How to Teach with Collaborative Digital Textbooks
School districts are just beginning to discover the myriad ways they can save money with digital tools. They are now beginning to make the transition from costly textbooks to digital textbooks that allow for interaction with the text. In some school districts, this means that they are spending no money at all on textbooks. While this can definitely be a very positive thing, it can be tricky for teachers to figure out how to teach with these new tools. How can collaborative digital textbooks help enhance your current curriculum?
Making the switch to this new format can be great for the classroom and help students to interact with the material. Here are a few ways you can start to make textbook learning a little more exciting for your classroom.
Add pages where students need more help.
If you’ve been teaching for a while, you probably already know that some subjects require more explanation for students. Collaborative textbooks allow you to add in your own pages with the information you feel students really need. Add a few pictures, extra notes, and even anecdotes that are helpful for students. These can be a great reference for students when they are trying to apply the lesson. However, it also creates reusable material that you will have for the future.
Encourage students to add to the textbook.
Instead of having students write individual reports, task them with adding new pages to your collaborative textbook. Split them up into groups and assign each one a topic that isn’t covered in great detail. They can create their own textbook pages complete with the text, images, diagrams, charts, and other information necessary to teach a lesson to their classmates. This forces students to tap into a wide range of skills including writing, researching, and digital fluency.
Outline your unit and collaborate with other teachers.
One of the many benefits of having a collaborative textbook is that you can manipulate the curriculum however you want to. Some schools choose to outline an entire unit and then figure out how to piece the material together. For example, all of the anatomy teachers may work together to create an outline for their unit and then divide the workload of forming new textbook pages. The collaborative textbooks can help to expand and strengthen the professional relationships among staff members as well.
Collaborative digital textbooks are ideal for the modern classroom that features blended learning. Teachers are more apt to find the resource relevant to their lessons while students benefit from more engaging lessons. When used properly, this tool can be highly effective in the classroom. It does take some time to get used to these new methods, but they hold a lot of potential for the future.