Each book's Profile consists of:
- Bookmarks: page-by-page commentary and illustration of the text;
- Setting: description and illustration of the main places or themes of the book;
- Glossary: foreign, invented and tricky words deciphered;
- Summary: objective synopsis of the book;
- Review: subjective analysis and evaluation of the book; and
- Author: biographical information, interview videos, links and photos.
What readers may find most interesting is the Bookmarks. They often confirm a conclusion a reader has already drawn, as in these examples from The Road:
At other times, the Bookmarks provide additional information which, though tangential to the storyline, in nonetheless interesting, as in the case of the game of Buzkashi, mentioned in The Kite Runner:
The obvious use of this site is a resource for teachers and students to access background knowledge for a book they're presently studying.
However, I can also see students creating their own Book Drum projects informally, using Google Docs or a similar collaborative tool. Google Docs or a wiki would allow pairs or groups of students to work on the same novel by assigning each member a set number of pages or chapters. An alternative to a full would be to use the same process with shorter literature selections: short stories, interviews, current event articles, poems, lyrics.
I have to admit, I like this site. I found myself not only checking out notes on books I had read, but also investigating books I hadn't even heard of. While some of the formatting at times seems a bit clunky (because of oddly sized graphics versus the text boxes), the research and notes seem pretty solid.
Have a thought on using this resource? Can you think of another way for students to create a similar product in order to dissect what they're reading? Leave a comment below.