Growing up, you may have read the 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books. You remember, right? After a couple pages of plot advancement and exposition, you would stumble upon a question and two possible choices. Each choice directed you to a different page and consequence or reward awaited.
And the aforementioned pattern would continue throughout each book until you reached one of two conclusions.
Today's session on Digital Literacy sure had me longing for the days of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books. The presenter showed the page on Wikipedia about the Civil War. Every other word was a link to another page.
Wikipedia is a steroid-induced 'Choose Your Own Adventure'. It sure seems exciting, but as an educator, I'm mildly disconcerted about the new challenge in teaching students, even/especially high school students, how to remain focused while reading.
If they begin to click, click, click, where might they end up? Having a clear purpose at the outset is fine, but links are tempting, action-filled words full of potential.
Training our students to navigate through these blue-linked pages is mandatory. If we don't, a few clicks in and our students will be mired in the Blair Wiki Project; lost with no idea how to get out.