my recommended readings in course content being filled with slideshows of 20+ slides that contain roughly 200-500 words with some pretty images and no real content.  I’m sick of videos of trailers for picture books, opinion pieces by book bloggers and videos that were obviously produced for high school or early college assignments.  I’m sick of out of date readings that refer to “up and coming” innovations like the Nook.  I’m sick of opinion pieces that are all fluff and no substance.

If we don’t have an evidence base for our practice, then how can we call ourselves a profession?  Article after article I read suggests that while we can show correlation between having a teacher librarian (or school librarian or other local variant) and improved academic performance on standardised testing, we don’t have a solid base of evidence for *what* a teacher librarian does that improves outcomes.

And why aren’t we engaging with controversial issues?  Maybe we will cover some of this when I get to cataloging next year, but I’ve read more on the controversial nature of cataloging that I imagine we will ever read in our course.  Why aren’t we looking at alternate career paths, the things that our library degree can train us for even when the job title doesn’t mention “library”? Why aren’t we examining the colonisation mentality that pervades libraries, and how we can knock down the institutional barriers to engaging meaningfully with indigenous people and respecting their knowledge, right to self-determination and a voice on their own matters?  Why aren’t we discussing that libraries aren’t neutral, that they aren’t a “safe space” for everyone?  Why am I learning far more from my own pursuit of professional development and knowledge than I am from a post-graduate degree?

Respected professionals?

Teacher librarians are facing a public relations crisis.  We know from the House of Representatives report in 2011 that teacher librarians are either seen as “dragons in pearls” guarding the collection, or as poor-performing teachers placed in a role where they can “do the least harm”.  Schools around the world are shutting their libraries in favour of online media services.  The public wonders why we even have libraries in the days of Google.  Libraries in the US, UK and now Australia are losing government funding.  As teacher librarianship students we are told that we are training to be specialised professionals with valuable skills and knowledge to offer, but studies and actions show that teacher librarians are not highly valued.

Right now, I don’t know that I can argue differently.  In my post-graduate studies I am confronted with twaddle. For those not familiar with Charlotte Mason, books that are twaddle are ones that are dumbed-down (amongst other things).  I feel that I am not getting what I am paying for.  Or, really, what the government is currently loaning me money to pay for.

I am sick of my recommended readings in course content being filled with slideshows of 20+ slides that contain roughly 200-500 words with some pretty images and no real content.  I’m sick of videos of trailers for picture books, opinion pieces by book bloggers and videos that were obviously produced for high school or early college assignments.  I’m sick of out of date readings that refer to “up and coming” innovations like the Nook.  I’m sick of opinion pieces that are all fluff and no substance.

If we don’t have an evidence base for our practice, then how can we call ourselves a profession?  Article after article I read suggests that while we can show correlation between having a teacher librarian (or school librarian or other local variant) and improved academic performance on standardised testing, we don’t have a solid base of evidence for *what* a teacher librarian does that improves outcomes.

And why aren’t we engaging with controversial issues?  Maybe we will cover some of this when I get to cataloging next year, but I’ve read more on the controversial nature of cataloging that I imagine we will ever read in our course.  Why aren’t we looking at alternate career paths, the things that our library degree can train us for even when the job title doesn’t mention “library”? Why aren’t we examining the colonisation mentality that pervades libraries, and how we can knock down the institutional barriers to engaging meaningfully with indigenous people and respecting their knowledge, right to self-determination and a voice on their own matters?  Why aren’t we discussing that libraries aren’t neutral, that they aren’t a “safe space” for everyone?  Why am I learning far more from my own pursuit of professional development and knowledge than I am from a post-graduate degree?

What I’ve Been Reading

Books

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso is the first graphic novel to be longlisted for the Man Booker prize.  I bought myself a copy and read it on Saturday night.  It didn’t immediately resonate with me, and at first I was a little unsatisfied with the ending, but it has improved with time to ponder it.

Web

After talking about Literature Map the other day, I discovered this article about NoveList. It’s a subscription database, so it may not be available to everyone, but it sounds like fun.

In a world of standardised testing and the like, Storytelling in the classroom is dying.  Students are missing out on precious learning when we remove stories and just communicate bare facts.

The Guardian posted a list of 10 graphic novels everyone should read.  There’s plenty of inspiration here for me!

Why Reading for Pleasure is Important. I wish I could have incorporated this into my assignment (but I ran out of word count).

Graphic Novels 101. I love the three criteria at the end to assess the value of the graphic novel.

