Resources like this stir up all sorts of questions and inspire all kinds of ideas too. I can imagine that some of the teachers that I get to work with might appreciate tools like this for what they might contribute to learning. I can also imagine that others will worry that students will use it like they often use CliffsNotes—to completely dodge texts that confuse or disinterest them.

I’m wondering how to engage students meaningfully with literature using tools like 60 Second Recap and Cliff’s Notes. Is it possible to have learners develop their own, around the texts they enjoyed and understood the most, so that others could learn from them? Would it be a good thing if users were invited to contribute their own works to these sites? Or is it enough to allow or even invite students to make use of them as-is, in order to enrich the meaning they are creating?

Apps that include Cram Plans have the English teacher in me recoiling–I’ll admit it. Perhaps it makes more sense for me to consider the potential and the possibility of the things that feel most threatening, though. The reality is that these tools exist, they aren’t going away, and kids are using them. Maybe we could make that work for all of us in better ways. I don’t know. At the very least, it challenges all of us to design learning experiences that transcend the meaning that can be distilled from resources like these. After all, they are out there and more accessible than ever. What are your thoughts?


1 Comment

  1. I really like 60 second recap Angela, and intend to use it this year. I think they can garner the interest of students who are finding a text confusing to start with. We’re studying Romeo and Juliet next term and the students have to create a creative task that can involve media. I think we should be offering them the idea of creating their own 60 second recap and submitting it on the site. They do ask for submissions from students.

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