After spending a month using Destiny Quest as our default searching interface, I wanted to try the social networking aspect of it, called MyQuest. I decided to get my Battle of the Books students to be my guinea pigs. It was easy to set the students up with their usernames and passwords in the back office of Follett Destiny.
The first thing that I showed them how to do was to find friends and send friend requests.
The next feature that I explained to them was MyQuest shelves. I showed them how to put books on their "have read" shelf, their "now reading" shelf and their "want to read" shelf.
Writing recommendations has turned out to be very popular with the students. They are currently writing very short ones, and I will spend more time with them on how to write a good recommendation that will really "sell" the book to their friends.
Since my Battle of the Books club has now disbanded for the year, I plan on introducing MyQuest to my grade 4 class. I will take the time to give them some examples of well written book recommendations and this will become a writing assignment. If the level of activity on MyQuest is any indication, I would say that it has been popular with the students. Note the date on the above recommendations: Spring Break!
Kist writes in his book, The Socially Networked Classroom: Teaching in the New Media Age that "teachers...seem to be guilt ridden over what might be called 'The Entertainment Factor' of these new media, worrying that, by opening up their classrooms to Web 2.0 and other new literacies, they disrupt the seriousness of school and 'dumb it down'" (Kist, 2010, p. 118). I feel that quite the opposite is happening in this situation. Students are enthusiastic about recommending books and writing recommendations because they know that they will be read by their friends.
Kist, W. (2010). The socially networked classroom: teaching in the new media age. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.