Interactive ebooks for Field Trips – No more crumpled booklets!

In my role as Lead Teacher for New Technologies at St Wilfrid’s C of E Academy in Blackburn, I enjoy exploring ways that new technology can enhance the learner experience for more purposeful and memorable learning. When approached by our History department to investigate ways to innovate a year 8 trip to Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum, I was excited to see what we could accomplish with interactive, multi-media books that the students could access and complete on their mobile devices. 

Superb History teacher, Ann Toole (@a_toole) was at the helm for this journey, taking 245 12-13 year olds to learn about Liverpool’s maritime history of magnificent trade, tragic incident and brutal slavery. She wanted to find engaging ways for students to not only discover information, but also ways for them to apply their own understanding, create stories and share their museum experiences. 

We use Book Creator (@BookCreatorApp) in various subjects a cross our Academy to achieve these goals but had never used it to create activities for a field trip, that we could take away, keep and more importantly, share. Making books is intuitively easy with Book Creator and students can create stunning interactive books in minutes. A powerful feature within the app is to be able to lock text boxes, images and shapes as you create them. This allows you to create templates for students that they cannot easily mistreat or make a mess of. With the ability to add sound files and videos, students do not have to read all the instructions for activities as they can see and hear them, when pre-recorded by their teacher. 

After a recce to the museum, taking lots of photos and making an abundance of site specific notes, Anne was able to create a multi-media interactive book for students to complete whilst at the museum. Some of the activities within this book included recording the sound of a slave ship; taking a selfie as one of the passengers or crew on the titanic; finding a particular exhibit, sign posted by a photo in the book, then noting down some relevant information. Rather than just note taking or filling in boxes, the functionality of the ebook allowed the students to be much more creative and involved with the museum. The books were shared on Showbie (@Showbie), an easy way to distribute the resource efficiently and collect the ebooks back in once they had been completed. 

This experience was wholly different from the days of walking round with a paper booklet and clipboard, trying to flick through to relevant pages and writing with a blunt pencil, only for the booklet to end up crumpled up in the bottom of a bag. 

The students were responsive to this change on the day and with structured debrief and content sharing lessons after the the trip, they shared their experiences using Google Forms. Here are some of their results:

When asked about ease of use, just 8% of students said that it was difficult or very difficult. Some of the more fiddly tasks within the booklet may be changed for next year. 

When asked about the types of tasks the students enjoyed, over 40% said that their favourite type of activity was being able to take pictures and insert them into their ebooks, something that they would not have been able to do with a paper booklet.

When asked about their preference of a paper booklet or an ebook 75% said they they preferred the ebook. 

So a resounding success, with just a few changes to make for next year. No more crumpled booklets and wasted resources. But how else can we utilise the interactive creativity of an ebook on other field trips in other subject areas? More to follow…


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