Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blended Reading

"Blended Learning" is something of a catchphrase for people in my professional circle these days.  If you are not familiar with the term, they are referring to blending platforms for providing language learning opportunities.  In other words, combining traditional classroom instruction with online learning. 

In my own daily life I have been noticing how my reading has been changing.  Not only that I can read books electronically, or have printed versions delivered to my doorstep by ordering them online, but also the changing options for what I read and why I read.  I also enjoy relaxing in front of the television, including watching informative programs on Discovery, The History Channel, Animal Planet, and so on.  While it used to be that I would make a choice to read or watch TV, or maybe have the TV on as "background noise" while focusing on reading, lately watching TV with my iPod at hand seems to prompt me to read things.  Something comes up in a program, even a drama, and I decide I want to know more about it.  I do a Google search right then and there and read more about it while watching, during commercials, or right after the program.  Sometimes it is a simple "fact check" and other times it is to learn something more in depth.  Sometimes it takes me off on other tangents.  Sometimes I end up ordering a related book.  Sometimes it is the other way around, where reading leads me to other media.  For example, the video that is sometimes embedded in the reading for the CEP class I am taking now.  Or how reading about the history of a band in preparing a lesson leads me to download a song or even a video and enjoy it.

I have been wondering how this kind of blending of media might be incorporated into my language teaching, and specifically into motivating my students to read more and give them more autonomy in their learning.  Today I came across an interesting video article, Fiction gets technology makeover, on the BBC website that presents something called "transmedia" which is sort of the kind of potential I was vaguely imagining, though in this case purely as entertainment.  For both readers and reading educators, you may find this article interesting.  To avoid copyright infringement, I will merely link to the article.  Should the BBC remove it before you see it or you not be able to access it, I am sorry.

BBC Click: Fiction gets technology makeover

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