 

Born Digital Literature

Hypertext Fiction

2010
What year do you think this website was designed?

Continuing my rant about the dated course content is this delightful example of an academic course reading.  I understand that our current subject coordinator, Jennie Bales, is not responsible for updating the course so I know she is not to blame.  But this woefully outdated website is one of my academic readings for a masters level degree.  Even ignoring the dreadful site design, the content is out of date.  Even reading the first line of information “Hypertext fiction is found mostly online and in the form of CD Roms.” (Kozdras, 2010, para 1) shows you how out of date it is – modern computers don’t even come with a CD-ROM drive anymore.  Adding to this is the number of “error” and “404 not found” results I got when clicking on links from this page.  Every single link I clicked on was a dead link.  This is not an academic reading.  This is laziness.

Then we come to “reading” number 2.  Browsing in the “Electronic Literature Collection” that is older than any child in primary school today.  Everything on there that I clicked on either required Flash (which is still available but not supported by most browsers) or required downloading some other program to view it.

Inanimate Alice is painful in the first episode.  I’m told it gets better but I didn’t want to spend 15-30 mins viewing each episode 2-4 (beyond that they are paid only).

The content of these readings tells me that either our lecturers were incredibly lazy or hypertext fiction is a dying art that briefly flourished in the early noughts.  Whether hypertext fiction is a victim of the changes in technology or whether it’s just not really a thing anymore (and if it isn’t, why are we still covering it?)

Fan Fiction

Since we are talking about fan fiction, I thought I would share some crossover fan fiction that dropped into my twitter feed last week.

Fan Fiction 1 by @marauders4evr

Fan Fiction 2 by @marauders4evr

Fan Fiction 3 by @marauders4evr

Burns & Webber (2009) write about how teens’ attempts at writing fan fiction are dismissed as pointless, as they are not creating original characters and storylines, and that teachers push them towards original works.  This is the storyline (well a part of it) of Rainbow Rowell’s novel Fan Girl.  The protagonist, Cath, is a respected fan fiction writer, at least in her fan fiction community but faces opposition when she goes to college and enrols in a creative writing program.

The fact is, we are never writing from scratch.  We are not a tabula rasa.  Most women in fiction are based on one of three archetypes – virgin, mother or whore.  We use stereotypes all the time as a kind of shorthand.  We rely on our readers’ knowledge of pop culture or mythology or history to give them information about our character without having to spell it all out.  If you have a character who is into Star Trek and computer programming and wears glasses, you have a stereotypical geek.  When we write our stories we are drawing on our reader’s understandings of the world.  Is it that big a deal if the “world” in question isn’t our world but Hogwarts, or Middle Earth, or The Oasis, or the Land of Oz?

The readings for fan fiction are also dreadfully dated, with only one meeting the criteria of being written within the last five years. Online spaces change quickly!

Literature Apps

There is really very little to this section of the course content.  The most helpful thing is the brief (and in my mind, obvious) explanation of the differences between an e-book and a book app (an ebook requires another app to read it, such as Kindle, or iBooks) whereas a book app is an app in its own right.  Bird (2011) provides some useful questions to ask for selection purposes but it’s really applying book and other media selection criteria to an app.  It’s nothing earth-shattering.  It honestly comes down to the question I’ve been asking over and over throughout this course – what advantages are brought by having this available in app form? Is the app flexible enough to do what you want to do with it? Because if an electronic version doesn’t bring a distinct advantage then why do we bother?

References

Bird, E. (2011). Planet APP. School Library Journal, 57(1), 26. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=57053781&site=ehost-live

Burns, E., & Webber, C. (2009).  When Harry met Bella . School Library Journal, 55(8), 26-29.  Retrieved from http:// http://www.slj.com

Hayles, Montfort, Rettberg & Strickland (2006)  Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1, (October 2006). Published by Electronic Literature Organization.

Kozdras, D. (2010).  Hypertext fiction: Interactive learning adventures in education Retrieved from http://myweb.usf.edu/~dkozdras/HypertextFiction/Templates/page.htm

Graphic Novels

As I have written previously, I bought my first graphic novel this year as part of the Peter Grant series.  I now own six graphic novels – five from the Peter Grant series and also the Man Booker Longlisted graphic novel Sabrina.  As I studied graphic novels in preparation for my ETL402 assignment, I had a new appreciation for the genre.  I began to borrow and read a lot of graphic novels.  However, I’ve come to the conclusion that graphic novels just aren’t my thing.  I respect them as a genre, but they aren’t what I want to spend my time reading.  And that’s ok.

