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Course Readings and Discussions

This course contains a series of readings and related online discussions. After completing each reading assignment, carefully read the options for the STARS class discussion activities. Complete the STARS discussion as required.

Technology-Rich Learning and Evidence-based Practice

STARS 1 - Literature Starting Points

Why reinvent the wheel? Teachers, media specialists, technology coordinators, and librarians around the world are sharing their ideas and projects on the Internet. Explore themes and projects that others have developed. You're unlikely to find exactly what you need. The key is learning how to adapt the materials you find. For example, you might change the web links, reading level, grade level, or use of the materials. You might turn a lesson idea into an interactive bulletin board or topic for a book club discussion. You might use the discussion questions provided or photographs on the web page.
 
Go to Ladders of Your Own: Get Started - Explore. Use these links to locate a project, lesson, or thematic resource page.

Give the title of the page, the web address (URL), and a short description of the project or resource. Discuss at least two examples of how you could adapt the ideas for use in your situation.

STARS 2 - Book Selection

The Internet is a great tool for finding new book titles or interesting literature you may not have considered in the past. It's also a great place to browse and look for connections.
 
Go to Ladders of Your Own: Step 1 - Select a Book. Choose ONE of the following three options:* Spend some time browsing the online bookstores. Start with a book you or your patrons enjoy. Explore the related books they suggest or books others have purchased. You might also read the reviews. Describe your experience.

Everyone is familiar with the Newbery and Caldecott Awards, but there are many other interesting book awards. For example, the Orbis Pictus award for children's nonfiction. Explore an award you'd like to learn more about. Write a short description of the award and a book you'd like to read that has won the award.

Explore the book review sites provided. Choose one and describe how you might use it with students or patrons.

STARS 3 - Reading on the Web

Some people see ebooks and online reading with excitement and anticipation. Others complain that you can't curl up with a computer. What do you think?
 
Go to Ladders of Your Own: Step 1 - Select a Book. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and explore the links to online reading. Select one and provide the title and web link. Describe the pros and cons of recommending or using this online reading resource with children or adults.

Provide the title and web address of a specific online reading resource. Describe the pros and cons of its use with a specific audience.

STARS 4 - Author Websites

Some authors have devoted lots of time to providing a detailed website for their readers. Others see the web as a distraction from their writing and speaking. As a result, author websites are as diverse as the authors themselves.
 
Go to Ladders of Your Own: Step 2 - Search for Author and Illustrator Information. Discuss one of the author websites listed in the nicenet discussion or start your own author discussion. If you have a hard time getting started, think about the following questions:

What is the purpose of the author's website? How does the website reflect the personality of the author or the author's writing? Do you think the author is actually involved with website development? Why or why not? What would you change or add to this author's website? What features of this website would you encourage others to include in their website? What interesting insights did the author's website provide? How would you use this website with patrons or students?

You don't need to answer these questions. Instead, use them as a guide as you explore the website.
 
Discuss an author's websites.

STARS 5 - Book Information

When people are looking for books, it's easy to fall back on the familiar classics. It takes time to develop materials to go with new books or even older books you've just discovered. Use the Internet to help.
 
Go to Ladders of Your Own: Step 3 - Search for Book Information. Explore the book resource links. Or, use Google to search for a book you'd like to use. Rather than searching just by the title, add other words to your search such as anticipation guide, discussion questions, quiz, lesson, project, or webquest. Share your results. What search strategy works best to find good resources to accompany your book?

Describe your experience searching for book resources online.

STARS 6 - Topics and Resources

Does your imagination run wild when you read a book? Can you see snapshots of each character in your mind? Can you describe the setting in detail including the sights, sounds, and smells? Some readers become part of the time and place of a novel, while others have a hard time just comprehending the words on paper. Providing a reader with additional information such as a photograph from the time period represented in the book or a map of the book's location can help.
 
Go to Ladders of Your Own: Step 4 - Identify Topics and Resources or 42explore. Use search tools and thematic resources to find a web page or website that you think would help readers better understand the content of a piece of literature. For example if the book is set in the Holocaust, you might choose a link from 42explore: Holocaust. If the book is set near an active volcano, you might choose a video clip from the 42explore: Volcanoes links page. You might seek out photographs of the author or a particular country or landscape. How about downloading an MP3 song to match the theme of a book or chapter?

