Saturday, June 27, 2015

Digital Handout

author: Alli Gubanich
email: agubanich@aimpa.org
twitter: @alligub

I work at AIM Academy, a research-to-practice school for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities. In order for my students to truly understand a text at both the surface and deep-text level, they must interact with it in a variety of ways. I have developed a method, using crowdsourcing in my classroom, to create interactive e-books my students can continually access and add to via Google Docs. Students become literate in the use of multimedia software, such as video production and infographic creation, and become comfortable with quickly sharing on a web-based platform. And while this teaching and learning method is used in an English Language Arts classroom, there isn’t a single subject that couldn’t use this method to crowdsource many layers of information and knowledge about a single topic. 

For each of my classes, I create a Google Docs folder in which I upload plain text versions of the books we are reading in class. Each night, my students complete mandatory annotation activities within the appropriate folders. Some of the things I ask my students to do:
  • add ten written annotations to the assigned text (using the Comment function) in which you ask a question, make a personal connection, or draw upon other work we have done in the course
  • identify five unknown words, bold them, and embed online images to depict their meaning in the margin
  • identify at least three moments where a theme has manifested itself in the text and color code the text for thematic patterns (using basic editing functions)
  • respond to ten of your classmates’ comments with questions or deeper analysis
  • identify with one of the characters and create a "character confessional" on flipgrid; hyperlink your video to the appropriate part of the text
  • produce a "preview" for a movie version of the text; hyperlink your video to the appropriate part of the text
  • remix the poetry, focusing on poetic devices like iambic pentameter, feminine rhyme, and split lines; hyperlink your video to the appropriate part of the text
  • find a current event that complements the text; add a hyperlink in the margin of the text
  • find relevant fan-created work on YouTube and link it to the appropriate part of the text
  • create an infographic on the scene in question; add a hyperlink to an appropriate part of the scene
  • create a padlet demonstrating the many connections between this scene and other works of literature; add a hyperlink to your work in an appropriate part of the scene
By doing this, students learn to constantly make connections between the text they are reading and the outside world. They learn to collaborate with their peers and communicate their ideas, as well as their feedback, in concise, articulate ways. By the end of a literary unit, students amass an incredible amount of complementary material that can be housed in a communal digital space.  They can revisit the text as many times as they need to; they may use it as study material for a test, help for writing a paper, a resource for homework assignments, etc.

I've included several helpful videos below.  The first one runs you through the basics of starting a "blank" book on Docs.  The others are videos I've created in the past for my students to help them work through some of the web tools and video editing software.  Enjoy!

Setting up your eBook: 


iMovie How-to's (two video options, one with a specific assignment in mind):





Venngage (infograhpic maker):




Garage band tutorial:

Padlet (multimedia bulletin board):

Also, while I don't have tutorials for these sites, I highly suggest using (and often use myself) the following:


For finding free full-text literature that you can copy and paste: