I've blogged previously (ad nauseum?) about our iPad Trials (though, personally, I think it's more of an iBooks Author trial at this point, but it may be expanding).
Basically, for this project, students are researching WW II, specifically some aspect of their home countries' involvement (we're an international school). Each student will use iBooks Author to create an interactive, illustrated chapter on their topic, with each chapter also including a Timeline using BeeDocs Easy Timeline (very cool). Then we'll pull all the chapters together into a single book. Each chapter will being with a one minute video interview of the student discussing the reason for his/her topic choice, and what s/he learned.
We'll also include interviews at the end from each of the teachers (history, tech integrator and me), discussing the project as a whole, and what WE learned from it.
Our major concern lay in keeping the tech from over-whelming the content. After the projects initial introduction, students had one day with the iPads, looking at several different interactive books as models (especially this one). Then they never actually had an iPad in their hands again until well after their research was finished and they had written their text and found their images.
We spent a day introducing the basics of iBooks Author, then gave them a week to put their chapter together. We did spend one Saturday afternoon here, a) to double-check for copyright compliance and b) for students who wanted to add extra inter-activity to their books.
Students handed in their iBA files, and an intern put them all together.
What we would add next time:
- Lesson on layout and design
- Lessons on advanced Keynote design (for creating interactive widgets)
- We'd plan a style sheet ahead of time. While students did all use the same template, we realized halfway through they were changing fonts and layouts, which gave the book a rather chaotic look! We had to decide on font choices and other design elements we wanted to keep consistent, then have students go back and change theirs accordingly.
It's a great project, in that students do (mostly) original research on topics of personal interest. Moreover, because everyone knew we planned to publish it world-wide, we were all on our A-game, students and teachers alike. The whole experience was powerful for students and eye-opening for teachers, once we saw the students level of engagement and commitment.
Whether it would have the same power once more teachers jump on board and they become "old hat" for students, I don't know. I tend to think not. In the meantime, however, I'm a believer!
Once the book is up on iTunes U, I'll post the link. I think it will be a good model for similar projects in other schools!