Critical Web Reader program developed by School of Education faculty member licensed globally

IU Research and Technology Corp. signs agreement for use in Singapore

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. recently completed a licensing agreement with the National Institute of Education in Singapore for use of IU's Critical Web Reader in Singapore. In parallel, the National Institute of Education has also entered into a service agreement with IU wherein IU will provide support to a team in Singapore led by the institute.

Along with funding from IU and the IU School of Education, the Critical Web Reader was developed in part by a grant from the National Institute of Education in Singapore.

IU Bloomington associate professor James Damico is the co-creator of the Critical Web Reader, along with Mark Baildon, associate professor at the National Institute of Education. Damico and Baildon have led the research, curriculum design and professional development dimensions on the project.

“This agreement is a great example of IU’s international connections, leading to a tool that will assist students in their learning and teachers in guiding and evaluating those students,” said Tony Armstrong, president and CEO of the IURTC. “These two highly experienced researchers, who are also educators themselves, are providing tools that will allow teachers all over the globe to design custom course content for their students.”

Teachers design Critical Web Reader activities to guide students to read and evaluate information on the Internet. Students work on activities, in class or from home, to become more skilled and successful readers of the Web. Depending on a teacher’s goals, students can work individually, in pairs or in groups as they complete Critical Web Reader activities.

The Critical Web Reader takes each Web page selected by the teacher and places it within an interactive learning frame. Within this frame, students use teacher-selected scaffolds, or “lenses,” which help them analyze and evaluate Web pages. Each lens includes guiding questions, tips, suggestions and a special “Reader notes” section for students to type responses and document their thinking.

“This licensing agreement effectively creates a 'Critical Web Reader-Singapore,' where a team of designers, developers, researchers and educators can lead further design and development efforts to meet the specific needs of Singapore teachers and learners,” Damico said.

Damico's areas of expertise include critical reading, inquiry-based teaching and learning, content area literacy, and working with new texts and technologies. He is an associate professor at Indiana University Bloomington in the School of Education's Department of Literacy, Culture and Language Education.

“There is a great deal of excitement here in Singapore for the ways the Critical Web Reader can be used across Singapore classrooms. In particular, we will be working with the Ministry of Education in Singapore to design ways to integrate the Critical Web Reader into a learning management system that the ministry is developing,” Baildon said.

Baildon's areas of expertise include inquiry-based social studies education, social studies education in global contexts and 21st-century skills. Baildon is an associate professor in humanities and social studies education at the National Institute of Education in Singapore.

Since 2004, Damico and Baildon have worked with hundreds of teachers and thousands of students in the United States and Singapore, and around the world. To forge essential links in their work, Damico and Baildon focus on inquiry-based teaching and learning and big questions in education, such as “What does it mean to teach, learn and live in the 21st century?”

In addition, the creators have founded a company, Delve Learning, to commercialize the Critical Web Reader in territories outside Singapore. The vision for Delve Learning is for all learners -- children through adults -- to become more strategic and savvy thinkers, readers and writers, especially when it comes to working with information sources on the Internet.