Sunday, March 24, 2013

iBooks Presentations from #MACUL13

I think I may have finally recovered from the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning annual conference. As usual I was pretty busy. I ended up being involved in two different presentations, which always take a lot out of me.

Both of the presentations I was involved in were focused on the use of iBooks Author to create textbook replacements. Yes, I understand this limits me to the iPad only, but really, I don't care. I thought I'd post a quick summary including links from both talks.

Innovating with iBooks Author and Pages

This was a talk I gave with my very good friend Serge Danielson-Francois (Library Ninja). Serge and I complement each other perfectly. I tend to be frenetic and get going on an idea with a focus that can sometimes get me way off agenda. Serge on the other hand always has the long view and can help keep things moving in the right direction.

Anyway, I typically don't use PowerPoint or an alternative. I tend to present from an outline and jump between webpages and applications. You can find our complete outline and all of our links on the Google Site I set up for the presentation. When we both started the year we had a vision of how we'd use iBooks Author and what our "textbooks" would look like. This really became an exercise in reflection on our teaching. We shared our original vision and then how this has changed over the course of the year. If you'd like to see the original vision you can check out an article we wrote for the MACUL Journal, look on page 26.

Serge's vision changed the most. He originally envisioned having his journalism 2 and 3 students create a textbook for his first year students. Awesome idea! However, he's learned that journalism today is a moving target and those things that don't change rapidly are things his students would have difficulty teaching. Things like avoiding the easy headline and digging deeper to the real story. In short how to think like a journalist. He now sees his students creating a portfolio of how stories were covered this year. It will be more of a resource for the future editors of the school's online paper.

Join the iBooks Author Collaborative

I was a co-presenter with Tony DiLaura, a great guy from Zeeland Public Schools. This was the kickoff session for the upcoming iBooks Hackathon! In June we will be inviting teachers to come and learn iBooks Author and hopefully partner up with other educators to create high quality resources for use by students around the state (and beyond). We will be running basically the same session on both sides of the state. On the west side of the state we will be hosted by Kent ISD and on the east side by Wayne State University.

What we really want to do is get teachers working together collaboratively to create pieces of iBooks. This could be good text, graphics, interactive widgets, videos or other cool stuff I haven't thought of. All of these pieces could be then archived in a way that other people could take them and create custom books for their own students. However, we're running this as more of an edcamp like idea, so if our participants have a different vison then we'll go in a different direction. The big ideas are:

  • Create resource to support the way individual teachers teach
  • Collaboration: "Many hands make light work"
  • Collaboration: Lets learn from each other. I would love to find someone who could teach me new skills or offer me better ways to reach my students.
  • Share what we've made: If what I do will help other educators that would be great. I know I have skills that others don't. If I make my stuff available then they don't have to have those skills.
Interested? Wondering how you can get involved?
  1. Goto our Hackathon Website for more information and to register. We are charging $30 because the number of people we can accomodate is limited and we want to help ensure those that register actually show up. (plus we're providing lunch)
  2. Join our Google+ Community. We currently have people from around the state and as well as other people who've found us.

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