Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mini-Book Club Assignment

A classic study of the Renaissance
During the next week we are organizing a reading and research activity for students in order to jump-start outside reading and research in the historical content areas of the course. We know that our Honors students are capable of finding, studying, and reporting on more substantial sources than we have been seeing. Recently I posted on how to bring books into your digital life. This assignment will get you using some of those suggestions. We also intend it to be a way for students to connect more, as this was a main concern during interviews.

After you get broken into groups of three on Tuesday, October 5th, you will conduct a "mini book club" up through Thursday, October 14th that will get you involved in the three overarching aspects of digital literacy: consume, create, and connect. We expect you to narrate this entire process on your blog and not to wait until you've done all of the steps.  Obviously these posts will count toward the required digital literacy labs assignment. So here it is:

  1. Consume
    First, individually create a short list of candidate books for your mini book club (three to five is good) and post this list on your blog. Annotate your list with a sentence describing each book and why you are nominating it for your group. Such books must feature historical content from at least one of the periods we've studied (Renaissance, Enlightenment, or 19th Century). To find them, use book sources and finding techniques that take you to books (such as physical libraries, book stores, or many sources listed here).

    Next, get together with the two other members of your group, discuss your nominated books, and settle on one of these that all three of you will read. Post about your decision making on your blog.

    Next, read the book. Use scanning, skimming, and sampling techniques so that you don't spend hours and hours on this. We want you to learn how to tackle lengthy content intelligently.
  2. Create
    Decide among the three of you in your group how you are going to represent the learning you've gained from reading this book. You can work together, but your output here must be three separate activities or products (one of which can be a conventional book review posted on a blog -- but only one). Look at the many options listed in our digital literacy labs under "create." Perhaps you create a video, a Prezi presentation, an audio recording, a work of art, a teaching module -- lots of possibilities. Make it something you can share.
  3. Connect
    Using any of the options listed in our digital literacy labs under "connect," share what you have created. For example, if you have written a conventional book review, don't just post this to your blog; post it to Amazon or on your Goodreads or Shelfari social book site. Or, host a mock debate about your book among the three of you (video recorded and posted or conducted as a three-way chat which gets recorded and posted). Get with a second group of three from the class for a discussion, or involve audiences outside of our class in some way.
As you post about your process, you will give other students ideas for how and where to find books, what criteria you are using for choosing, and how you are intelligently consuming the information.