My year 8 classes are doing project work for Term 6. This feeds into a New Year’s Resolution from last September, to allow something like the 20% time Google offers its staff. The students can pick any topic they like from History before 1900. They then research it, come up with a question about it, create a project in a form of their choosing, and evaluate the sources they have used. It seems to be working quite well so far.
To get round the issue of not being able to get into the computer rooms for research, I have been using the Kindles. They have created their own e-books full of information. Here’s how we did it.
1. Use the internet for research. For once, copy and paste allowed (with the proviso that they will have to read all the information they copy and paste).
2. Create a Word document for the research. Pictures OK too.
3. Convert that Word document into a PDF. Word here in school has a special button on the task bar to do this. It can also be done through Open Office. There are also sme online PDF creators like this one but I can’t vouch for them, since we didn’t need to do it this way.
4. Plug the Kindle into the computer. Drag and drop the PDF into the Documents folder.
5. Congratulate yourself on saving all that paper/toner.
This was easy to achieve with my year 8 class this morning. We went through the steps on the board but about half the class had done it before I even showed them how to save the document as a PDF. Digital Natives!
The class now have a large amount of online research they can use in the classroom. This can be supplemented with additional research via the experimental browser. They also ned to bring at least one book on the topic to school, so they can compare methods of research.
If I had had more time, I would have asked the IT technician to install Mobi Pocket Creator onto the computers and walked them through creating a proper ebook, since they suit the Kindle format better than a PDF. However, I don’t have a huge amount of experience using this program myself so I’d prefer to play with it a bit more before walking a class through it; and the IT technician never has a great deal of time.
Next week we’ll be using them for project work. I’ll post again with what the class thinks of this method.