Friday, February 21, 2014

Yes we Do Know Dewey and we Create on iPads

The Dewey Decimal System is part of my curriculum. Every year I try to find a new, fun, innovative ways to help students find books in the non-fiction section of the library. Don’t tell them but I am also getting them to look at books they normally would not seek out for themselves. It is my sneaky way of exposing them to a broader selection of non-fiction that may spark their interest. But if they ask me if that’s what I’m doing I deny, deny, deny! Yet one of the outcomes of this lesson is an increase in non-fiction checkouts. I do believe in the Dewey Decimal System as a way of categorizing books and I have talked about Library of Congress subject headings in the past as being good for tagging on the Internet. I believe in order so that information is easy to find. But to most people the Dewey Decimal System is boring, and I can almost see the eyes of my students glaze over when I start the lesson each year. The major outcome of this lesson is students becoming independent library users, meaning they are able to locate the information they need on their own, the first step to becoming lifelong learners. When students can find information on their own, they become more confident library users. But worksheets and even library scavenger hunts are boring. I needed something new, something fun. The something new came as a burst of inspiration during an iPad introduction class I took through Eduspire. I was introduced to an app called Book Creator. What makes Book Creator interesting is that students can take pictures for their book pages right through the app, they don’t have to take the pictures first and then import them into the app (a step that sometimes is difficult for younger students to grasp). I wrote a lesson plan that was a combination of a scavenger hunt while creating an ePub document through the Book Creator App. It was an ambitious undertaking and it almost did not happen because of snow days. I signed out the iPad lab and it sat in the library for almost a week before students got to use it. Not everyone used the iPads to create a Dewey Decimal ePub. Students were given a choice between a traditional worksheet and the Book Creator project. It amazed me that some students chose a worksheet but when asked their reasons were valid. Most said they learned better when they wrote someting down, I was impressed by their knowledge of their learning styles. Those that created a book with the iPad also had nothing but good comments. I heard things like, "can I do another one?" And, "this is fun, can we do it again next week?" Some actually came back during their free 8th period time slot to do more work on their project. Enjoy this Anamoto of some of their great hard work. I am very proud of what they accomplished in such a short amount of time!

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