A few weeks ago, two middle school teachers approached me to discuss ideas for their combined science/LA classes to collaborate on a Field Study project. Students were going to be in teams, and the teachers wanted them to share their work using the iPads they have been using this year.
Recently, the 5th-8th grades had been using Creative Book Builder, a great app to making a book for the iBooks App on the iPad. CBB allows the user to push up to DropBox or Google Docs the epub file generated on the iPad. It also allows users to access the same account to pull down any book placed there.
Students had some parameters for CBB. Each one had a chapter. They added their voice, their photos, their text about the subject of the field study at Center Pond.
The LA teacher scanned in all their drawings. So this project included their own art work, too!
The results were great, and the process worked very well. Some iPads had the older version of CBB, and named the files in number sequence, but the teachers helped me out with identifying the authors and I simply renamed the files in Drop Box.
It was easy to pull all the chapters together into one ePub book, and then push that compilation up to DropBox. Then, all students had to do was to go to DropBox with Creative Book Builder, create a new book and download the compilation. They could then see each others work in ONE book.
This is a good example of collaborative work in the digital age. What drove this to success was not just the app’s design but mostly the planning the teachers did before embarking on the project. The teachers knew what they wanted to see as an end product having had some experience with CBB products from earlier this spring.
The technology was pretty easy for the students. I fielded questions about page breaks, formatting text, but mostly students had the app all figured out.