Saturday, May 28, 2011

Student Designed E-books: Challenge Based Learning

Written by Greg Swanson @ Edtechtoolbox
One of the areas that we are developing at our school is a Challenge Based Learning Project with our Yr 7 students. We have combined a number of concepts into one. We have tried to incorporate aspects of high school transition, laptop roll out and learning styles into a single concept. It is called EDGE - Educationing the Digital Generation.

One of the ideas that we are attempting to facilitate is the production of e-books, similar to the Al Gore one produced by Mike Matas' team at Press Pop Press.

To do this we have constructed a Challenge Based Scaffold that requires the students to produce their own e-books. Obviously they will not be as sophisticated as the one above, but by introducing them to what is available now, we hope to be surprised by the ingenuity of these students. Already they are talking about high quality, visually designed, interactive productions that engage an audience. They have also seen the textbooks produced by the Year 10 classes last year. Having done this once so much of the logistics have been thought through with already.

Open publication - Free publishing - More postmodernism (This embed is Flash produced)

To enable the students to proceed we have also provided them with a range of technical and design resources. Some of these have been included to show you the type of things we are aiming for.

Embedded Pdf - Flash
Embedded Pdf - Flash

The other thing that we really want our students to do is to connect with outside experts. This will validate the information presented and allow for a more authentic learning experience. 
When we have completed the Challenge Based Task we then intend to publish these documents either to the student's iTunes, iBook or Issuu. This in turn will give the publications a real audience and allow for feedback to the students.


  1. Greg- This project fascinates me. Do you have further resources or descriptions to share? I would love to implement something like this with my 7th grade students.

  2. Fantastic project Greg and thanks for sharing. Our grade 6 and 7 students in West Vancouver are just now completing a year-long magazine publishing project. Each student selected a topic of interest and throughout the year they have been taught various writing and publishing techniques. We have partnered with a local university graphic design department and their first year design students have been assisting our students with their layout and design, to produce dramatic publications.

    Our students have been so motivated the entire year. Giving the students choice and a bit of freedom to experiment and collaborate has been enlightening. We really have noticed a significant level of engagement and ownership with all students, including some boys who are not that keen to write.

    Our completed magazines will be posted on our ISSUU site Several samples have been posted.

    Have fun!

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