Friday, April 26, 2013

Blog Post #14

Teacher Knows if You Have Done the E-Reading

Teachers at Texas A&M know if their students are reading their E-textbooks or not. "They know when students are skipping pages, failing to highlight significant passages, not bothering to take notes — or simply not opening the book at all." They along with 8 other universities are testing software from CourseSmart which allows them to track their students' progress with digital books. CourseSmart individually packages for each professor information on all the students in a class. This also affects how teachers present material and how students respond to it. For example, if a student does poorly on a quiz or chapter test it lets the teacher know how often the student actually read or studied the material in the book.

I think this technology could be useful as a teacher. I would want to know if my students were assigned homework to read and there was software to tell me if the students actually read or not it would help in classroom discussion. It would also probably, definitely make me give pop-quizzes on the days the students did not read. However I know students can grasp things in the classroom better than reading it on their owns so maybe it would not tell me much of anything. But I think that if a student was struggling and I could see the student was actively reading and highlighting the material then I could see they were having a learning or comprehension problem and could better help them by sending them to the counselor or meeting with the parents to see about getting the child tested or getting them some outside help. I think it would be great in assessing learning disabilities.

A screen shot of several different e-readers
As a student this new software just puts more pressure on me as a student. I'll be honest I always do my assignments and take notes and highlight my books but I am not a big fan of the digital book. It hurts my eyes and my head to read from a computer for long periods of times. So this would really be difficult for me. I also am the type of student who likes to highlight important passages and make notes about things in the margins of my book so I do not really know how it would be possible on an e-reader. I can tell you that I can read something a hundred times and still not know what I just read, but I am ADD so maybe this would let my teacher be more aware of how difficult it is for me to comprehend what I am reading sometimes.

The questions I would have for the teacher in this class would be:

1. Am I being graded on what I read and don't read?

2. Will this affect my grade if I get behind on the reading or read at my own pace?

3. If I am grasping what we are being tested on what does it matter if I am reading the book or not?

I guess my only real question that I would ask a student is does it help them when testing to read the book or do they have some other way of scoring high without reading the text?

My only comment is this: I have paid a lot of money for my college education. I am working towards my second masters that I am paying for. Who is to say I should be graded on what I read from a text book or not if I know the information and am passing my tests without it. A classroom should be engaging and if the only way to engage me is to force me to read a textbook, memorize information, and then test me on that information then why the heck am I paying so much money to get what I could just do on my own? A college professor should be teaching a heck of a lot more than just the book because it is costing me an awful lot of money to teach myself what someone is getting paid to do.

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