Tuesday, 10 September 2013

My Relationship with iBooks Author

I was first exposed to iBooks Author when attended the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in Bali, March 2013. I spent forever being utterly confused as how the program worked and what was the point of it all. It wasn’t until I started creating my own iBook that I actually saw its full potential as a learning tool. My first class, first day back from the institute, my students were taking a test. Normally I’d be, “woohoo, kids taking tests… quiet time for me to do some work” but not this time. I sat there feeling angry and was thinking what was the point of all this. Yes, my students were taking a test but it hit me that a test was a terrible way of showing their learning. Things needed to change. After spending the day in anger and frustration, I decided to approach my team. You see, because there are multiple teachers teaching the same course, we need to have common assessments. So unless we come to an agreement on our assessment, there was nothing I could do.

My precalculus team were receptive in trying out the iBook as a project for our students. Soon after that, I was able to set up a department iBooks Author training from one of our Ed Tech members (Tim Bray). Students were also very receptive to the project. The product of their efforts were astonishing. Their books could easily be used as a textbook. They demonstrated their understanding of the topic clearly and were able to use a lot of creativity to make the book interesting. After the iBooks were completed, we had a peer assessment class where they viewed and critiqued each other’s books. During that time, I would frequently hear “whoa, that’s so cool!” They blew each other away in the way they presented the topic. The iBooks Author project was a success! Here are few of the statements made by students when I asked them to reflect on the project.

"I personally enjoyed doing the iBooks author because I can create a book of my own using the knowledge I know. Compared to other projects, I was interested in my own project for the first time."

"Wow, what a fun project! The project was fun; I learned to use iBooks author, a new program! I think that my book was very creative, and that a lot of my classmates had very creative and sophisticated projects. The peer assessment was also very beneficial because I got fresh eyes to look at my project. This type of project is beneficial to our learning, and I hope that we do more of these in the future"

"I really enjoyed the ibooks project. It was my first time to write a book and I was surprised how easy it is to write a book because I am not that good with computers."

It was from this that I thought about a year long iBook project as their digital portfolio. My next post will be about how I used this idea to pilot my Student Lead Project Based Learning class.

Below are some screenshots I have taken from various student created iBooks from my classes.

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