Last Wednesday, we held our second Learning and Innovation Group workshop. The Learning and Innovation group is the BSF ICT group that looks at the practical uses of technology to support creative, engaging and effective learning, teaching and school community development. The sessions follow a train-a-trainer approach, holding high quality workshops for staff who can then disseminate skills and information across their schools.
Following the success of our Developing Enquiry using iPads workshop, we invited Steve Bunce, Apple Distinguished Educator and experienced training provider, back to introduce us to a new topic – Electronic Books. The workshop was held in one of De Montfort University’s Mac suites.
The workshop was a great opportunity for school staff to experiment with some new tools, with Steve’s expertise on hand to guide them through the day. We discussed scenarios in which the applications covered could be used to support teaching and learning. The session attracted a great mix of staff from 8 Leicester secondary schools, including technical, teaching and Learning Resource Centre staff.
We began the session by making folded Paper Books – using Story Cubes for inspiration, we created our own short stories and planned them out on simple folded paper booklets (see image above). Steve highlighted how this could be used to help learners prepare and plan out their work before moving on to the real thing – like a story board. This draft was then used to structure our work with Book Creator iPad app.
The Book Creator App is a simple app for creating iBooks from an iPad – it is easy to use and has fairly basic features, making it beginner friendly and a great way to introduce the concept of creating your own iBook. We had a number of first time iPad users in the session and they found the application easy to use. You can add photos, text or sound and then adjust these, using the ‘Inspector’ feature, to get your desired effect. It was noted that the addition of sound could be used for learners who are less confident in their written skills, or who have a language barrier.
Staff discussed how this could be used in a classroom context and felt that it would be an interesting way for learners to summarise a topic of work – to present their learning to others.
After exporting our creations to iBooks – Steve covered some of the in-built features of the iBooks application and looked at how these might support teaching and learning. For example:
- Text can be highlighted – offering opportunities for analysis of a passage of writing (highlighting verbs, nouns, adjectives in different colours)
- Notes can be added – which could be used for revision, adding explanations in their own words, etc.
- In-built dictionary – can be used to look up unfamiliar words, this also means that learners are not pulled away from the text to do this.
Just before lunch, Steve gave an introduction to the iBooks Author program – showing us how to set up new chapters, sections and pages. After lunch, we began working through the different features of the program, from image manipulation to interactive features such as quizzes and slideshows. It was useful to have an opportunity to play with all the different features available, to really test drive the program and look what opportunities it affords.
Feedback following the workshop was very positive – attendees felt that the session was informative and well pitched and that it offered many ideas for use in the classroom.