Smokey Barn News Sunday February 8, 2015 Robertson County, Middle Tenn.
Heritage High increasing literacy through student applied technology
Heritage High Librarian Vickie Baker has implemented a student-involved book review initiative with her middle school students that incorporates current technology to increase literacy interest by providing student generated reader reviews in the form of video trailers.
According to Baker, the trailers are similar to movie trailers and provide both visual and audio information on the book being reviewed. When a student completes the trailer, Baker posts it on Animoto.com, which is a cloud-based video creation service, and codes it with a QR (Quick Response) two-dimensional bar-code. These codes have gained wide acceptance and are used for applications ranging from product tracking to advertising. The QR code is then printed and pasted onto the front of the reviewed book to show a student has reviewed it. From that point, any student browsing library books can simply scan the QR code with an appropriate application on their cell phone and view the review in real time.
Baker said she ran a trial version of the program last year and that the concept took a bit of time for students to grasp. Now, she says it is now growing rapidly as more and more of them take advantage of both generating and viewing the reviews. She began keeping, uploading, and coding the trailers at the beginning of this school year and says she’ll have more than 70 of them by first semester’s conclusion.
“Kid’s love it,” she said. “At first it was like they were saying, ‘Oh my goodness, where’s a book with a QR code,’ and there weren’t very many. We’re getting more now and it’s gaining a real level of acceptance.”
Getting students to generate the reviews met with a little apprehension at first, says Baker, but now is not a problem.
“At the beginning they were afraid it’s too much work and that they can’t do it,” she said. At the end of the project, they’re like, ‘YES! Look at this.’ Now that they know I’m posting these reviews on Animoto, they’re extremely excited.”
Developing and increasing literacy is Baker’s goal.
“I want to see literacy increase, she said. I would love to see every student come in here and be excited about finding a book. I want to see every student that leaves White House Heritage love to read, or at least like it better than when they came in. I want to equip all my students with the skills to be 21st Century learners.”