Yesterday, I was developing my unit plan for our new novel study, I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. As I was doing this, I was trying to figure out the best delivery model for the assessment pieces (vocabulary, comprehension, collaboration). I found this teacher’s wiki: http://e2socrates.wikispaces.com/Novel+Study+-+I+am+Number+Four. This was exactly as I wanted to do. I started recreating it on my wikispaces (which I hardly ever use), but then realized I had everything I already wanted at my Google Site. My ELLs are already pretty comfortable with getting on the site. We’ve saved it to our home screens for easy access. I currently use the site for uploading class files and giving them their warm-ups. All I had to do was grant them access to edit and we were set for the collaboration piece. I created pages for the vocabulary and the comprehension. I left the vocabulary blank, because I want this to come organically from our reading. I bought the book as an iBook. Students will use the highlighter tool. We can then add these words to our google site and do the student-friendly definitions and translations. As for the comprehension, I wanted it to look like a discussion forum. Google Sites does not have this embedded (yet), so I had to create an outside one and use an iframe to embed the forum. I chose Lefora based upon a recommendation. I emailed the students invites. Hopefully, this all goes smoothly. We shall see today at 1:06. #wishmeluck
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?
Long story short, I was trying to buy I am Number Four as iBooks for my class set of iPads through iTunes. I thought I was being all legal and whatnot by trying to buy 17 copies. As it turns out, you only have to buy 1 copy per account and you can share it with ALL devices under the same account [Verified by speaking to an Apple rep on the phone]. Whoopee!! This means in a school setting, if all iPads/iPod Touches etc. were under the same account (even if it’s 100s) they could all have the same ebook (and audiobook and movie). Wow! Thank you, Apple. Once again, I bow to you.