How can we better motivate students to read what they get from the library? I often feel like students are only taking out books because they are being forced to by their teachers and librarians. After a discovery discussion with one of the wonderful librarians I work with, I came up with a short list of requirements for a tool.
- iPad friendly
- Creates an individual folder to store student reading projects
- Randomly assign short reading projects.
- Provide a method for recommending books and allow students to choose their own books.
The first working prototype of these requirements can be seen here:
Let me take you through a quick tour of what it does, and how you can use it.
When you first visit the portfolio, you will arrive at a screen similar to above. You will have a missing avatar, your email address will display, and you will get a list of all of the projects in your portfolio folder. This folder is linked directly to your Google drive.
You can see that there was a drawing created in this directory. That can become the student avatar that will show up on the portfolio page. Change the filename to whatever you want, and it will become the name that is displayed also.
Once you have edited this file, you need to ‘Publish to the web..’ before it will display correctly on the portfolio page.
Students have the ability to search the Goodreads database for books of their own choosing. My students can select a book from the library on our campus, then find the book using search and add it to their portfolio using ‘Start Project’.
The real strength of this tool is in recommending books for students who don’t already know what they want. There is a short quiz designed by the elementary librarian that results in 5 suggestions being plucked from a list generated directly by the librarian using Google Forms.
Once you have a recommendation, you can start a new project in the same way that you did with the search feature. Each of these projects generates a separate document in the student’s folder on drive. They contain short activities that can be done with any book that the student selects (we hope!)
This is just the beginning of the project. We have a bunch of other great ideas (and a bunch of bugs to fix in the code!) Please let me know what you think on Twitter! @rheajt