Monday, May 10, 2010

Using google books for research and teaching

Besides searching the web using Google, the google tool I use the most is Google books. I also have an iGoogle site which has usual calendar/weather plus links to RSS feeds for local NZ news, BBC news and Endgagets plus a few widgets which I use often including a currency converter, scrabble dictionary and a measurements converter. Google scholar also features high on my list of google tools to use as it augments the CPIT Proquest database for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. I often use google scholar as a precursor to Proquest to get a feel for the researchers working in a pertinent field and then continue on with the Proquest databases.

However, I find myself using Google books at least a couple of times a day to look things up and to add to articles found on Google scholar or Proquests. Since starting the use of google books at the end of 2008, I now have over 500 books categorised into 47 bookshelves. 99% of these offer previews. Often the contents page and first introductory chapter contain enough information to follow through either with an interloan request to the library for a copy of the relevant chapter or a purchase request to the library. I am also now placing GB as a tag on to articles / books stored on Endnotes as a cross reference for me to access the relevant article or book easily.

Google books show up well on my ipod touch as well so with an ipad, the reading experience will be even better. It is really the convenience more than anything else which makes google books such a great resource. When I get the time in the future, I will contribute with reviews of books etc. as many of the books currently in my library tend to be focused on workplace learning, apprentice research, identity formation etc. which are not really books read by the general public.

I have found Google books to be a good way to ease adult education students into reading online.  I provide hyperlinks to pertinent and seminal books on Moodle as 'readings' the week before a scheduled f2f or online session. During the session we discuss a few main points I have asked the students to find out by reading a chapter in the book.  Almost always, when the class is introduced to Google books, there will be a discussion on how to read a book online, it's advantages/ disadvantages and how to later find the reading again. So using reading archived on Google books is one way to introduce tutors to the concept of ebooks. 

Digital literacy for tutors includes debates on the use of interactive white boards and mobile technology along with the availability and accessibility to digital information. These are all crucial components of the classroom of the future, whether f2f or online.  Google books is one way to introduce people to how technology has changed the way in which we are able to access information. From there, it becomes easier to springboard ideas about how to integrate technology into helping students learn better in different teaching contexts.


Sanford said...

We need to know the content of the books. Teachers need to know how students think, and build from there using basic principles. See "Teaching and Helping Students Think and Do Better" on amazon.

GusF_Finkbeiner1209 said...

Well done!........................................