The New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension: Preparing ALL Students for Their Reading Future • Donald J. Leu • University of Connecticut This presentation is available for download at: http://www.newliteracies.uconn.edu/events.html
Four Big Ideas • The nature of reading comprehension is changing as our technologies for reading change. • Online reading comprehension is not identical to offline reading comprehension. 2
How does online reading comprehension differ? • Question driven/Problem solving process • Locating information is a circuit breaker • Critical evaluation is far more important • Readers always construct their texts • Reading and writing become integrated 3
The cruelest irony of our times: • Because of public policy failures, those who need our help the most with online reading comprehension actually receive it the least. 4
The New Literacies Research Team at the University of Connecticut
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305G050154 to The University of Connecticut. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education. Text 6
Reading has always been about change:We change the world when we teach a child to read.
Change can also be challenging... The change from scrolls to codices (books) Text
Today, we are going through a similar change. As we change our reading practices from page to the Internet, many dimensions of reading are being transformed.
Our reading world is changing... • One billion readers are now online, reading information on the Internet. • At the current rate, half of the world will be reading online in just five more years. 10
Our students are changing. The Internet is this generation’s defining technology for literacy and learning • 75% of households in the U.S. have Internet access, 3/4ths with broadband (Neilson/Net Ratings, 2006) 12
87% percent of all students between the ages of 12 and 17 in the U.S. report using the Internet (Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2005). 13
In other countries.... • In Accra, Ghana, 66% of 15-18 year olds attending school, and 54% of 15-18 year olds not attending school, report having gone online previously (Borzekowski, Fobil, & Asante, 2006). • In the U.K, 74% of young people aged nine to nineteen have access to the Internet at home, and most of these (84% in all) are daily or weekly Internet users (Livingstone & Bober, 2005). 14
Workplaces are changing. The Internet is the new economy’s defining technology for generating productivity gains (Friedman, 2005)
The nature of reading comprehension is changing... • Online reading ≠ offline reading • New skills and strategies are required to read online. 16
What research evidence exists to support this claim? • Reading online is more complex than offline (Coiro & Dobler, in press) • Knowing a student’s online reading ability adds significantly to predicting performance on another online reading task, over and above knowing their offline reading ability and prior knowledge of the topic (Coiro, 2006) 17
Online reading comprehension was not statistically correlated with students’ reading comprehension score on the Connecticut Mastery Tests (Leu, Castek, Hartman, Coiro, Henry, Kulikowich, & Lyver, 2005)
The new literacies of online reading comprehension build upon many traditional areas of offline reading comprehension: • develop a question • locate information • critically analyze information • synthesize information • communicate information
I. Develop a question... • Recent work indicates that the nature of reading comprehension changes when it begins with a question (Taboada & Guthrie, 2006) • We always begin online reading comprehension with a question or a problem that we seek to solve. 21
What good online readers know: Asking Questions • I know what a really good question is. • I know that revising the question, when I get new information, often makes it better. • I know that I need to remember my question and not get distracted.
II. Locating information... • New comprehension skills are required to read and locate information on the Internet. • Locating information is a circuit breaker skill. If you can not locate information you will be severely challenged with online reading. 23
What good online readers know: Locating Information - Search Engines • I know how different search engines work. • I know when to change and use a different search engine. • I know simple strategies for making my search more specific. • I know advanced search strategies and when they could be useful.
And.. Locating Information - Search Engines • I know how to search generally for useful key words when I do not know much about the topic. • I know how to use quotation marks in my search terms and when these are most useful. • I know how to read search engine results and usually do so. • I know how to search for images as well as text.
And… Locating Information - Web pages • I know the typical “geography” of websites. • I know how to quickly skim information at a website to find the information I need, the link to take me there, or when I need to go somewhere else. • I can predict what kind of information will be at most links.
Unskilled online readers often use a “.com approach” when locating information • horses.com • benfranklin.com • georgewashington.com • americanrevolution.com • iraqwar.com 28
Unskilled online readers often use a “click and look” approach to the reading of search engine results when locating information.
Unskilled online readers click on many more links at a web site to locate a particular piece of information.
III. Critical analysis of information.... • Unskilled online readers seldom evaluate who created information or how accurate information might be. 31
www.martinlutherking.org You are looking for information about Martin Luther King and his fight for civil rights. You have found this site. Which link should you click on?
In our recent work, 96% of 7th graders (24/25) recommended The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus Site as reliable to another classroom, studying endangered species.
What good online readers know: Analysis of Information • Understanding - I know when information makes sense to me. • Relevancy - I know when information meets my needs. • Accuracy - I know how to verify information with another source.
And… Evaluating Information • Reliability - I know how to tell when information can be trusted. • Bias - I know that everyone “shapes” information and how to evaluate this. • Stance - I am a “healthy skeptic” about online information.
IV. Synthesizing information... • Unskilled online readers have very convoluted and longer “click through paths” to solving information problems on the Internet. • Skilled online readers have shorter “click through paths,” since they successfully synthesize and evaluate information they locate. 37
What good online readers know: Synthesizing Information • I know how to construct the information I need as I read selected information. • I know which information to ignore when I read. • I know how to put information together, and make inferences when it is missing, to answer my question. • I know when I have my answer.
V. Communicating information... • Skilled online readers make better inferences to poorly constructed email blog, IM and other messages. • Skilled online readers communicate more clearly and explicitly online, leaving fewer ambiguities in their messages. 39
What good online readers know: Communicating Information • I know how to construct a clear and unambiguous message so that the reader knows what I mean. • I know how NOT to make people upset with me from the way I write my message. • I know how to use blogs. • I know how to use wikis. • I know how to use email.
And… Communicating Information • I know how to use IM. • I know how to attach a document to my messages. • I know how to use discussion boards. • I know how to make a web page. • I know when and how to use other communication tools.
The new literacies of online reading comprehension in action
Today, the nature of reading comprehension is changing.Being preoccupied with NCLB, we have failed to notice the changes.
We have been working to develop foundational reading skills • phonemic awareness • decoding (phonics) • fluency • vocabulary • comprehension 44
But...while we weren’t paying attention, the nature of reading comprehension has changed.
Other nations understand these changes... • Finland provides every teacher with 5 weeks of release-time, professional development with integrating the Internet into classroom instruction. • Ireland has invested in schools and technology to develop a workforce trained to work in an online information economy. Ireland has the fastest growing economy in the EU. 46
Japan has broadband in 98% of households that is 16 times faster than what we have in the US, for $22 per month. • Korea has developed its educational system and its economy to become the world’s leader in robotic technologies for manufacturing and home use. 47
Mexico has established a national policy to ensure that every citizen and every classroom will have an Internet connection (e-Mexico). • Most developed nations have an educational portal site for teachers, parents, students, and school leaders (Edna, SchoolNet, National Grid for Learning, etc.) 48
What do these nations know that we do not? • Global economic competition means that companies have to become more productive to compete. • To become more productive, companies have integrated the Internet and restructured decision making, creating teams that work independently to identify important problems, locate information, evaluate that information, solve the problem, and communicate the solution to others. • .
…and • The Internet/Intranet has become the most important information resource for most workplaces. • The Internet is a reading comprehension issue, not a tech issue. • Schools need to prepare students for online reading comprehension.