See You At integratED Conference #iPDX14

I’m looking forward to presenting at integratED Portland 2014 February 26–28, 2014
Sheraton Hotel Portland Airport Portland, Ore. It’s a premier edtech conference features active hands-on sessions with an impressive team of presenters. I’m honored to be doing two workshops.

integratED Portland

Getting Started with iBooks Author
You’ll leave with workflow secrets for using iBooks Author, confident in your ability to create and share your own iBook. Here’s your chance to see how easy it is for students and teachers to create multi-touch iBooks using iBA. We’ll demonstrate the key steps in designing an iBook that can be published to iTunes or shared within your school. BYO Mac loaded with iBooks Author and some content you’d like to work with (text files, images jpg or png, Keynote decks, video m4v, audio m4a). You’ll learn efficient workflow strategies for creating and sharing your own multi-touch iBook. You’ll leave with a demonstration iBook and the confidence to keep going.

Right From the Start: Infusing Tech and PBL in Teacher Prep
Many are critical with the quality of teacher prep in the US. Here’s my attempt to get it right by infusing his University of Portland social studies methods class with practical tech applications and community-based PBL projects. Students utilized tech tools to support instruction and collaboration – LearningCatalytics, WordPress, Evernote, Learnist.

They served as consultants to the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center – a Japanese American History Museum in a variety of projects – designing curriculum for traveling exhibits, building an online museum, and a iPhone app walking tour of Japantown PDX. (In collaboration with PDX mobile app developer – GammaPoint) Student also collaborated on developing an iBook showcase of their work. Some of the grad and undergrad students will be on hand to discuss their reactions to the course and lead participants in a LearningCatalytics – powered reflection on their own teaching prep experience.

Tips for Motivating Student Writers with iBooks Author

Exploring_History

I just finished teaching a Social Studies Methods class at the University of Portland.

We took a very hands-on, project-based approach and even worked with a local historical museum where my students served as curriculum consultants.

As someone who has long advocated student publishing, I wanted my students to have the chance to design an iBook.

I’m pleased to announce that our book: “Exploring History” is available free at iTunes

This post will offer a rationale for student publishing, some tips on managing the project as well as student reaction to working with iBooks Author.

It’s about collaboration and content, not the technology.

My goals for the iBook project included:

  • Think like historians – if my pre-service teachers are going to inspire the next generation, they need to learn to behave like a historians and social scientists.
  • Explore technologies that support instruction – some educators are tempted to chase “bright, shiny objects” and forget that it’s about good teaching, not the technology. My students would have a chance to use a variety of tech tools and assess their efficacy.
  • Participate in a multi-stage, project-based learning experience to experience the challenges and opportunities of PBL.
  • Have a publicly shared product for their portfolio.

iBooks Author Lab

Here’s a few tips on student publishing with iBooks Author (iBA). For details on the original assignment see our class blog.

It’s about collaboration and content, not the technology.
Each step of the project involved peer review. For example, long before students even began research, they had to go through a “speed dating” session to “pitch” their research idea to one another for feedback.

Later we used Learnist as a online location for student to post their historic documents and scaffolding questions. Learnist is a web-based curation site with built in social media tools – it can collect and comment on videos, blogs, books, docs, images or anything on the web. Their peers reviewed the drafts and left comments on the site. Since Learnist boards are public, some students received comments from folks outside our class. See their draft Learnist Boards here.

Multi-touch iBA widgets are fun, but do they help tell the story?
Before using iBA, we spent time looking at iBooks and considering how various widgets might be useful. Students thought the scrolling side bar and gallery widgets would be effective design tools. Many students wanted to include YouTube videos.   (Our iBook readers would need wifi to access the videos, but since the actual video file does not reside in the iBook, the iBook file size is kept small.) You can use Bookry to embed a YouTube video. After a free account sign up, you’ll find many other useful widgets there.

