First of all, the size of the chart makes it very engaging. I could technically create something like this on chart paper or a board but the size of the Smartboard makes it readable to everyone. And I can zoom in to the section of the board we are talking about. I can arrange and rearrange thinking and kids are seeing how writing and talk change thinking and how our thinking changes over a book. Kids are not only adding to the conversation about the book, but they are suggesting things that should do with our board--"Move that orange one that says....to the place where we are thinking about Georgina." or "I think we should delete the sticky that says Georgina is naughty.".
I've always believed strongly in Readers' Notebooks as a way for students to capture their thinking in writing. Now, there are so many other options available with digital tools. I love this tool for the conversations and understandings that are happening because of it. And I also love that it is modeling another tool that supports readers in digging deeper in their reading.
I continue to find that when I play with new digital tools, focusing on the learning makes it almost risk-free. I know my focus is on reading and thinking so if this tool hadn't worked so well, it would have been okay because my focus was on the literacy learning, not the tool. Although the tool is very cool, the power has been in what it has done for our conversations and how we've been able to capture that as a community.
(I'm hoping to have Katharine's students talk to my students after we've played with this a bit--to share ways that they are using the tool to clarify and deepen understanding.)
Check out other digital literacy posts in the roundup at Reflections on the Teche.