As I get myself organized and prepared to start a new semester tomorrow, I want to reflect on the cumulative semester exam review project that was a great success for my students. I decided to take a risk and have them create an exam review book that each student contributed to. The parameters of the project are found at the link, Glassman Biology Book Creator Midterm Project. I was inspired to do this project from Greg Kulowiec's workshop at the Ed Tech Teacher iPad Summit in November 2013.
If you decide to make a project like this, consider these suggestions for smoother work flow for you and your students.
1) Make sure all students are saving books in the same format so they can be merged later on. I chose the square format. I had one group not follow this formatting guideline, and they were not happy when they had to copy everything into a new book. Book Creator will not allow you to change the format once you start a project.
2) Have a soft deadline two days before the final deadline to check accuracy and depth of content. This was the best part of all. I found myself saying, "This is good, but you know you can make it better." My students were ok with it, and ended up turning in much better end results with the midway edit.
3) Remind them that this project is PUBLISHED! That was the biggest carrot of all. Knowing that their names were attached to the project that could be found on the internet created a bigger sense of ownership.
4) Make sure all submissions have first names only to protect your students.
5) Shorten longer url links (we used bitly) and include them so that anyone using the PDF version of the book can get to the links that are embedded in the ePub version.
5) When submitted to you, be certain that students have make the title of the book in BookCreator and on Drive the number of the question and the topic. For example, the first chapter of our book is prefix/suffix review so that chapter was submitted as 1PrefixSuffix. I had 20 books to merge, and this was a huge time saver.
ePub files can be opened in iBooks, BookCreator, Evernote, and Dropbox. This format allows you to use the interactive links and videos right in the book.