The computer lab is for production not planning.
I staged a series of assignments that all folded into the development of a finished iBook. For example, I asked students to write a blog post reflecting on what they learned from developing their DBQ. That reflection later became the concluding section of their iBook chapter. By the time we were heading to the Mac lab to get started with iBA, they had their chapters finalized with all the content for their iBook chapter stored on a drive – including all image / sound / text files, citations and URLs. Students were able to copy / paste all their content into their iBook chapter in only a few hours of lab time. iBA Tip: If you don’t have a Mac / iBA station for each student, you could have a production team transfer the work of their peers into finished form. iBA Tip: It’s easy to copy / paste chapters or sections of chapters from one iBA file to another. Be warned that you cannot copy / paste individual iBA pages – thought you can copy / paste the content elements from one page to another in iBA.

Minimize the need for editorial clean up. Collaborate using a design template.
If you’ve every worked with a group in a computer lab you know how much time can be lost while they explore fonts and other design elements. We discussed some template options while we were looking at other sample iBooks. We arrived at consensus and I pre-loaded a template chapter into each work station. Few design decisions were made in the lab. The template began with a chapter “Photo and Text” page. iBA Tip: it’s easy to mess up iBAs Table of Contents view. Click here for my tip on how to avoid that. 

After the opening chapter text and image the rest of the template chapter consisted of blank pages with a few different text formats that we planned on using. iBA Tip: Unless you’re creating a largely text-only iBook, I find that chapters with flowing text are much more challenging to manage. Inserted widgets and images have a habit of repositioning as text is edited or deleted. Remind students to clean up any of the placeholder font that iBA inserts into widgets. iTunes will not approve an iBook that contains any placeholder text. (“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, donec ornare vitae…”)

Ibooks author lab 2

Here’s some feedback from my students on the project. BTW – only two of my 12 grad / undergrad students were experienced Mac users.

I liked how simple and hands-on the process was.The iBook making process is something that I definitely see myself using in the future.  I see this as a viable avenue for me and my teaching style. – Tom

iBooks Author is easy to use and the end product looks fantastic. I’m sure students would feel a real sense of accomplishment and pride after creating something with this program. This project gave us a nice taste of what this platform is capable of. Like everyone else, I can see myself using it in the future, for myself and for my students. – Damian

 

The prospect of an audience always inspires an extra amount of effort – Peter G.

 

I really enjoyed working on the iBook. It was a very fulfilling experience and I cannot wait until I can show my friends and family my section of the work. Looking back on it now, if my classroom had the resources I think this would make a fine project or lesson as the program itself is easy to use. – Cory

Working with iBook tonight was a great experience! iBooks is actually fairly simple and intuitive. After just a bit of instruction we were on our way. Now that our chapter in the iBook is finished I am excited to see how the whole iBook looks together. It is exciting to think students will be using our work. – Christina

I’m excited to wrap up our work on the iBooks. I’ve been thinking recently about how creating an iBook in the classroom gives students the opportunity to take ownership of their work. The prospect of an audience always inspires an extra amount of effort. – Peter G.

Working on the iBooks was a great experience. It’s actually much easier to work than I previously thought it would be. I thought of a good idea for a DBQ at the end of class today and I want to make it an iBook during winter break now. – Stephen

Music and the Vietnam Anti-War Movement

photographs of nick dewolf photographs of nick dewolf

This concludes a series of guest posts from my preservice teachers at University of Portland. They had the task of using Learnist to design a document based question that would eventually become part of a class-produced DBQ iBook collection. DBQ assignment here. More samples of student-designed DBQs here.

I’ve asked them to reflect on the assignment and invited them to guest post on my blog. Here is The Vietnam War designed by Samuel TS Kelley. His DBQ explores the relationship between the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war as reflected in the music videos of the era.

You can find Samuel on Twitter and see his posts on our class blog.

See Samuel’s chapter in our class-designed iBook – free at iTunes.

Samuel TS Kelley reflects on what he learned from the experience:

Using a famous or popular document doesn’t really help the student to begin answering questions on their own. It is much more important to use a document that allows the student to be the historian and reach logical conclusions about the time period.

