Thinking about books in a new light

clip_image001This morning I came across a tweet from the Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning website entitled, Books You Can Play With and Games You Can Read: The New Market in Young Children’s Book Apps, and it got me thinking on the implications these new devices might have on children’s literacy levels now and in the future.  If you have not visited the Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning website before take a few minutes to explore some of the wonderful content that is contained there.  The site is sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation who are doing wonderful work in the area of digital media and this is one of their many websites.

The blog post is based on a recent National Public Radio broadcast entitled, Children’s Book Apps: A New World Of Learning, which discussed the new learning opportunities such books are providing young children.  Mitchel Kripalani discusses how his company, Oceanhousemedia.com, is developing interactive Dr. Seuss books for the iPhone and iPad.  They have developed highly popular versions of Green Eggs and Ham and the Cat in the Hat for younger readers.  These apps are being viewed as a new art form and Rick Richter, from Ruckus Media, says:

“People ask, ‘Are you creating books, are you creating games or are you creating animations?’ ” he says. “The answer is yes. That’s what we set out to do — books you can play with and games you can read.”

His company has created the award winning A Present for Milo which is aimed at very young children.  He says:

“What a 2- to 4-year-old wants in an app is to poke and be satisfied,” says Richter. “So Milo has 80 different touch points and 125 different animations — and they are randomized, so every time the child enters, it’s a different experience.”

So what implications might this have for how we “teach” reading skills in the future?  Will it have any impact?  Others, such as James Paul Gee, have stated that there is a “new ecology” of reading and writing in the 21st century and we should consider what implications this might have on how we teach reading in the future?  A recent PBS documentary, Digital Media: New Learners for the 21st century, notes that literacy is always defined by technology. So how do we prepare teachers to engage with these new media forms and what implications might they have in terms of strategies to engage and improve reading among young people? 

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Watch the full episode. See more Digital Media – New Learners Of The 21st Century.

Digital Media: New Learners for the 21st century

In light of the recent consultation process around literacy and numeracy in Irish education, do we need to consider if such new media forms can help engage reluctant readers and if so, how?

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