How many 7th Graders can say they best selling authors? Well this group of kids from Woodlawn Beach Middle School in Northern Florida can thanks to their teacher Andrea Santilli and iBooks Author.
Ms. Santilli, a self-professed “die-hard Mac girl”, was looking for a new way to not only challenge her Advanced Life Sciences class, but also leverage technology to make learning fun. Not to mention get some practical experience in the real world of writing, photography, video, and ebook publishing. Just a few minutes with this free ebook and you can see how much potential there is for iBooks Author and iPads in the classroom. Not to mention you’ll probably learn something interesting.
- Pitcher plants are very cool & common throughout the Southest!
The ebook is very creative and well written (it’s for kids, but the fun facts are interesting for all nature geeks). Sure it’s from a 7th Grade class, and it isn’t like E.O. Wilson’s free book, but I think the kids and their teacher tapped into all the best features of iBooks author. They’ve included:
- Interesting layouts and nicely readable text with great info.
- Photo galleries of the plants and animals.
- Movies (made with iMovie, of course) … like feeding an alligator!
When we talk about Macs in school or using iPads to help kids learn better, we like to cite examples of kids learning faster and reading better. Both of which are fantastic, but honestly, I think to really get kids ready for the world, this kind of project is just perfect. Create an entire book that uses the best interactive technology available? Write something interesting that people will like to read and combine it with pictures and video? These are the skills that these kids are going to need for the future.
This project hits very close to home because not only am I an author myself, but I’m also a teacher, a dad, and a scientist. I love to see teachers being able to take advantage of technology like this (the school has started a Digital Education Fund to get more tools like digital microscopes, iPads, and other media for classes). So for this holiday weekend, pick up this free ebook and then take some time to enjoy nature. And if you’re in Northern Florida, now you have things to look for!