Back in October of 2010, I was interviewed by Lisa Guernsey for an article on eBooks that was to appear in School Library Journal. That article has finally been published in the June 2011 edition. You can read it in its entirety here. Thanks to Lisa for including information about Akron Ready Steps and our eBook research in the article. A small snippet from the piece follows below.

What’s an ebook anyway?

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Jeremy Brueck, an Akron, OH-based pioneer in children’s digital reading research, spends his days grappling with the cacophony of questions raised by children’s ebooks. With help from grants from the U.S. Department of Education, he’s examining how electronic materials should be used in early childhood programs, including Head Start.

He’s urging librarians, teachers, and parents to pause to get a handle on exactly what they mean when they say “ebook” in the first place. “We have to get out of saying ‘ebooks,’” argues Brueck, who codirects Akron Ready Steps, an early literacy program, and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Akron. “It’s just too broad.” Read the rest of this entry…

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So is Quality Rating Tool 2 any better? We will now hone in on our data to see if we have achieved better reliability with Tool 2. The following 4 charts show the inter-rater reliability on three subscales of version 2 of the e-Book Quality Rating Tool. Ten independent raters evaluated 5 books by assigning each book a score between 1 (strongly disagree) and 5 (strongly agree) on ease of use, multimedia and interaction features. Ratings were considered reliable if they fell within +1 point of the rating assigned by the Expert Rater, the project technology expert.

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Drawing on this professional knowledge base, we developed a matrix to guide the design of a prototype tool for evaluating the e dimension of the early childhood e-book. This matrix provided a framework for organizing the tool (categories & elements) and specified criteria for judging the electronic environment. We used the Quality Rating Tool 1 with a set of internal raters, consisting of 4 teachers, and also external raters, who were members of our research team.

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From the Blueprint Key, we moved to the development of 2 unique analytic tools. Analytic Tool I was adapted from the coding categories of de Jong and Bus (2003) and focused primarily on multimedia/ interactivity design features. This tool uses the entire e-book as the unit of analysis. It is organized into four categories—Book Assistants; Multimedia Illustrations; Multimedia Print; Interactivity—that reflect the major early literacy learning domains of Book Handling, Comprehension, Word Recognition and Cognitive Processing. The four categories include 14 elements that describe ebook design (e.g., presence of static and/or animated illustrations).

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In Phase 1, our research goal was to design an effective and usable tool for early childhood teachers to us in order to rate the quality of the e-Book for use in early literacy instruction. Our interest in developing an e-Book rating tool began in 2008 with our first attempt, the Blueprint Key, and has evolved over time by blending several different analytic tools to create the most recent version, the Quality Rating Tool. Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of each component of the Quality Rating Tool.

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e-Books are becoming increasingly common in our society. Children and adults can read e-Books easily using devices such as the Kindle, Nook, iPods, iPads, iPhones, and computers. The speed at which e-Books are adapted into routine use could be accelerated even faster as communication technologies such as Wi-Fi and smartphones become more common in people’s daily lives.

So, then what does this mean in regards to e-Book reading from the perspective of e-Book pedagogy in early childhood classrooms? What do we know about the quality of current e-Books that many children are reading? During this presentation, we will briefly explain an e-Book instructional model in early literacy, and then we will focus on the issue of developing an e-Book quality-rating tool.

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This past week I had the privilege to present some of my e-Book research with my colleague, BK You from the Southwest Institute for Families, at the inaugural Early Education and Technology for Children Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. This unique event was sponsored by the Waterford Institute and featured well-known speakers such as Dr. Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams and Dr. John Dexter Fletcher, just to name a few.

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Towards an e-Book Quality Rating Tool for Early Elementary Literacy Instruction
Jeremy Brueck (@brueckj23)
I was thrilled to find out that Jeremy Brueck is from Ohio.  His research is critical to the things I have been thinking about lately. I haven’t found many people who are really looking at ebooks for young children and learned so much from this session.  Jeremy Brueck is focused on not only rating ebooks but also to understanding what this means for young children and literacy. Although he stated early that he did not come at this from a literacy background at first, he has a strong sense of young children and their literacy development.   We spent time in this session examining ebooks on several iPads and iPods that Jeremy brought. We discussed the things that made them worthwhile, etc.  He shared several resources and much of the work he was doing with local Head Start programs there.  His presentation and resources are on his blog. Resources included an e-book Quality Rating Tool, a List of Early Elementary ebooks iOS Apps and more.  I hope to spend a great deal of time exploring these resources over the next several weeks.

Posted via email from brueckj23’s posterous

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I’m headed to Philadelphia later this week to attend the EduCon 2.3 conference. This will be my second trip to SLA, and I am every bit as excited to go back as I was to attend the first time. The main difference between this year and last is that I have decided to add my voice to the conversation as a presenter. I’m honored to be presenting amongst some of the great thinkers in our profession. I’m also humbled by the opportunity to learn along with many of them on a daily basis.

I will be facilitating a discussion around a topic that is very important to me, e-Books. More specifically, I hope to explore how, why and when e-Books should be included as part of the instructional process in the early elementary classroom with an eye towards developing an instructional model that could be used in Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms across the globe.

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I am many things. An educator, a doctoral candidate, a friend, a colleague, a leader, an innovator…I’m sure this list could go on with much debate. However, first and foremost, I’m a husband to a wonderful wife and a father to 3 sons who are the center of my life. Ian and Isaac are twins who are 9 years old and in the third grade. Aiden is just about 3 and starting to give us a real run for our money.

This morning I handed over control of one of my iPod Touch devices to each twin. I spent some time with Isaac showing him how to access the iTunes app store, download apps and sync them to the Touch while Ian was off shopping with his mother. I thought it might be interesting to give Raised Digital and IEAR readers a look at what apps 9 year old boys download to their iPod Touch. Here’s a couple screen shots that give you the general rundown.

iek01.JPG @ 100% (RGB_8#)

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This is a personal blog. The resources, information and views presented on Raised Digital are solely the opinion of Jeremy S. Brueck, and are not meant to reflect the views of my employer.


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