Inside a dog

I was asked to speak at our March Cotlibs meeting. The agenda for the afternoon was on Library activities to promote reading. I gave a presentation on Insideadog. This online interactive literature website is a place for teen readers, it is all about books – by young people, for young people and the home of Inky, the reading wonder-dog. Inside a dog 1
How did I use it?
I worked with a Year 8 class in collaboration with their class teacher. All students registered for their own account, searched for good books on our library shelves, read book reviews on Insideadog and set up a book list.Inside a dog2

Students were encouraged to move books from Books I want to read across to Books I’ve read column and watch their list grow.
I set up a book club –Ms Cav’s Year 8 library blog and had students join the book club.
I trialed the forums – general discussion, section of the bookclub and the blogs section to see which was more useful and ran with the blogs section, interestingly the forum section has now been taken out of the bookclub home page
I posed questions such as “Which character could you see yourself becoming friends with and why?” “What characters could you see yourself not becoming friends with and why?” “What has been the best ending of a book you have read recently?” and students blogged their responses, to both my questions and towards the end began responding to each other’s responses.
Inside a dog 3 I encouraged students to keep abreast of Inky’s news and encouraged students to comment when something arose that interested them.

We regularly popped into the author of the month, however no amount of encouraging would see the girls blogging to the author. Inside a dog 4

Uploading book reviews to the site was extremely appealing and a quarter of the students did this of their own volition.
There are also competitions on the site however I don’t think students participated in these.
Inside a dog 5

Would I use it again?

Most certainly but would make the following changes:
Ask all students to do updates to their computers at regular intervals – IT issues did make the program problematic and discouraged a number of users. The verification process was long-winded because of these IT issues (verification failed to show up on laptops that updates had not been installed) but it is possible to work around this by having students sharing the laptops that are showing the verification code, for others to register on.I set the securities to private but would keep membership open until all students had signed up. This would also overcome the verification process issues. The major change I would make would be to our use of the author in residence section. We totally underutilized this valuable tool and in future I would link to it every time the class were undertaking our Insideadog activities.

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