The Death Of Cliff Notes, Now Students Can’t Lie Their Way Through A Book Report
I am going to let you in on a little secret, and my 10th grade English teacher is going to say, “I knew it!!” I didn’t read my required reading book for the class. I read the cliff notes for it. I learned the characters, learned the plot and told the story and rated the book, shared my feelings, and ultimately earned a decent grade.
My teacher knew it then, I didn’t read the book. I gave a great report!!! Now with changing technology, the teacher will have proof that you didn’t read the book and they will know the second you walk into class.
At Texas A & M they are testing a program made by CourseSmart, that allows them to track their students’ progress with digital textbooks. They know how much you read, what you are hi-lighting, whether you skip pages, if you read the end first, and how much time you spend reading the book.
One of the stories that the NY Times shared is about Adrian Guardia, a Texas A&M instructor in management, took notice of a student who was apparently doing well. His quiz grades were solid, but Mr. Guardia also saw something else: that the student had opened his textbook only once. “Are you really learning if you only open the book the night before the test? I knew I had to reach out to him to discuss his studying habits.”
This is something that the program can also study. Not everyone reads their text book but can learn by listening in class. I am like that, I can’t take notes and listen. I like to record then take notes later. This can help teachers to connect more with students, to adapt their classes, and to know how students are learning.
In the old days, teachers knew if students understood the course from the expressions on their faces. Now they know through the program, and might be able to stop students from being frustrated and quitting.
According to the NY Times Eventually, the the data will flow back to the publishers, to help prepare new editions. Academic and popular publishers, as well as some authors, have dreamed for years of such feedback to direct sales and editorial efforts more efficiently. Amazon and Barnes & Noble are presumed to be collecting a trove of data from readers, although they decline to say what, if anything, they will do with it.
Texas A&M has one of the highest four-year graduation rates in the state, but only half the students make it out in that time. They hope this program will help.
I think it will be a matter of time before there will be a cliff app you can download to show you read it when you didn’t, and then you can by the book on tape or have it scanned into you.