Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reading and Writing Online

Teacher Tech does a great job here reflecting on an article about how hypertext influences learning.

According to the article, research shows that the navigational structure of a site matters when it comes to best understanding content. Sites generally follow one of two basic patterns. They offer information in a linear fashion, requiring students to read through the information in a predetermined order. This is similar to how they would read printed text. These sites offer links that go directly from one page to the next with no other options.

Other sites are more informal and allow the reader to move freely through the text by determining their own path. These are sites that may also have links within the text that the reader can use to get more information as needed.
There is no doubt that information literacy has become something that we absolutely must teach our students.  In addition to determining whether the information our students are reading online is reliable, we must teach them how to read online.

Similarly, as we ask our students to do more work online, we need to think about teaching them to write online.  Are our students using blogs? Wikis? Nings? Are they publishing articles online?  Then we need to teach them how to write connectively - meaning, when do they add hyperlinks? Where do they add them? What are they linking to?

I know that since I began blogging years ago, my writing has changed.  It is difficult for me to write most anything without linking somewhere.  When I recently submitted an article for publication to an educational journal, it was difficult to NOT link (since it would be published in print form if accepted.)  But I have never really stopped to think about the process of when and why I insert a link - something that I will have to do in order to help teachers and students with this type of writing.

If you are reading and writing online - what do you notice about hyperlinks? How are you teaching students about them?

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