That’s also not going to stop me from checking out Kings Comics in Sydney this afternoon ;-).

Literature in the Digital Environment

Literature in the Digital Environment

How much of this is (toddlers and young children using iPads) experiential play and how much is actual literacy ie. engaging with and making meaning from information on the screen?

An iPad can be a useful teaching tool.  On a personal note, my now eight year old son, who has autism, intellectual disabilities and global developmental delay learnt to recognise and name all the letters of the alphabet before he started school, because he was engaged in and enjoyed using an app my mum had purchased that involved tracing the letters on the screen, with the app announcing the name of each letter.  However, they can only ever be a tool.  They are not teachers.  They are interactive only to the point to which they are programmed.  They can never be uniquely responsive in the way a parent or teacher is.

Proper experiential play happens with physical objects not just representations on a flat screen.  An iPad can never replace exploring the world.  Wise selection of apps can enhance learning but never replace real world experiences.

Some literacy activities can happen on a screen, such as my aforementioned anecdote about my son.  Struggling readers can read an electronic book, and tap the unfamiliar words on the screen to help with pronunciation, or they can have the book read to them and read along with it.  An interactive ebook may provide additional interest and engagement to a struggling reader who is disengaging with reading because it is seen as too hard.  However, the human element is not absent as it requires a skilled, knowledgeable teacher or librarian to select the best apps and titles to promote reading, and to provide supervision and discretion to observe who is using the iPad app for its intended purpose or who is just playing.

I am frustrated, again, with the dated articles we are recommended to read for this subject, especially on the topic of digital literature.  The article by Springen (2010) was published eight years ago, and much has changed in the digital media space in that time. Children’s book sales have increased, proving that digital media is not a threat to children’s publishing.  Barnes and Noble and Borders have gone bankrupt, and taken the Nook down with them.  While the article may have been informative in 2010 it doesn’t tell us anything new now.

Despite being a more up to date article, Cullen (2015) also fails to shine any new light on the issue.  She is overly optimistic about the skills that video games can teach (inquiry learning??) and while I am certain that there are some high quality games out there that promote problem solving skills, cooperation and inquiry learning, they are few and far between.  I also don’t think that Apple’s App Store ratings are the best guide to suitability and quality.  A game that is well developed and fun to play will get a five star rating regardless of whether it actually promotes any qualities we would like to see in our children or students, and fails to take into account whether it supports any learning goals.  There are many better curation tools available to use than the App Store ratings.

Choose one (trend) and evaluate its impact on the teacher librarian’s role in schools.

3. Curation in the app store continues to be a significant sales driver and signs are its role will continue to expand. (Friedlander, 2013).

Curation is one of the roles of the teacher librarian.  TLs need to be aware of what is on the market, whether an app supports the curriculum, whether it adds anything apart from novelty to the teaching and learning, whether it is a cost effective method of teaching and learning and what licensing is available for school use – can the school legally purchase one copy of the app to then put on a class set of iPads, or all the iPads in the school? A teacher librarian may not be given the resources to purchase a single copy of an app for evaluation purposes and may need to rely on reviews and personal recommendations.  If purchasing iPad apps and ebooks is within the scope of the TL, they would do well to find some reputable reviewers of both ebooks and apps for evaluation.

While Lamb and Johnson’s (2010a) article is old, it actually does stand up well.  I think this article should be supplemented with a list of more up to date book-electronic media cross-overs, however.  Reading some of this honestly makes me want to become a secondary teacher, as the technology and skills are just not there in primary schools.  An augmented reality picture book would be awesome.

Digital Literature

I’ve long contended that listening to audiobooks still counts as reading, and it seems the research backs me up (Dahl, 2016).  This article relates to adults specifically but I think it still applies, though in different ways, to younger children.  To a younger child, an audiobook serves a similar role to an adult reading a book aloud.  The child can be exposed to new words and concepts which will increase their print reading ability and confidence, especially if they are able to follow along in a print book at the same time. Even when reading and decoding is not yet second nature, audiobooks are still reading.

For young children, however, the best way for them to make connections between the different parts of their brain, and understanding the book, is by having an illustrated book read aloud to them (Kamenetz, 2018).  This method was shown to be the best for brain activity, compared with audio alone or an animated story.  This research suggests that when selecting illustrated ebooks for young children, the more basic, the better.

Think about how you process information and read. Are young people any different? Do they use technology differently to older people?

