At the beginning of today’s lesson we were asked to work in groups to create a mind map of what we thought an e-book was alongside any advantages or disadvantages of e-books based upon our current knowledge of them. After some class discussion, various online videos and resources we then returned to our mind map and added any new information which we had learned about e-books. As can be seen in the picture below, the purple writing is our first attempt at describing e-books and the black writing is what we added to our mind map after our reading and discussion. Some of the main points we added after our research into e-books was the versatility of them, how many options you have to add, change, make bigger, smaller, and re-position colour, text, videos and images. Although I believe the e-book is everything we defined and much more, a more concise definition of what an e-book is can be found in the Oxford dictionary where it is described as “An electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device” (Oxford Dictionary 2018).
It is this personalisation which I believe makes it such an invaluable tool for teachers and learners. As Paul Beauchamp discusses; “ICT can allow pupils to record their thoughts in a wide variety of ways. They are able to write, draw, record both sound and video, or any combination of these depending on their age and ability.” this personalisation allows children to not only read and write but to engage in their story telling. It is also a more inclusive tool to use in the classroom as it doesn’t requite words to tell a story, those who find literacy more challenging are able to express their thoughts and opinions through pictures, videos and animations. (Beauchamp, 2012, p.101).
Our next task was to work in groups to create a brochure for prospective students of UWS. We were to do this using the iPads on the Book Creator app. I really enjoyed this task and it allowed me to explore the Book Creator app, I especially liked how you could record and use different sounds on each page and this featured heavily in our e-book to add humour and enjoyment to our brochure. As we were using the iPad we could take it anywhere. We went outside the university, downstairs, upstairs and anywhere else we wanted to take photos and videos. With the iPad being so light and portable this added another fun dimension to the e-book which I can imagine using with children and they would love the freedom, adventure and opportunities/choices it would allow them. Using sound recordings, videos and pictures alongside our placement of texts this turned our e-book into a multimodal text as it used more than two of the semiotic systems which I have discussed in previous blogs. This instantly makes it more engaging and interesting for the audience rather than reading plain text.
After completing this task the final part of our assessment task was to work individually and create a smart or a different version of a children’s book using Book Creator. This could be done with children in a classroom and would enhance their learning and understanding of a book whilst covering Experiences and Outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence (Education Scotland, 2004.) two appropriate outcomes would be;
“I can show my understanding of what I listen to or watch by responding to and asking different kinds of questions. LIT 1-07a”
“I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts. TCH 1-01a”
We had been provided with various children’s books however by the time I got to the front all of the shorter children’s stories were gone and I was not familiar enough with the remaining Roald Dahl stories to construct an e-book without re-reading them. I therefore found it hard to get started as I was trying to think of an appropriate book with imagines online I could use to enhance my e-book. After some quick research I decided upon The Very Hungry Caterpillar as there were a lot of good aids online to enhance my story including audio and visual and I could create some humorous and fun sounds to further engage my audience. I found this task quite challenging as I only had the full use of one hand and so holding the iPad to take a picture and holding the iPad whilst trying to also record the sound from the computer was challenging so my e-book wasn’t as clean and well presented as I would have liked it to have been. However, I managed to include all the audio, video and pictures I wanted to they just weren’t as well presented as they otherwise would have been. I believe having a cast on one arm during this activity has possibly helped me for the future as before this task I did not foresee me having any problems using the eBook Creator app on the iPad as I had thought it would be relatively easy to use with one hand however there were a lot of features and movements I hadn’t taken into account which involved a lot of arm/hand movement. Due to this, in a future classroom I will now be more aware of anyone with a disability or an additional support need and the extra help they may require when using this app. Although I found this task more challenging I now have a good understanding of how to use the Book Creator app both for my own use to create engaging materials for learning and in the classroom. I think it is a good tool to bring in to the classroom to enhance children’s learning.
The Curriculum for Excellence defines literacy as: ‘the set of skills which allows an individual to engage fully in society and in learning…the range of texts, which society values and finds useful.’ (Education Scotland, 2004.). The breadth of this definition is intended to ‘future proof’ it as the Scottish Government acknowledges and is moving forward with the impact of digital technologies and the benefits they can bring to the classroom. The e-book allows pupils and teachers to bring story-telling to life and also familiarises children with another variation of text, one of which is moving more and more to the forefront of society. By allowing children to become engaged with and familiar with e-books in their daily lives, this is not only preparing them for life in the 21st century but also keeping education up to date with how life is changing and taking into account materials and technologies children are likely to be familiar with from their home environment.
Beauchamp, G (2012) ICT in the primary school: from pedagogy to practise Harlow: Pearson
Education Scotland (2004) Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available at: https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes [Accessed: 2 February 2018]
Scottish Executive (2004) Curriculum for Excellence. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive
Oxford Dictionary (2018) E-Book Definition [Online] Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/e-book [Accessed: 10 February 2018] Author: Oxford University