As a teacher librarian I am always looking different ways to encourage and challenge our students in creative and interesting ways when they are responding to the books they are reading. To this end I have been playing around with a few tools, including Google Maps. Last year I thought that I would explore how this tool could be used when studying Runner by Robert Newton and Black Snake by Carole Wilkinson. I thought we could develop some work that mapped the locations mentioned in these texts. I started to examine the options again and, when I investigated Google Maps and then went into Google books, I realized that more development has been going on.
I also recently read in a post on the Fiction Focus site about Penguin Books (UK) who have pioneered a new creative and collaborative project over the past 12 months in their We Tell Stories digital project.
Already known for their digital innovation, The UK publishing arm of Penguin began exploring new territory and announced in March 2008, a new project looking at the possibilities where literature, gaming and the web intersect. We Tell Stories is a digital writing project where Penguin challenged some of its authors to create new forms of a well known story, designed specifically for the internet.
Over the past 12 months, they have begun producing six stories in total, preparing to release one a week and each story having a different method of presentation. One of the titles is a thriller, written by Charles Cumming, and based on the John Buchan classic, The 39 Steps.It uses Google Maps and information bubbles to re-tell the story on-line, re-naming it The 21 Steps. This version of the story is a fast-paced thriller which takes the reader from the streets of London to Edinburgh. There is plenty of action and some cliff-hangers along the way. When I went to read the storyat school I found that our filters would not allow it (spam email URLS), so I had to read it using my mobile broadband. Tomorrow I will ask to change this situation. I am not sure of the outcome but I won’t go into another discussion about the arbitrary consequences of filters here.
Of interest also is the interview that was aired as part of ABC Radio National’s The Book Show. Ramona Koval recently spoke to British spy writer Charles Cumming , the creator of the reworked John Buchan classic. It is an interesting interview and well worth a listen.
Getting back to the Google Book Search site, have a look at what they offer for some of the other works. Check out what they have done with Dracula, for example. There has been quite a deal of interest in all things vampire so we have been working on using this interest.
The map is clear, the flags can be clicked on to reveal more information about where the reference is found in the book and you can also find the places listed below the map.
See below to get the idea of the map information
You are also linked to the page of text where the place in mentioned. The place name is highlighted to allow you to see how the place is mentioned in the context of the story. Now thinks of the ways I can use this!
Filed under: Education, Library2.0, literature, Reading, tools, Web2.0 | Tagged: Charles Cumming, Dracula, Google books, Google maps, interviews, John Buchan, literature promotion, Penguin Books, teaching ideas., The 21 steps, The 39 Steps, The book show, We tell stories, YA literature | 2 Comments »