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Old 12-25-2008, 08:33 AM   #1
jshea1571
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Lit specialist welcomes comments.

Just to introduce myself briefly, I am a Senior Lecturer who specialises in New Technologies in Education and trains English teachers. I used to be a Head of English and now spend my time persuading people to invest money into technologies to facilitate education for the purpose of research and watching my trainee English teachers teach.
I've recently persuaded my University to buy a 'class set' (30) of sony ebook readers so I can get some English teachers trying them out in class instead of having a cupboard full of books. (Eng teachers teach a lot of copy-right free classics so it works well.) However, what I'd really like to do is to get maybe 100 boys, measure their reading age and grade scores, then give them an ebook reader loaded up. 6 and 12 months later, I would then test their reading age again and check to see if they are making faster value-added progress in either/both grades and/or reading age. (I also have an outside project looking at encouraging younger students in school to 'publish' their work for other ebook readers to download and read)
So, I've got a Sony Ebook Reader myself and I think you can see how keen I am on the things. From an educational perspective, I think ebook readers will transform the classroom and reinvigorate young students back into reading. I welcome comments and suggestions from fellow avid readers in ensuring the next generation read as much as we do...
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Old 12-25-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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Welcome to MR. You'll find numerous "classics" for download from our "Book Uploads" forum, most of which have been "hand formatted" and are MUCH better than Sony versions of the classics. I, for example, am a great lover of Dickens and have uploaded the complete works of Dickens here, complete with all the original illustrations, etc.
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Old 12-25-2008, 09:31 AM   #3
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Hi jshea1571 and welcome to the Forum

I think you're onto something. The combination of electronics and reading ought to really appeal to the younger generation. Hope it works out
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Old 12-25-2008, 09:58 AM   #4
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My only question. Why only boys?
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Old 12-25-2008, 10:11 AM   #5
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My only question. Why only boys?
Boys are, on average, much poorer at reading than girls - at least that's the case here in the UK. They are the ones who need the help.
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Old 12-25-2008, 11:11 AM   #6
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Boys are, on average, much poorer at reading than girls - at least that's the case here in the UK. They are the ones who need the help.
I'm with desertgrandma in this. Even if the average boy is poorer at reading than the average girl; why use the gender loosely connectewd with the wanted characteristic instead of the characteristic? If you want to help poor readers, take poor reader into your test group. It may turn out that the group then contains mostly or even only boys, but the decision point should not be the gender.


*takes deep breath*

Sorry, I react this strongly, but it is this kind of sexism that get me angry, because it so often goes unnoticed by most.

Anyway, welcome to the forum jshea1571, I hope you will find the information and help you need or want here. And thank you for introducing ereading to those forming the future generation.
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Old 12-25-2008, 11:26 AM   #7
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I'm with desertgrandma in this. Even if the average boy is poorer at reading than the average girl; why use the gender loosely connectewd with the wanted characteristic instead of the characteristic? If you want to help poor readers, take poor reader into your test group. It may turn out that the group then contains mostly or even only boys, but the decision point should not be the gender.
If you're conducting scientific research, then you always try to minimise the number of "variables" in the experiment. If you want to see if an eBook Reader increases reading ability, then to start with, say, one hundred 12 year old boys and measure their "before and after" reading abilities will give you more useful information than to start with a random mix of 12 year olds of both genders, because on average you know that the girls will do a lot better than the boys.

Of course you could equally well perform the experiment with 100 girls - the point is to minimize the variations by removing gender as a variable in the experiment.

Pretty much everyone who does educational experiments of this nature does so with same-aged, single-sex study groups.
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Old 12-25-2008, 11:50 AM   #8
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But if you want to test, if a method is usable to help poor readers, wouldn't it be better to eliminate or limit the variance of the variable 'reading ability'?

If you test one hundred boys or girls you will only know if the method works for different reading abilities of one gender. But I would think it was more important to know if it works for all/most members of either gender with poor reading abilities.

I absolutely don't want to say that doing it like 'pretty much everyone' is wrong. I have no experience in educational experiments. I just think from time to time one should take a look on the way thinks are done and decide if the way 'it was always done' is the best for the wanted outcome.
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Old 12-25-2008, 12:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sunlite View Post
I'm with desertgrandma in this. Even if the average boy is poorer at reading than the average girl; why use the gender loosely connectewd with the wanted characteristic instead of the characteristic? If you want to help poor readers, take poor reader into your test group. It may turn out that the group then contains mostly or even only boys, but the decision point should not be the gender.


*takes deep breath*

Sorry, I react this strongly, but it is this kind of sexism that get me angry, because it so often goes unnoticed by most.

Anyway, welcome to the forum jshea1571, I hope you will find the information and help you need or want here. And thank you for introducing ereading to those forming the future generation.
I second this.
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Old 12-25-2008, 03:21 PM   #10
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Good stuff! Well, I'm interested in both genders, but the big money's on boys. They underperform in English by 11% against girls. The knock on in literacy skills is huge and reduces their overall pass rate at 16 years old and thus their access to post 16 education. If you can fix boys then you are on the way to performing some serious research. Girls? Super readers and outperforming the boys everywhere. I'm convinced the whole thing comes down to reading.
I am, in my defence, doing some work in 'whole class' which is across all groups, but academic work is driven by funding.
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Old 12-25-2008, 03:46 PM   #11
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As a boy, I was a really good reader in school. I enjoyed reading.
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Old 12-25-2008, 03:48 PM   #12
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And would you say being a strong reader has resulted in your being successful in other areas of your life?
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Old 12-25-2008, 03:52 PM   #13
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Sorry, I react this strongly, but it is this kind of sexism that get me angry, because it so often goes unnoticed by most.
I don't think it is sexism any more than the "women in technology" movement which strives to get more women involved in technology and programming since there is a very low percentage of women in these fields. I, as a man in technology, welcome and encourage women to join this field.

BOb
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Old 12-25-2008, 04:08 PM   #14
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And would you say being a strong reader has resulted in your being successful in other areas of your life?
It's helped me be who I am. I'm not measuring success by how much stuff I have or how much money. I have a nice life and a lovely wife. That makes me successful.
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Old 12-25-2008, 04:40 PM   #15
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And would you say being a strong reader has resulted in your being successful in other areas of your life?
I certainly believe that being an avid reader gives one a great start in life. Especially at university-level education where one has to go and read books and learn things for ones-self, rather than being "spoon-fed" it by a teacher. An "appetite" for books is an enormous advantage then!

I can never remember a time when I wasn't a reader - books have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember.
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