I know I read better from paper than the screen.  When I need to proofread my assignments I print them out, and if I have a particular research study that is vital to an assignment, I’ll print it out.  But the ease of screen reading in portability and not taking up any space wins out most of the time.  I can listen to audiobooks or podcasts but I need to be doing something else menial while I do it or else I can’t concentrate. I find they are best for when I’m walking or running, driving or doing housework tasks like washing dishes or folding washing.  I find online webinars really difficult to focus on due to the predominance of audio information, and I hate watching information-based videos, powerpoint presentations with audio etc as I would much rather just read an article about it.  Other people, especially those who have poorer literacy or are slow readers benefit from video based presentations.

My observation of young people using technology is limited mostly to my own children.  I do see them choosing more passive forms of entertainment on the iPad (YouTube videos) over interactive or creative apps (Minecraft, Toca Boca apps) where as I get too easily distracted to want to watch them, or will watch TV while completing other tasks such as folding washing.  Electronic media has benefits for older people, even when they are afraid of the technology.  Text size can be increased to deal with failing eyesight issues, and is more readily accessible than large print books (and an e-reader or tablet is a lot lighter than a large-print book also!).

Digitally decontextualised literary texts

Some electronic or digital texts, are simply a reproduction of the original content, with a NEXT button replacing the action of turning the page.  Blue by Pat Grant is one such example.  Lamb and Johnson (2010b) provide some useful suggestions for integrating multimedia into the classroom, rather than relying on print.  Picture books in the digital world (Yokota & William, 2014) provides some guidelines for assessing the suitability of electronic books for preschoolers to year two.  I disagree with the authors, however, that digital books have earned their place in the preschool and kindergarten classroom.  Young children still need the physical experience of a book, and I don’t think electronic books will ever replace that.  I also don’t think that a child under the age of eight who has never read an electronic book is missing out on anything.  Secondary students who are more adept with technology, and are more easily able to transfer their knowledge across platforms and subjects will get more benefit from electronic media.

When we talk about students’ experiences at home and at school, stating that they are far more engaged in electronic media outside of the school (Larson, 2009), assumes that students have reliable internet access at home and a device they can access it on, which is not always the case.  Rural students in particular, even if they are not facing poverty, struggle with unreliable internet access and limited access for purchasing a device or necessary repairs.  We cannot, and should not, assume that all students are enmeshed in electronic media, nor should we make that the be all and end all of classrooms.

Today (20th Aug) the Public Libraries in NSW Facebook page shared a link to this article which lead me to the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature. There are over 6000 titles of mid- to late-19th Century children’s literature from the UK and USA.  The digital archive could be useful when examining the period historically, such as learning about children’s toys (a suggested unit in Stage 2 science in NSW), examining racism in the past, and for secondary students studying history, or the history of child development, morality or even fashion.

References

Cullen, M. (2015, December 21). How is interactive media changing the way children learn. In EducationTechnology. Retrieved from https://educationtechnologysolutions.com.au/2015/12/how-is-interactive-media-changing-the-way-children-learn/

Dahl, M. (2016, August 10). To your brain, listening to a book is pretty much the same as reading it. In The cut. Retrieved from https://www.thecut.com/2016/08/listening-to-a-book-instead-of-reading-isnt-cheating.html

Friedlander, A. (2013, November 26) Ten trends in interactive media for children from dust or Magic, Retrieved from http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/ten-trends-in-interactive-media-for-children-from-dust-or-magic/ No longer available

Kamenetz, A. (2018, May 24). What’s going on in your child’s brain when you read them a story? In KQED: MindShift. Retrieved from https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/51281/whats-going-on-in-your-childs-brain-when-you-read-them-a-story

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2010a).  Divergent convergence part 1: Cross-genre, multi-platform, transmedia experiences in school libraries . Teacher Librarian 37(5), 76-81. Retrieved from http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/ 

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2010b). Divergent Convergence part 2: Cross-genre, multi-platform, transmedia experiences in school libraries. Teacher Librarian 38(1), 64-69. Retrieved from http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/

Larson, L. C. (2009). E-reading and e-responding: New tools for the next generation of readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53, 255-258. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1936-2706

Springen, K. (2010, July 19). The digital revolution in children’s publishing. Publisher’s Weekly. Retrieved from http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/43879-the-digital-revolution-in-children-s-publishing.html.

Yokota, J. & William, H. T. (2014). Picture books in the digital world. The Reading Teacher, 67(8), 577-585. Retrieved from http://www.readingteacher.com/
This article includes some useful selection criteria to inform collection development of digital texts.