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Bloom Reading

posted Oct 23, 2011, 3:13 AM by Jack Marrows
Bloom Reading is a project I worked on after my second semester of university and I aimed to integrate what I had learnt about Web 2.0 and web development into my project.  Bloom Reading  aims to provide a powerful resource to teachers around the world.  It is a platform for teachers to generate and share high quality comprehension questions and worksheets.  The rationale outlined on the website is:

Reading comprehension is an essential skill for all people and students to be able to live a comfortable and literate life. As students move through school the skills educators aim to teach students change. In the lower grades students learn how to read words and understand what they are reading literally. When students move into the upper school the demands on reading broaden and students are required to inference, reorganise, evaluate and deeply consider the texts they read.
 
Teachers around the world teach these skills through encouraging students to regularly read and strategic questioning that often takes the form of a basic comprehension exercise. They use known frameworks such as Blooms Taxonomy to ensure that their questions provoke higher order thinking in the students and facilitate them developing the skills they will need to be literate in the modern world
Writing these questions can be time consuming for teachers and that is where Bloom Reading is useful. Bloom Reading is a service that allows teachers to share comprehension questions they have written for books, instantly generate worksheets and access questions created by other teachers around the world. It is entirely free to use and as more teachers use it the better it becomes. The ultimate goal of Bloom Reading is to enable teachers to write high quality questions and essentially significantly increasing teacher productivity by allow them to reuse their own and each others questions.

Technically I have included many web 2.0 principles in an attempt to make the site work.  Firstly, all of the content is generated by the users.  This aims to all me to harvest the collective intelligence.  Furthermore, I have allowed users to flag poor questions, bookmark books in ‘My Books’ and implicitly vote questions up by using them in their worksheets.   I am hoping that these measures will ensure the content on the site is scalable and maintains a good standard of quality.

Secondly, I have made it very quick for a user to reach the functionality they are after.  In fact they don’t even need to create an account for certain functions.  On top of this I intend on rewarding my users by acknowledging the top contributors in the side bar and by providing them high quality worksheets efficiently.

Thirdly, I have integrated social media tools into my site in an effort to promote it.  Obviously this site relys on the network effect.  Hence, the more people who use it the better the content is.  The social integration aims to encourage people to share the site with their friends and more importantly their colleagues.

Notably, the service interacts with many other web services such as YouTube, Amazon and of course the social tools I mentioned.  Furthermore, it was build upon the Zend Framework and using JQuery.  As a result the development of this site has been agile without compromising the robustness of the code used.

I intend on providing the service for free and monetising through advertising and referrals to Amazon.  In the future the data collected may also be valuable and with wider functionality there may be a potential for a subscription service (never for independent users however).

Future functionality for the site may include student portals to allow students to answer the comprehension questions electronically.  This could then allow student progress to be mapped easily across books.  I have some other ideas also and if you have any please don’t hesitate to suggest them to me.  In the mean time this blog is intended to notify people of future functionality and Bloom Reading milestones.

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