As part of a “Digital Concepts and Practices,” a PD course I am undertaking this year, I have been asked to select a digital tool and discuss it’s value in an educational sense. As an avid reader, I decided to explore the value of Goodreads.
For those that don’t know, Goodreads is a social networking site that allows its users to record what they have read, what they want to read, and what they are currently reading. It encourages users to connect with their friends or other like minded people, and to follow authors for updates. I have had an account for about 2 years and I have only started using it since the beginning of this year when I realised that there was a Reading Challenge option!
So, how can we use this wonderful tool in an educational sense?
At the moment, our current year 10s are working through a literature unit that requires them to read for fun. Part of this that they are required to share with the class what they are reading and their ratings and opinions, as well as recommending titles to their peers. Goodreads is perfect for this. With some assistance teachers of year 10 English set up Goodreads accounts and groups, asked their students to join their groups and began the sharing process.
So far this has been successful and the students are really enjoying it. Through it’s easy platform Goodreads has made sharing reading an enjoyable experience for our year 10s. The ability to join private groups that are, in this case, monitored by the teacher allows students to share their thoughts, opinions and ratings in a safe space, whilst allowing the teacher to assess as they progress throughout their unit.
I know that some of the students have gotten excited over the fact that there is an app that allows them to record their books with a simple scan of the ISBN bar code. It also makes accessing the groups, reading challenge, and connecting with people particularly easy. The following images are screenshots taken on my own app.
All in all, the use of Goodreads for our year 10s has been successful so far. I know that the students were keen to get on and start sharing their reading digitally. Setting up and joining the group was simple and the teachers were rather impressed with how easy it was to monitor student engagement. This is definitely a tool that provides students opportunities to engage digitally with their reading and sharing their interests. It also provides an excellent opportunity to discuss digital citizenship and building a professional persona online. I am looking forward to introducing some of the young year levels to this platform and connecting with them professionally as well.