Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How Social Reading Enhances the #CCSS

Guest post by Travis Alber

ReadUps is an online discussion platform where students can read online and discuss content inside the book. Actually, it doesn't have to be a book, it can also be an imported URL, an uploaded course packet, or whatever you paste in. But the purpose of the ReadUp is to "meet up" inside what students read, and to discuss it. Discussion features allow students to leave comments and responses on any paragraph, or message other readers in the book at the same time. When the ReadUp expires (usually within 2 months), the conversation and book disappear from the website.
ReadUps are “Meetups” inside Books
Here are some ways ReadUps can be used to implement the Common Core

1. Contextual discussion
ReadUps is great for the close reading of texts, and a good platform for students to help other students. Students attach questions to a paragraph and get multiple answers. It's like a distributed study group that meets outside of class to help students get more from their peers.

2. Detailed analysis of the work
CCSS has a focus on critical thinking. Some teachers assign a chapter to students, and sprinkle questions throughout the text, asking students to answer a requisite number. Readups provide a good way for students to demonstrate a deep understanding of the text, and to show improved comprehension when they ask questions back.

3. Focus on Feedback
ReadUps provide an effective means to engage students in their writing assignments. Students can paste content in, ask classmates to read it, and learn how to improve their work. It's not a word processing program, it's a discussion platform, so students take away suggestions at high level, learn to consolidate their thoughts, and then edit their original document in whatever other program they’ve been writing in. Since the ReadUp only lives for a short time - in fact, students can set it to expire after a day - it allows detailed, comprehensive feedback as a simple step in the writing process.

So what do you think? Is this something you might try in your classroom? Want to try it out? Join " Sherlockian Diversions," a public ReadUp in progress [].

Travis Alber is an entrepreneur focused on publishing innovation; her latest startup, ReadUps, offers paragraph-level discussions and reading groups inside content. Based in NYC, she has been working for 15 years on a number of web, ebook, education and mobile-related projects. Reach her at  @screenkapture [].

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