Lector traces its roots back to the Spring semester of 2011, during the New Frontiers of Reading project. The group, led by Diana Gruendler, was working with the Sony Corporation to study the potential benefits of using electronic readers in the classroom. While this semester’s class was not the first to use the e-readers, there was a new facet to the experiment: Lector.
Lector, at its core, is a platform that allows the classroom and the community to come together. Students who meet in class twice a week on Penn State’s campus can also meet virtually, online, any time of the day to discuss ideas with each other and with the larger community. As an online repository of the reactions and thoughts of students, Lector blurs the lines of the traditional classroom environment and acts as a way to continue researching the impact of modern technologies as classroom tools.
The original Lector group began with just three TAs: Mike Buonpane, Amanda Buonpane, & Danielle Gruen, now graduates. Mike and Amanda managed the creation of the web site and the integration into the classroom, promoting the growth of the platform. Danielle, on the other hand, took on a new kind of role — the virtual TA. While studying abroad in Australia and New Zealand, Danielle managed the site from overseas. Having students in different time zones allowed us to grow and manage the site quickly. Ryan Fisher and Ky Winkleblack also served as classroom TAs and provided in-classroom support to the participating classes. The varying roles and perspectives that each TA held helped to expand Lector to be a multifaceted platform, accessible to many different groups and communities.