Share the book title, a webpage, and a reason for using the website with the book.

STARS 7 - Meaningful Activities

From discussion groups to quizzes, there are many ways to integrate Internet resources into literature-rich learning environments.
 
Go to Ladders of Your Own: Step 5 - Develop Meaningful Activities. Explore examples of personalized stories, online games, and daily activities your might use to add interest to promotional, reading, or writing activities. Then, select one and describe how you might use it. If none of the activities described is of interest, read about a fun new, online book-lover's community called Book Crossing and "release" a book.

Describe an activity and how it might be implemented. Or, tell us about your Book Crossing experience.

STARS 8 - Thematic Learning

Read the online article titled Theory to Practice: Thematic Learning Environments. Be sure to read the article titled Themes of Human Experience (off-site link). If you need more information, check out the links at the bottom of the Literature Ladders page. The word "theme" can have many meanings from using a "circus" theme for a special event to a "deep thought" theme such as "courage" or "empathy". This activity gives you a chance to throw in your "two cents". Your mission is to provide an example of a thematic event or project that worked well. Then, describe what it was about the theme that made it effective. Was it the novelty, meaningfulness, fun, or depth that made it work? How could technology have been used to make the activity even more effective?

Describe a theme-based activity or event and why it was effective. Also, give an example of how technology (i.e., communication, information gathering, materials production) could have been integrated.

STARS 9 - Literature Circles

From adult book clubs to class reading groups, literature circles have become a popular way to share the joy of reading. Read the online article titled Theory to Practice: Literature Circles. If you're interested in more information, read the articles and examples suggested in the links at the bottom of the page. Also, check out some of Dr. Lamb's "literature circle starters" for ideas such as

Discuss a topic or theme that you think would make a good literature circle. Provide an example of at least two books that could be used. For example, your theme might be disasters with books like Night of the Twister and Earthquake Terror. Use the Internet to learn more about the specific disaster and how people should prepare for that event. Although most literature circles involve a "whole class" theme with small groups each reading a different book related to the topic, you could adapt the idea to include all books by the same author, time period, or character. You could also do it with picture book for adults, poetry, or other forms of literature.

Discuss a theme, at least two books that could be included, and one way that technology could be used as part of the project.

STARS 10 - Literacy

When you think of the word literacy, you may think of reading. However, many people view literacy in a broader sense.
 
Go to Theory to Practice: Literacy for Today and Tomorrow. Explore the links provided. Then, choose one "new literacy" or "hot topic" that is particularly close to your heart such as the importance of good information evaluation skills or reading for pleasure. Or, select a "hot topic" that concerns you such as plagiarism or copyright.

State your topic and take a stand. Is this really a new topic or has it been around in other forms? How has technology impacted the topic? Why do you think this is an important issue, topic, or new literacy? Cite one source you explored.

STARS 11 - Interactive Online Projects

Collaborative, online projects are one of the most exciting ways to motivate students. Get students involved with posting projects on the web, emailing other students or experts, discussing issues on a threaded discussion, or holding a online chat. There are thousands of projects to join from travel buddies to data collection projects.
 
Go to Interactive Online Projects. Explore the wide range of technology-rich possibilities for collaborative projects. Select one that sounds appealing and discuss how you might join the project, adapt the project, or create your own. Be specific. In addition to saying, "I'd do an ask -the-expert project." Provide the specific email or web address of the online expert you might use.

Describe a specific project you think would be interesting for your students or patrons. Feel free to adapt a project you find online.

STARS 12 - Literature WebQuest

WebQuests are an excellent way to promote inquiry-based learning as students explore literature.
 
Go to Literature-based WebQuests. Evaluate three different webquests. Pick one to share.
 
Provide the title and web address of the webquest. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the webquest. Would you use it, adapt it, or create a new one from scratch?

STARS 13 - Inspiration and Kidspiration

Download the trial version of Inspiration or Kidspiration for Mac or Windows. Give it a try. Select one of the following activities

Use one of the templates. Describe an activity you would do with students. Create a completed model project.

Create a concept map project from scratch. It could be for instructional, management, planning, or promotional purposes. Describe how you would use it.

You do not need to post anything at Oncourse for this project. Instead, email your document to Annette Lamb as an attachment.


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