Friday, August 24, 2012

Students will thank me for these demons.

Here’s a question for you: Don’t you enjoy a book even more when a song or a band you like is mentioned? Wouldn’t it be interesting to find other books that make the same pop culture references? That’s the idea behind Small Demons. The site connects the people, places and things from books and creates the Storyverse.  The site also gives you the opportunity to reflect your own Storyverse through your Storyboard.

Very whimsical and fun.  I can imagine that I’ll start using this much the same way I use IMDB to find details about a film, producer or character.  The important question I’m interested in asking is, how can I use this tool as a School Librarian.

First off, I can see this being a really fun tool for displays. Displays can get so boring trying to tie in with “National Whatever Month.” Here are some engaging display ides: Display of books where all of the characters are from a certain city? Or where a particular musical group is mentioned? Or even where characters eat the same meal?  The possibilities are endless.

Book Discussion
Small Demons will enhance any ordinary book discussion by providing more details from a book that people might have missed, or to make connections to similar books.

Storyboard project
Have the students identify a topic they have an interest in, the possibilities are endless. For example a highschool psych class can search the storyverse for themes on addiction, cognition, or motivation.  History students can search the storyverse for connections on wars, economies, and traditions.  Through the use of the storyboard students will create a personal connection to these topics through pop culture books, music and movies.

What Should I read next?
Booklist blogger Neil Hollands explains how the site could be useful for students:  “For students who need context that many adults already have or anyone who is pop culture deprived, I would imagine this site might also help with their comprehension of the book.” Another reason why this tool is great for school!

I am not completely convinced that this resource is ideal for answering the age-old question "What should I read next?" but I wouldn’t discount the idea completely.  At the very least, it’s an interesting starting point to find a new book, and as more and more titles and metadata are added, who knows what cross-referencing possibilities will result!

All in all this is a good resource for secondary students to try out when looking for resources and media to draw from when creating school projects and papers.  A great tool to use when collaborating with teachers on a project.  The site is contemporary which is sure to engage even then most reluctant student with a new book, a new media source, and a new tool for searching and discovery.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much! Do you ever do talks or panels at library or education conferences? We'd love to help put together such things, along with things like lesson plans and such? Would love to be in touch if you're interested! I'm richard at smalldemons dot com.