As it seems to happen every year in October and November, here at my school in Philly, I received a new student today. He’s a 10th grader who has been in the US for 15 days from Dominican Republic. I always feel terrible for these kids who have to catch up on so much language and curriculum. Secretly, for me though, I love it. I love the challenge of teaching these students. I love watching them on their first day be silent and knowing that in a year’s time, they will be coming to me and asking me all kinds of questions. I love knowing I have such an important job. Sometimes I wish I weren’t teaching anymore and want to do the admin stuff more, but on days like today, when I have a newcomer who so desperately needs me, I love teaching!
I have a vision. It is so clear; it’s almost as if I can feel the digital pages curling beneath my fingers. The textbook would be full of the most current content available on the web. It would have important people and ideas hyperlinked to 3D images that can be spun with the flick of a finger. I’m thinking of a bust of Mozart being able to be turned to see all 360 degrees. It would have vocabulary linked to the glossary, which was also in every language available on sites like Google Translate. Speaking of which, the entire textbook could change languages at the tap of a button on each page or as a setting for the whole book. Timelines would not be static; they would be dynamic, interactive hyperlinks. At the tap of a button on the timeline, images, video, and links within the textbook would become available. Charts, graphs, and tables could be drilled down to access even more data. Maps would of course be Google Earth-like. Videos would be embedded throughout with additional content. Music would even be included as an extra insight into something historical, cultural, or artistic. The typical quiz/review features would be clickable quizzes which provided students with feedback and show more content to help them understand what they missed. Project-based learning and social networking would be embedded throughout with instant access to twitter feeds, wikis, blogs, and creation apps to enhance the learning. This is my vision for the perfect digital textbook. Does it exist?
Hello. To introduce myself, my name is Kim Beiderman (pronounced like Byderman, or Spiderman, or Vitamin). Vitamin is how my 3 year old daughter pronounces it! I am the ELL Supervisor at a K-12 charter school in Philadelphia. We are embarking on a pilot program to have iPads used in the 9-12 ESL class. I will be posting updates on that. I have also figured out ways to creatively use our Title III funds and I will be making posts about that as well. I hope you enjoy this blog and get a lot from it.