Maymester class creates e-book
While most students were struggling with summer-book reading, Chris Greer, associate professor of instructional technology, and his team of nine graduate students focused on some summer book-writing instead.
Their e-book,“Using Technology in Education,” was created to help educate teachers on how technology can be utilized in the classroom. Using the iBook author application off the iTunes store, the team set out to make an entire textbook during a Maymester course.
“One of the largest challenges we faced was creating totally original and unique content in such a short amount of time,” Josh Miller, one of the graduate students in the class, said.
The e-book is free on the Apple Store and is available to anyone who wants to find out which direction technology is taking and what learning will be like in the future.
“Cumulatively, the students invested hundreds of hours into the textbook,” Greer said. “Creating the new technologies and all the interactives from scratch took them a long time, even having to put in work outside of class.”
Unfortunately for those without Mac or Apple products, the application cannot be downloaded. There is a down-loadable PDF available for people without access to Apple products that can download the application.
“Using Technology in Education” has many videos, hyperlinks and interactive quizzes to help teachers learn more about the potential benefits of having technology in their classes. Greer expects that in at-least five years that online e-books, such as the one he and his students created, will take over the old-fashioned heavy textbooks.
The e-book is intended to be used by teachers of all levels to gain an understanding of using technology in the classroom.
“Any educator that is interested in learning more about what to do with the technologies that are available to be used in the classroom could find out what you could possibly do with them,” Greer said.
Greer had each of the students in the class select a topic and then create a chapter about it. Each student was responsible for material that went into that section and creating high definition videos and interactive activities. The students also undertook the task of finding reliable sources to ensure all sources had citations.
“My chapter described how educational institutions selected technology for their schools,” Miller said. “I interviewed local IT professionals and accessed national education surveys, reports and data in order to find the information I needed to complete my chapter.”
When an eBook is submitted to the Apple store, editors review it and normally suggest changes to the content before releasing it to the public. “Using Technology in Education” was not sent back to the creators for editing which testifies to the strength of the draft.
The book has found favor with the public – with over 2,000 downloads already.
Greer said there are not many online textbooks that are based on technology in schools and how teachers can use the new resources. “Using Technology in Education” is one of the few that specifically educates teachers on new ways to utilize computers, laptops, iPads and other forms of computing devices.