Session Idea – Social Reading

This proposal is for a mix of question-asking and idea-sharing.

One of the fundamental tasks in many humanities classes is reading a text to discuss it with a group. Students are already bringing their own devices to class, and some campuses are starting to provide tablets or e-readers to students.

Is there an opportunity for technology to change how we do the very basic exercise of reading together?

What would be gained or lost with social reading?

What tools are available right now for successful social reading, and what would “successful social reading” look like to you?

For me, it means being able to read the text in my own way and then flip a switch or change a view to see how my colleagues have responded to the text, to which I can reply and contribute. People who read faster will see an update feed of the latest comments, and slower readers will only see comments relevant to the sections they’ve covered already. I don’t know of anything that fully captures this fuzzy ideal picture in my head.

Some social reading tools (to varying degrees) I am aware of include: GoodReads, LibraryThing, Amazon’s Kindle Public Notes, Kobo’s Reading Life, and Jeff Howe’s 1 Book 1 Twitter (#1book140) initiative.

What I hope to get out of such a session would be ideas for bringing social reading to the classroom in such a way that all readers can be included (whether they have a device or not) and adds an out-of-classroom dimension to theĀ discussionĀ of the work.



Categories: Panels |

About Sara Q. Thompson

(brand new) Director of Educational Technology at Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, Iowa Background in libraries, user experience, and tech training. Future in turning our faculty into a small army of peer tech trainers ... hopefully.

4 Responses to Session Idea – Social Reading

  1. Ryan Hoover says:

    Interesting idea. I’d like to play it out more. What technology would work across platforms? The kindle apps would. Are there dangers of students just reading their peers’ comments?

  2. Barbara Fister says:

    This program looks interesting, though I’m a little disappointed that a patent is pending. And that it looks so much like Facebook.

    I would think one could use Google Docs or add notes to a .pdf as a class reading together. This would be social reading on a small scale, not like LibraryThing where you are sharing your reading history with the world and comparing your library to other people’s.

    Kindle now has shared highlighting – but to be honest, I find it creepy. Also, I haven’t met too many students who are excited about reading this way. They are bothered that they can’t share the texts themselves, which are not even really owned but licensed. Funny how Kindle enables one kind of shared reading experience (I can see what other people have highlighted) but not another (I can pass a book on to a friend).

  3. I like the idea of using something like Google Docs for shared notes and questions with responses. Given the research suggesting that books have certain advantages in terms of comprehension, I wonder if a combination of traditional text and social engagement is a workable compromise. What are the disadvantages to the print format?

  4. Pingback: Session 1: Making Our Schedule | THATCamp Liberal Arts Colleges 2011

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