How has the nature of reading changed since the advent of the internet? And how are those that are teaching reading keeping up? Not as well as they could be, says Donald Leu, professor of education at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education and the featured speaker at this year's Jeanne Chall Lecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The new ways in which people read and take in information online have not yet birthed a targeted curriculum, says Leu. In fact, students' reading progress continues to be assessed by their competency in "offline" reading, something that Leu sees as shortsighted, considering the prominence of the internet in our children's lives from a young age.
"It's important that we think about preparing our early readers for these new forms of reading that will define their future," says Leu.
In order for educators to guide the learning — methods of inquiry, use of tools, critical thinking — that is happening while their students are online, they need to be better prepared, not only with an adjusted curriculum, but also with training and administrative support. Teachers involvement in their students' online learning should not be optional, says Leu.
"We need to prepare them for being safe; we need to prepare them for thinking critically; we need to prepare them for being aware of the online footprint that they leave," he says. "All of those are important aspects of new forms of reading that takes place in online contexts."
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Leu explores how today’s educator can embrace online reading and incorporate new methods in their classrooms.
Donald Leu will be the featured speaker at the annual Jeanne S. Chall Lecture and Reception at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on Thursday, September 29, at 5:30 p.m.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.