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Sunday, June 05, 2005

From Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine to The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez


Detail from Danny Dunn and the Homework MachineOver the last 3 years or so, I've been gathering children's and young adult texts that include some level of technology interaction, typically involving computers and other digital technologies. My goals are two-fold: to examine how these texts present and situate technology as well as to explore ways to use these texts with pre-K to 12th grade readers.

This presentation has been an opportunity to begin sharing the information that I have been gathering on my bookshelves. My ultimate goal is to develop an ongoing source of information for K12 teachers who may use these texts in their classrooms as well as for college teachers who are exploring how students' literacy skills are shaped by children's literature before they reach the college classroom.

Several basic questions frame my exploration:

  • What technology resources are students likely to encounter in the texts that they read?
  • What do these books teach students about technology? What messages do they communicate?
  • What experiences with technology do students bring to these books?
  • How does their prior knowledge affect their reading of these books?
  • How can we tap this knowledge of technology in the composition and language arts classroom?
Working from these questions, I've gathered ideas that urge students to think more deeply about their own beliefs and to pay attention to the ways that technology is described and used.

This presentation is broken into the following sections:

  Books Student Explorations Conclusions

Working Book List (PDF)

Some Preliminary Notes/Warnings
  • Rather than a polished presentation, these pages share my current, working vision of these children's and young adult texts. The information is a simple and preliminary impression, one which will expand as I explore more of these texts more deeply. This presentation is just the beginning.

  • Parts of this text were conceptualized in Michigan at CIWIC. Examples are limited in places to the texts that I have on hand in Houghton. Most notably, I have no picture books on hand to refer to for specific details. I'll expand the information when I have all my books available.

After reading comments on the CWOnline site, it occured to me that I have access to WorldCat through NCTE--it's an online search engine of library materials. A very slick tool that librarians use to find things. Duh, I thought. Look up computer juvenile fiction. I found these additional titles, but haven't looked at the books (obviously). They all seem to be on Amazon, in case you want to see a brief blurb, etc.

* Hold That Computer - Hayes - 1968
* Ollie's Team and the Football Computer - C. Philbrook - 1969
* Ollie's team and the basketball computer - C. Philbrook - 1969
* Ollie's Team and the Baseball Computer - Clem Philbrook - 1968
* Sir MacHinery - Tom McGowen - 1970
* Merlin's Mistake. - Robert, Newman - 1970
* Agaton Sax and the incredible Max brothers - Nils Olof Franzén - 1970
* The tale of the big computer; a vision - Hannes Alfvén - 1966

I didn't find anything older than Danny Dunn, but I may need to look for different search terms (ENIAC, mainframe, etc). The Alfvén book, for instance, is listed on some pages as mathematical fiction.

I still need to go through WorldCat for stuff since 1970 as well. It was the older books that I wanted to try to identify for now.
Also, some newer books:

Donorboy : A Novel by BRENDAN HALPIN
Amy by Mary Hoffman
Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper
Just to cross-post, the Computers and Writing Online link to the presentation is
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