Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Teacher's Interactive E-Book: The Scarlet Letter

I spent part of a day reading Diana Neebe's (@dneebe) interactive e-book, The Scarlet Letter. Having made several interactive e-books to date I was quite impressed with the book Ms. Neebe created as I know something about the amount of work it takes to get this final product. The text was created as an interactive e-book intended for students to use during their study of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. The e-book includes the full text of the novel (with an excerpted Customs House section).

There are several features that Ms. Neebe included in the book and I want to highlight three of these as I think her work might make an interesting model for other high school teachers to emulate:

  1. Embedded Video: The use of embedded video of colleagues to provide background information about the text is excellent and certainly highlights faculty knowledge and community at the high school where Ms. Neebe teaches (Sacred Heart Preparatory in CA). 
  2. Embedded Vocabulary with follow-up Study Cards: Vocabulary words/phrases are bolded and an explanation for each term and/or a suggestion for hat to notice is provided.  There are also study cards for selected chapters based on the vocabulary terms that a student can use to quiz him/herself about the vocabulary.
  3. Embedded Teacher Talk:  At the beginning of each chapter there is a very brief teacher note to the reader that helps to establish a purpose for reading and suggestions for thinking about the text as it is read.
The e-book makes an excellent model for possible books that students might author--not necessarily as a teaching tool, but rather a multimodal possibilities.

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