When my students suggested that we create a textbook for our iTunes U course, I was somewhat skeptical. I wondered how high school students could create an entire textbook in just 3 months, how I could be sure they were writing their own material and creating their own images, and how I would ever organize it all.
THEN they said they wanted their textbook to look like Life on Earth from E. O. Wilson. At this point, I was even more scared....but once again, my students proved that they are capable of way more than is typically expected of them.
Here is a basic outline of how we made this happen:
1 - Create an outline that matches the content from our course Health Without Borders in iTunes U.
2 - Organize classes into chapters, 1st period was the digestive system, 3rd period was the heart, etc.
3 - Organize each chapter into sections and decide what content to include.
4 - Let students sign up for jobs based on their strengths - writer, illustrator, videographer, etc.
5 - Pick 2 editors per class period to assemble the book on our class iMac.
That makes it sound so simple...but it was a LOT of work. The first round of information coming in was ALL over the place. Students were submitting documents, links, videos, pictures...it was a mess. We couldn't find what we needed and when we did, we didn't know who had created it.
Fast forward to round two...I had all students submit work to a form that organized everything by chapter. This worked really well and helped us find what we were looking for by searching in one place.
We looked at the rough draft and spent a day or two (or twelve) editing. Once they saw what our book actually looked like and how amazingly talented their peers were, the bar was significantly raised. Students were working together, asking each other how to use apps, how to create things, discussing the content, and asking how they could connect their content to another chapter or topic in the book. To make it even more awesome, teachers from other locations offered to help! From Kentucky to Minnesota, to New Zealand, our students collaborated and worked together. Thanks to Trish, Amanda, and Geoff and their classes for the feedback and advice on the book.
While the book is free in the iTunes store for anyone to download and use, we started this project with a goal in mind. We are giving our work to a school in South Africa that was awarded an iPad and projector from Kaya and the Oceans Project. The school has limited access to educational resources, so as a class, we decided to share what we know with them. We are hopeful to get feedback from them before the end of the school year and hear what they think about it.
So here it is:
Health: Inside Out
Written, produced, and illustrated by Coppell High School Anatomy and Physiology students!