Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Creator

I think Book Creator is now one of my favorite creation apps!  Several of my Health Without Borders project groups are using Book Creator to develop their final product to teach elementary kids health concepts.  They were pretty excited to get to use the new drawing option now, as many found it difficult to find free for re-use images in Creative Commons or Wikimedia Commons  that were appropriate for their topic and target age group.  

They found the app very easy to work with and really had no questions for me at all.  They loved that they could AirDrop the book between group members so different people could contribute easily.  The voiceover option is also simple to use and works well with just the microphone on the iPad.  I was so impressed with their final product!   

A couple of example pages are shown below.  These books are based on the topic "You Are What You Eat" and focused on how food is digested in the body.  If you want to see the entire book, several books are published in their iTunes U course

This group drew their pictures by hand - scanned them in with Cam Scanner - imported into Comic Maker App to give distressed look to images and add text - imported into Book Creator as images - added voice over - exported as ePub file to be posted in Health Without Borders on iTunes U.

This group drew their pictures in the free version of SketchbookX - took a screenshot to camera roll - imported images into Book Creator - added voice over - exported as ePub file to be posted in Health Without Borders on iTunes U.  

Our Health Without Borders iTunes U course now has over 26,000 subscribers so my students are pretty motivated to be published.  They are competitive in trying to create a unique project that teaches the concept while engaging their audience.  Book Creator allows them to easily AppSmash to create something above and beyond my expectations!  I can't wait to see what they submit for the next sections of our course, Heart Smart, which should be published mid December.  

Image credits from book screenshots:  Clare M., Jinny R., Joyce C., 
Shannon D, Maddie T, and Jasmin H.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


This summer I was able to attend the BLC Conference in Boston.  While I was there, Alan November asked me (in front of a large crowd of people I might add) "Why do you publish all of that for free?", referring to my Anatomy and Physiology course in iTunes U.  I actually have no idea how I answered his question because I really hadn't thought much about it and I was very nervous talking in front of that giant room. :)

Since then, I have been thinking about it and I guess it is a pretty simple answer.  The content I am publishing is being used BECAUSE it is free.  I am not doing any additional work to post my lessons in iTunes U, none at all. It is just as simple as posting something on a Google site or Edmodo, only iTunes U has a huge worldwide audience.  Don't believe me?  Check out these emails...

Right now a teacher in Minnesota is using my course to teach her A&P class that she wasn't prepared for.  She was given a new course to teach two days before school started and had no time to prepare quality lessons for her kids in addition to her regular and pre-AP biology class she was teaching.  Now those 30 kids get a fun experience in a class, when they may have just ended up doing a bunch of worksheets and watching a lot of videos.

A school in South Africa is using my class to help their teachers learn how to teach in the digital age. Their school is considering iPads but had no training on how to incorporate technology.  Now one of their teachers has an example of a technology infused anatomy course she can use. 

A school in Venezuela is using my class as a prerequisite to their nursing program.  Talk about thinking twice before you publish something...this has made me a better teacher knowing my work is being used in these ways.

I have so many examples like this.  I love all the emails I get from all over the world, many of which I have to translate.  

So that is the why.  I publish because #1 its easy....#2 its fun to share....#3 it connects my classroom to the entire world.  My students are given opportunities to publish into the A&P course to a real audience of over 100,000 subscribers.  They have the ability to Skype with schools in different countries.  They get to learn about a creating a positive digital presence for themselves.   

More than anything, the iPad gives them the ability to create cool things that are being published and used, not just a device to use for Googling answers to worksheets. 

Want to create your own course in iTunes U?  Start by logging in at  Course Manager
In iTunes U, search "creating iTunes U courses" and find multiple resources 
for how to set up your class!  Or tweet or message me if you have questions!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lets All Move to New Zealand?

