In the transformative framework, student engagement is essential and this role is constantly evolving in the new digital learning environment. Providing students a chance to become authors is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Allowing students to increase their own self-management and opening up the world as their audience for a project is a way to engage learners even further. By encouraging students to be authors it fosters an environment of creativity as well allows students to take more chances, continues to explore horizons and connect learning globally. Those goals then become apart of the education process on a daily basis.
A great example of this can be seen from a classroom in Coppell Texas by Jodie Deinhammer. In her Anatomy and Physiology class, students were the authors for an iBook that has been used and viewed in over 22 different countries. Those same students also authored an iTunes U course that has over 55,000 students enrolled. Health Inside Out (iBook) and Health Without Borders (iTunes U course)
When I asked Jodie, to describe her students latest project, this amazing story was brought to my attention “Our 7th graders are doing a study on endangered animals around the world for a project we are doing for the Dallas Zoo. We are writing a multi-touch book on eight endangered animals to share their story. We hope to raise awareness regarding these endangered and threatened species and showcase the conservation efforts that the Dallas Zoo has in place. The book is being created, written, illustrated, and edited entirely by middle school students and we are using only original photography that we took at the Dallas Zoo. We have Skyped with a penguin rescue center in South Africa, met with Zookeepers, and obtained information from the World Wildlife Foundation and the Chester Zoo in London. Students will be sharing their published book at the Zoo in May on Endangered Animals Weekend”
By providing a Project Based Learning approach and letting the student answer and come up with the material will highlight authenticity of the student work and also help to encourage creativity. Allowing students to investigate and discover will also foster a passion within students to continually explore.