Friday, March 6, 2015

Adding Tech to Writing Assignments

By Kim Miklusak

Last week I attended the CASE Conference (Council for American Studies Education).  The topic this year was storytelling, specifically how do we tell the stories of others and how do we honor the voices in our classroom.  You can check out the conference program here, but one session jumped out at me as a technology coach.

Klein & Bachman, American Studies teachers from New Trier, presented on how they combined a traditional research paper with iBooks.  What an interesting blend of technology to enhance learning!  The students went through all of the traditional steps of preparing for and writing a research paper.  When they finished, they imported their work into an iBook and added videos, photos, links, and quizzes to visually reference what they discussed in their paper.

For example, one student analyzed Disney princesses over time and their effects on women's roles in society.  After importing and formatting the research paper into iBooks, the student added photographs of Disney princesses with pop-up boxes of additional descriptions of the characters, video clips from Snow White demonstrating how subservient she was around the dwarfs' house, and even photographs of the author as a child dressed up in princess outfits!

While this project was done with a more extensive writing assignment, it seems that if a school had easy access to technology, this would be an interesting idea to enhance almost any writing assignment!

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