This DBQ does a good job of using the documents and songs to generate questions that the students can answer using only the given sources. Despite this, I had trouble coming up with overall questions about the unit. I kept refining the topic until I had a good theme to work with. I was already using some music as evidence, and I added a couple songs to make the music of the time central to the DBQ. This also changed the main idea of the DBQ, which shifted from a focus on the civil rights movement to the general anti-war movement (although civil rights were still very important to the DBQ).

Overall, I learned a lot from this assignment, especially about using documents that are most conducive to the student’s knowledge level. Using a famous or popular document doesn’t really help the student to begin answering questions on their own. It is much more important to use a document that allows the student to be the historian and reach logical conclusions about the time period. I am excited to continue to use DBQ’s to teach students to examine, analyze, and interpret the documents in ways that will engage their critical thinking skills, and let the students do the work of a historian when trying to establish facts and conclusions about the time period.

Image credit: Flickr / nick dewolf photo archive 
101970 07 04 ~ Boston Common,October 1970. 
Part of an archival project, featuring the photographs of Nick Dewolf

The Power of Propaganda: A Student-Designed DBQ

white haired girl balletI assigned my preservice teachers at University of Portland the task of using Learnist to design a document based question that would eventually become part of a class-produced DBQ iBook collection. DBQ assignment here. More samples of student-designed DBQs here.

I’ve asked them to reflect on the assignment and invited them to guest post on my blog. Here is The Power of Propaganda designed by Kyle Stephens.

You can find Kyle’s posts on our class blog.

See Kyle’s chapter in our class-designed iBook – free at iTunes.

Kyle Stephens reflects on what he learned from the experience:

I wanted to somehow link the idea of propaganda to today’s society and challenge the students to think about how propaganda may be used today.

When I started my DBQ project I wanted to show how propaganda was used throughout history and see how propaganda evolved throughout the years. However, I decided to focus my attention at WWII and the Cold War Era. I was able to find some great documents showing the propaganda used during that time. I wanted to somehow link the idea of propaganda to today’s society and challenge the students to think about how propaganda may be used today. However, I didn’t come up with a great way to do that without making the project much larger in scope. I think I should have focused my attention to either WWII or the Cold War exclusively. I think I would have been able to dive in deeper with one of them, rather than trying to span over a long time and different conflicts. However, this DBQ could be used to try to connect the two events and show how propaganda played a part in both of these.

Image credit
The White-Haired Girl: Chinese film poster (1950)
British Library
 

Two Worlds Meet: Europeans in the New World

America / [by Theodor Galle after Jan van der Straet]I assigned my preservice teachers at University of Portland the task of using Learnist to design a document based question that would eventually become part of a class-produced DBQ iBook collection. DBQ assignment here. More samples of student-designed DBQs here.

I’ve asked them to reflect on the assignment and invited them to guest post on my blog. Here is Cross-Cultural Contact Between Native American and European Conquerors designed by Tom Malone.

You can find Tom’s posts on our class blog. See Tom’s chapter in our class-designed iBook – free at iTunes.

Tom Malone reflects on what he learned from the experience:

DBQ design is delicate business.

The learning goals of this DBQ enable students to formulate a viewpoint about a crucial point in world history through opposing perspectives. Students can interpret primary documents, architecture, and more modern images in order to obtain the European viewpoint as well as the equally important Native American resident perspective. Students will enhance their primary document interpretation skills and their ability to interpret source validity.

This DBQ project achieves these goals, though certain images could be enhanced and authenticated more precisely in order to give students enough information to critically analyze without giving too much information. Some prompts could include more information depending on the target audience and their prior contact with the subject matter

As a thinking process, the DBQ serves as a strong element to any social studies lesson. The difficultly between including too much or too little information can be tricky. Selecting the proper document to present to students for analysis is the keystone to this method. DBQ design is delicate business, but it allows for freedom to reach common goals.

Image Credit: NYPL Digital Library
America / [by Theodor Galle after Jan van der Straet].
Creator(s): Galle, Théodore, 1571-1633 — Engraver
Straet, Jan van der, 1523-1605 — Artist

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