Kindles and Nooks are pretty common these days. eReaders are one of the latest advancements technology is making in a rather old school field: English. For hundreds of years books have been printed. And yet with the development of screens and mobile technology, in addition to increased memory storage devices, we can now carry virtual books with us wherever we go. eReaders give us a new way to interact with books. You can adjust the font size, screen brightness or contrast to your liking. Taking notes or bookmarking pages, without leaving a mark in your pristine novel, is easier than ever. You can search the text automatically, instead of by hand, if you’re looking for a particular word or a scene where a minor character might appear. You can share your books with friends or even rent books from your local library via your eReader. The way we read and share novels is rapidly changing. Not to mention that printing less is also more environmentally friendly for the planet.
In terms of sharing the way we read, a great site spurred by the digital book revolution is Goodreads. On Goodreads, you can search, review and favorite thousands of books. It’s my go to place when I want to figure out what to read next. I just look at my “to-read” list and see if any of the books I’ve chosen seem to stand out at me. You can also find new books based on your past reviews or favorites. And it’s a pretty great platform for authors to interact with readers as well. Several of my favorite authors post updates on their Goodreads page or announce contest drawings. They answer fan questions and share book recommendations. Goodreads is a great way to organize and add to your digital library.
In a rather standard approach, there are also many games designed to teach English (and other languages) to kids and adults alike. Rosetta Stone, Duolingo and many other games have been rising in the app and software market for some time. Interactive games with sounds and animation are engaging and help people learn something new in a fun format. Additionally, for some time there have been games designed to teach students how to type. Typing games were a staple of my childhood computer classes, and I hear they’re still pretty popular. With more research and different platforms, English games will add to the plethora of resources to help educate children in this very necessary subject, and perhaps even teach them a new skill, as with learning new languages.
In an entirely different realm of English and technology, there are some pretty unique projects coming out of the woodwork. One of these projects I personally know about involves creating a crowd-sourced, create your own adventure of Pride and Prejudice. This is happening at Stanford University, and while it doesn’t have a name yet, my friends assure me the project is still legitimate.
While this project is still in its early stages, it sounds very promising. Essentially, students from across campus will write their own work inspired and modelled after Pride and Prejudice. Submissions can range from pages to chapters long, and eventually the whole story will be re-written with original content. Then, the student group plans to organize the book in a digital format, so that users may read and click around to different “adventures” within the novel. It’s a create concept that is very effectively taking technology and utilizing it to make something innovate. Especially with books, other than changing the format they are in, unique projects like this are rather hard to come by. In the future, I think technology could really facilitate more inventive collaboration and production in the English sector. Who knows what sort of cool projects can be created among hundreds or thousands of people? Technology makes it possible.