Andrea White is changing typical teaching techniques. For her next project, the noted children's book author, whose historical fiction and science fiction novels attract middle school readers, is challenging students to help edit her next novel, Time Angel, in her Upcity Chronicles trilogy.
White launched the online interactive "e-book" this summer to give students the opportunity to become an editor for a day before the book hits stores next spring. Students "sit" in the book editor's chair online and offer ideas and feedback to White. The first name and school name of all participating students will appear in the back of the book when it is published.
“I have posted a draft of my new book, Time Angel. But I know I’ve made mistakes. I know you can help me tell the story better."
In her online note to students White writes, “I have posted a draft of my new book, Time Angel. But I know I’ve made mistakes. I know you can help me tell the story better."
She told CultureMap that having an online book provides a huge opportunity to enrich students' reading skills through the technology that we have today. "This is a great way for kids to understand writing is a form of communication," she said.
The interactive book also provides teachers a simple teaching tool. Not only is White letting students have the opportunity to help her change/edit her book, she will also engage them via Skype in classrooms when school starts again in August. The author lecture via Skype is part of the VIVA (Virtual Interaction with Visiting Author), a Texas Virtual Literarcy Enrichment Project.
"Schools no longer can afford author visits so talking to them via Skype is a cool thing," White said.
White championed support for public schools when her husband, Bill White, was mayor from 2004 to 2010 and she continues to be a fierce education advocate. She said that she believes that people of all ages become intrigued by reading books by authors with whom they can identify. "Kids gain the connection from book to author from using Skype, since most kids haven't met an author before," she said.
She added she is looking forward to seeing what kind of feedback students will give her. "Kids' imaginations are wild, so I can't wait to see what kind of input they have," she said.
Time Angel, the second in a triology of science fiction novels aimed at teenagers, is now available online and with a free download.