Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review of a "Lesson Plan: Class Collection of Book Reviews"

While the main ideas behind this assignment are interesting, it seems that the overall project design and application as a resource could be done better and more efficiently. The purpose of this assignment is to create an online database of book reviews by students for other students, both in the immediate vicinity and the digital vicinity, to access and use to later make their own decisions on what books to read. So, the purpose boils down to create an accessible online resource.

The assignment is to fill out a seemingly simple form on two of the books read over the course of the year. If a student has a large reading list and is reading many books over the year, why only pick two? Why make this assignment a final, rather than an accumulating resource? Doing it for every book read over the year would turn the assignment into a process building on each and every book read and review written so that by the end of the year the students would not only have a very substantial database to share with others, but would be experts at writing beautiful book reviews, and in essence supporting their views, incorporating new vocabulary, their own ideas, and being able to write in a new style. It would teach organization and process, not just seem an end of the year task. Also, by making it a year long assignment that the students were responsible for posting themselves, it would enable the other students to see each others' work as the year progresses and encourage the students to keep up with each other.

Additionally, the suggestion to use Google Docs as a database source is difficult to share and to search. Therefore, even though it is online, it is really just "out there" not in an accessibly searchable form such as a blog or class website.

In general, the idea of this lesson plan is in the right place, it seems to me that the conceptual process and its applications are just not quite developed.


  1. Very good review. I agree that although Google Docs is a handy resource, if a student wanted to find one book review they would have to go through every Google doc to find the particular book.

    I also agree that limiting the students is not the correct way to go about it, but instead encourage them to write about each book which enables development of opinion and writing skills.

    Overall I believe your review is well worded as well as informative, but still gives credit to the teacher for the idea.


  2. I agree with you that the sample lesson plans are underdeveloped. I would not take them seriously as they are simply examples of what COULD be executed through Google Apps for Education.

    However, I think that the use of Google Docs would be helpful for students since it is cloud-based - therefore there is no way that the student could misplace work, corrupt a file, file incompatible, etc. There is also the opportunity for collaboration among students. One more benefit to cloud-computing is for the instructor - who wouldn't have to carry home a stack of papers to review.

  3. Very good review. You provided very thoughtful suggestions for improving the lesson.

  4. Why not use something like Goodreads, a site that allows one to bookshelf one's books as well as post reviews that can be viewed and commented on by a wider audience? This is currently being used by students at my school in order to provide an authentic audience.