This fall, my high school is transitioning to digital textbooks through a 1:1 program. In this 5-part series, I am describing the process we went through to to make this transition.
The second phase in transitioning towards digital textbooks is the building phase. This phase involves collecting, collaborating, and sharing amongst content area groups. This phase is the most important in the ePub building process and should be considered the cornerstone on which the publication is built.
Focus on Process, Not Finished Product
During our digital textbook collaborative days at Burlington High School, we continually stressed the building phase and encouraged participants to understand this phase and not worry so much about the finished product. Teachers brought together hard copies of resources they previously used and searched for new digital media to embed into their publication. Teachers were storing this information on a wiki created by the Apple Distinguished Educators that were on site for our four days. You can get a free wiki through Wikispaces K-12 and higher education categories.
Collaborate to Aggregate Resources
Once the Wikispace is built, teachers can begin posting resources they collect directly to the wiki. However, this is not the only option for this type of resource collecting. A Google Doc may work best for you or you may want to use a social bookmarking tool like Diigo. Regardless of the option you choose, the hub of your resource space should be a collaborative environment where all participants can edit and post.
Cover Copyright Issues with Faculty
After you have your space created it is best to cover Creative Commons and copyright and fair use in education policies with your faculty. While we get some passes with copyright in education, it is best to know how to properly cite all material being used. At the beginning of our event, I did a quick presentation on creative commons and then covered the copyright and fair use in education guidelines. All of these links were posted on our website for reference throughout the four days. Throughout the week, this was the most frequently asked question among participants.
Reflection on the Building Phase
Everyone will collect and gather differently throughout this process. We noticed varied trends throughout the four days of our digital publication collaboration. Some participants preferred to align with their content area groups, while others aligned by grade level. The one exciting element about the digital publication days at Burlington was that teachers were not just collaborating within their own districts, but with many districts. While this time is not always possible, I encourage administrators and superintendents who read this to get together and work to bring their surrounding districts together for this type of collaboration. It was exciting to see many schools working together despite district lines.
This is the second part in a five-part series on transitioning schools towards digital publications made by teachers. If you have any questions, please contact me through comments on this blog or by emailing me through my Edutopia profile.