WHICH DIGITAL BOOKS WORK BEST IN THE CLASSROOM?
The argument over whether children’s digital books count as educational storytime or just screentime has been going on for a while. Given that digital interactive books (often called storyapps) are hybrids of books, short films and digital games, their educational value largely depends on whether they are used to promote specific literacy skills or just to have fun with a story.
Many schools have begun to use ipads, Google Chromebooks and other portable touchscreens in lessons, giving children more opportunities to access digital books and storyapps. Accessing an interactive digital book is a different experience from clicking through an e-book on the desktop PC and many teachers, especially those in primary schools, are legitimately questioning the value of using these resources in their literacy lessons.
Digital books with interactive features such as games and hotspots (areas in the digital text or image which act as hyperlinks, activated by tapping on the screen) have been found to impede children’s story comprehension and vocabulary learning. Yet, there is also evidence to suggest that children are attracted to and motivated to read those digital books which are fun and personalisable and that children do access such books at home.
Choosing the right digital book
Teachers are best positioned to ascertain how particular books and e-books fit with their teaching objectives and how the resources can be best incorporated within existing reading activities such as guided reading or perhaps offered as an extra resource during free play time. This is why the UKLA Children’s Book Award, which is judged entirely by teachers, is held in high esteem by teachers, who regard the shortlisted titles as a reliable indicator of the best books of the year for inclusion in their classroom or school library.
Credits: the Tech Edvocate