The classroom is changing big time as is the way of studying literature in schools.
This week I was honoured to be invited to Brighton Grammar School to check out a research study by The Crowther Centre to compare the differences and possible benefits of working with digital text/e-books – using Apple iPads – compared to working with a physical book. The thrilling part for me is that they’re using my title, The Doublecross, published by Pearson Education (Rigby), as the featured text.
The Doublecross is set in China and was written as a result of my experiences during my time teaching there in 2006. An adventure, chapter book, The Doublecross is ideal for grade sixes participating in the study, particularly as several students have actually been to China.
One group is reading the physical book and the other the iPad version.
It was exciting for me to visit the two participating classes and see the research study in action using my book, and to spend time talking with the students about their preferred method of study and their reasons why.
Grade six boys + iPad technology, I don’t think I have to tell you their preference. I was seriously impressed with how engaged the boys were with the gestural technology, and their explanations of the learning value of the e-book on iPads. But, of course, the biggie was simply, “It’s more fun”.
The ease of annotating text, highlighting words, and access to an instant dictionary certainly seemed great bonuses and I could easily see how these did make learning “more fun”.
The true results and impact on learning won’t be known until the study is complete. Meanwhile, digital readers and applications are no doubt going to be a huge part of our future reading experience. In years to come these same kids, and their successors, will no doubt find printed books very “old school”.
Still I’m a huge fan of the physical, printed book. And I’m hoping (am I asking too much?) to see a string of my novels published in print form too, because I love the tactile aspect, the gorgeous covers, standing for hours in bookshops seeking out treasures, and most important – the idea of seeing my own future novels on bookshop shelves.
Okay, I admit it – I’m old school.