Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Reading with a purpose and teachers gathering data

In our connected world, people find themselves gathering information from online sources much more frequently than print sources.  Interestingly, the way our brains work to scan digital texts has changed based on the typical layout of websites that present information.  For example, our eyes are more likely to remain focused on the left side of a webpage, where menus and additional links are typically placed rather than scan the entire page fully.  Readers, young and old, typically scan pages in an “F” pattern, tracing their eyes along the text in heavy left-to-right patterns at the beginning of paragraphs but not throughout the entirety of the passage. 

Source: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/f-shaped-pattern-reading-web-content/

This isn’t altogether horrible if students are simply scanning to gather rudimentary information but when we are asking students to complete sustained and detailed reading online, these habits suggest that a support for students may help them read more comprehensively when assigned digital texts. 

There are multiple technology tools that teachers can implement in order to help students read the entirety of an assigned next rather than the F-pattern of hotspots.  An example of a tool a teacher can implement is called Edji. 

Edji (edji.it) is a web-based platform where teachers upload texts.  It includes tools for the students to read and highlight the text as well as make comments.  The usefulness of the tool comes in the form of the information teachers gain about the class’ reading patterns.  Edji creates a heatmap that shows the patterns of student reading and commenting.  Navigate to this demo page to see how the heatmaps display the reading and interactive data: https://edji.it/#/project/demo.

Teachers may want students to highlight portions of the text that they have questions about, vocabulary words, or respond to the text with their own summaries in comments.  A teacher can also embed comprehension questions to ensure the students read the entire paragraph with understanding.  And in situations where we are asking our students to read graphs and other visual representations of data, students can even highlight and interact with those images.

In addition to seeing how the class interacted with the text as a whole, the teacher can access a reading recap for an individual student that displays information about how long the student spent reading the text and how many interactions the student had with the text.

Check out getting started with Edji for more information.


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