Mono, Bi or Multi-Media

A book can now be two-dimensional (just words on a screen), or three-dimensional (visually and in terms of extended content), or even multi-dimensional (and this is where things get really complicated). Multi-dimensional, multi-media books can have extended story lines in movies, television, graphic novels, interactive multi-player game platforms, toys and merchandizing. And the digital books themselves can be animated or enhanced with sound or video, with a wealth of embedded links to make the story richer and more complex.

Now that I am aware of all that could be done with the construction of original written content, I have to intentionally decide what should be done. In the creation of content and in the teaching of creative content, I need to be intentional with the tools that I select for each intended purpose.

Obviously, in teaching students how to create a digital story of their own, I should choose tools that are simple enough to be grasped quickly so that the actual writing and editing process remains at the forefront. Google Docs seems to lend itself well to this process, allowing the teacher to keep track of the students’ progress and to edit directly. If iPads are available in the classroom, then iBooks Author is another easy and intuitive tool for students to create their own polished-looking books that can be shared with other iPad users.

Here is an example of a story created using iBooks Author and presented in a PDF format for ease of viewing:

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Letting the Flower Create the Root

Bloom’s Taxonomy. The name starts out making me think of colors, blossoms and growth (Bloom’s) and ends by threatening me with an insinuation of taxes and monotony (Taxonomy). Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy seems even more threatening ‘cuz it’s got that Digital thing in there:  But as I read this article and absorbed the diagrams, I thought about how I learn and my attitudes as I approach new information, especially when that information involves technology. First, I should explain that I am picturing Bloom’s Taxonomy as a flower, with the creative layer (evaluation) at the top and the remembering layer (knowledge) at the bottom. Creativity is reaching toward the sun, glorious with its shimmering petals and supporting sepals, and remembering is in the dirt, down there with the compost and the worms. Both parts are important, of course, along with the stuff in between, but I know what motivates me. I don’t grow a flower to admire its intricate root structure (although I am sure that does have its own beauty). I grow a flower to eventually see the blossom.

I suspect that my students may be the same. If they are motivated by the opportunity to create something that interests them and impresses their peers, then they will have the patience to work their way up through the layers of Bloom’s Taxonomy so that they have the resources to get to the colorful finish. And just as the root systems of plants tend to spread out and support each other, these networked students can help each other grow as they share knowledge and both challenge and affirm each other’s ideas. Connectivity has its merits.

I think about the task that waits for me, with a deadline looming in December. Finishing my first digital illustrated children’s book is a very motivating goal for me… but just thinking about all the steps I need to take to get there, makes me weak in the knees. I’m afraid that my roots and stems will not grow fast enough to support that bud. I do have my own helpful connections, digital and personal. I suspect that my tech-savvy hubby will be helping quite a bit as he has in the past. I want to be able to build my digital independence, but there is so much to learn at once. I will try to remember to take it one step at a time, and to not be afraid of the dirt and the worms. Bring it on.