Print or Digital: New York Times Compendium
In the great debate to decide whether the print or digital version of the New York Times was better to use in the classroom, I decided to look into the digital version--more specifically, Compendium. Compendium is a recently new way to use articles, images, videos, and quotes to tell personalized stories using the New York Times as a guide. New York Times subscribers can create collections of articles with the title of their choice that can be organized by specific topics, authors, or however else they would like to categorize their findings. Also, each item in the collection has a place where the article can be described through a summary, analysis, or even a reaction. Collections can be shared anywhere and as a Compendium user, it is possible to explore other New York Times readers' collections.
It is very important to know what is going on in the world, so my writing class is based off of the New York Times and articles that we read. In class, we like to focus on the print version of the paper, but when I get the paper on Sundays, I browse through it, see what titles catch my eye, and look up the articles online. I primarily do this because I hate wrestling with the paper since it is so big and bulky, so I just make it easier for myself. When I learned about Compendium, I really liked the idea of it and it was an accommodating way for me to read New York Times articles and annotate them at the same time. I became interested and decided this was how I am going to throw in my two cents for the digital versus print debacle.
For print, it is possible to highlight important or fascinating points in articles and squeeze in notes in the tiny margins, but with Compendium, it is possible to fit the article and the Compendium window in the same screen and type as the article is being read. Compendium allows videos, quotes, or pictures from the article to be added in order to support whatever argument, opinion, or summary in a click of a button. It's just that simple.
Another reason why this way of reading and note taking is much more classroom friendly is because Compendium is a social website where students can explore the same topics that they are writing about. They would be able to access other Compendium users' collections allowing the students to be able to read the same article at a completely different perspective. Compendium allows users to look at all of the collections, the collections that are featured, and collections sorted by topic. With these choices, users are able to read about popular topics or a topic that interests the readers the most. This version of the New York Times will render users to read with a point-of-view they never considered or they will notice a detail in the article they missed before—which the print version of the paper would not do.
In addition to being shared with other Compendium users, collections can also be shared on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. With this feature, non-New York Times readers will be opened to the New York Times and will able to read their friend's viewpoint and even give their own thoughts on the article. The non-users could very well fall in love with the paper, become a subscriber, and a Compendium user. Even if they don't, they were still exposed to an article that they otherwise would not have been if the friend was just reading and writing in the paper.
The print version of the paper will always be traditional and important if the sole purpose is to just read it and keep thoughts to yourself, but in the classroom, students will be annotating articles, analyzing them, and writing their responses to them. Compendium through the New York Times will allow students to do all of the above and teachers will be able to have access to each collection with the URL. It is an environmentally and technologically friendly way to get students' voices out there using a social aspect to veer away from the typical classwork.