Week 13 Reflections: Virtual Author Studies

19 04 2011

Essential Question: How can we leverage technology tools, Web 2.0 and Web 3D, to bring authors into our students’ lives?

You might think that with the Web and all the electronic text that kids read that the appeal of an author who has written a regular hand-held book might fade?

But maybe not. There’s still something magical about interacting with a person who has created characters who live in your mind, a place you know like your backyard, and a story that you carry along your journey.

Many schools and libraries partner up to raise funds for bringing authors physically to their spaces, but the funds aren’t always there and the wear-and-tear on authors is great. So great, in fact, that many of the best-selling ones may only make personal appearances when they have a new book to tout and then only visit certain cities and bookstores.

Here’s where the virtual advantage comes in. With new Web conferencing and virtually immersive environments, we can bring authors to our classrooms in a way that often seems more intimate than even having them there in physical person.

Regardless of whether we meet with an author actually or virtually, there are ways to prepare that we want to learn and apply to our future virtual author studies. For our visit with Melina, we each read at least one additional book of hers — everyone had already read Finnikin of the Rock. And we posted questions to a Wallwisher we called Melina’s Wall. Questions essentially fit into two categories: Melina’s writing life (her perspective, experience, and craft) and burning questions about her books. Jen also suggests a resource for studying the author’s craft: Katie Wood Ray’s Wondrous Words.

Resources:

Wallwisher
Wondrous Words by Katie Wood Ray

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