This morning I was woken up at 6:30am to my 6 year old in my face..."MOMMY, I need you to teach me how to rainbow loom!" While I was trying to process what he was even asking, he grabbed the iPad and said "Nevermind, I'll ask YouTube." 

My favorite thing about the iPad Summit was that it was NOT about the iPad. It was about transforming education to meet the needs of today's society. We don't need to teach them "stuff". They can find out whatever it is they need to know, as my six year so nicely put it, by asking YouTube.  The iPad is just the driving force of change. 

Are educators still standing in the front of the room playing PowerPoint Karoke to unengaged kids who could easily Google or YouTube the majority of the state standards for their course?  Can educators be empowered to force their kids to ASK questions of the unknown?  Leverage student interest and develop experiences around them while naturally incorporating digital citizenship.  School could be SO much more fun and purposeful.

My favorite moments from the Summit:

Dr. Ruben Puentedura - The SAMR model is not a ladder you climb, but it is instead a web that you use to develop more enriching, authentic experiences for kids.

Patrick Larkin - For change to occur with educators, schools need leadership that can have hard conversations when necessary.  Empower your educators with visible, encouraging, supportive leaders.

Reshan Richards - Quite possibly my favorite comment of the conference - You don't learn about curriculum, you learn through curriculum.  (A close second would be "Oh crap I almost just fell off the stage...don't tweet that.")  :)

Richard Wells - Schools in New Zealand are completely allowed to design their own curriculum to meet the needs of their culture. There is NO content in any of their curriculum, only processes and thinking skills.

For example: Why do American schools force students to learn specific content that possibly will never benefit them in their future? An objective from the TEKS (Texas): "compare the structures of viruses to cells, describe viral reproduction, and describe the role of viruses in causing diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and influenza." An objective in New Zealand "Analyze a New Zealand health issue".   Why are we so focused on facts?  Our kids are missing out on the connections and big picture because they are too busy memorizing the 5 steps of lysogenic viral replication.

Anyone that ever has an opportunity should attend the EdTech Teacher Workshops.  It is inspiring to be with so many other teachers and administrators that have the same desire to make a difference in education. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

iPad Summit Presentation

Here is my presentation for the iPad Summit in Boston on Global Connections using iTunes U.  So fortunate to be here and to have such great students who come up with amazing ideas and challenge me each day.  It really isn't about the iPad transforming education, it is about a design shift to encourage our students to be creative innovators instead of regurgitators of facts, from consumers to creators.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Get Up and Move!

Our second unit is almost ready in Health Without Borders!  All content should be added midweek before I fly off to present this project and iTunes U at the awesome EdTech Teacher iPad Summit in Boston!

If you teach elementary school and want to join us, its pretty easy...just subscribe to our free class in iTunes U on your iDevice! Here is how it works...

Choose from these available activities -- or do them all!

(1)  Encourage your class to take a health challenge. This challenge asks students to find a way to improve bone health.  Once the challenge is complete, have your kids blog with us - or blog as a class and let us know what you did.

(2) Learn from our class.  My students created some pretty amazing iBooks using the Book Creator App to teach basic concepts over bones and muscles.  Look for material to be added by the end of the week!

(3) Do a lab or two. See how your diet alters the strength and appearance of bones or see how your flexibility is changed when you warm up before exercising. 

(4) Design a better prosthetic with some very cool PBS Kids online lessons.

(5) Help us log miles by moving your bones and muscles.  Submit your miles to our spreadsheet and lets see how far we can walk.     Get Up and Move Challenge

SKYPE:  Want to talk to us?
We would love your feedback on the lesson.  What did you learn?  What questions do you still have? We would also love to discuss how your society is different than ours in Texas!!

Take pictures and share them with us on Twitter using #chsAP or @jdeinhammer! Here is our photostream so far!  Thanks to those that shared pictures.

Thanks to everyone that participated in the first lesson...from Coppell, Texas to Venezuela, Bejing, and the has been amazing hearing from everyone!  :)