Paper by FiftyThree and Book Creator

Rachel SmithCase study, Education, Languages, Photography and art

Rachel Smith's class book

Paper is the kind of app that the iPad was made for. And it’s a great complement to Book Creator.

Why I use Book Creator

Teaching from the textbook is not really for me.

It feels like I’m being forced to teach someone else’s lesson, so I am constantly looking for inspiration to bring my subject (Modern Foreign Languages) to life.

I am lucky enough to have the use of 20 iPads and they have, over time, become an essential tool in my classroom. One of the key skills to acquire when learning a language is that of speaking, however students can be very embarrassed to even attempt to speak in a foreign language in class.

iPads and applications such as Book Creator have helped my students to overcome their shyness and reticence to speak, and as such Book Creator has become one of the key iPad apps in our department.

Motorbike during the Isle of Man TT 2008 - photo by Jonathan Camp

Photo credit: Jonathan Camp

On the street where you live

Here on the Isle of Man, May and early June are exciting times as we get to see the build up to the annual motorcycling road races (the TT), and then the two week event itself.

People come to our tiny island in the middle of the Irish sea from all over the world to watch. Our island becomes awash with foreign voices. What sane MFL teacher wouldn’t want to tap into that rich vein of culture?

Preparing for visiting French spectators

My Year 7 classes have been learning how to say what there is (and isn’t) in their towns and villages and as the TT approached, I hit upon the idea of making a very simplistic interactive guidebook to the towns and villages of the north of the island for visiting French spectators.

Paper by FiftyThree iconIn order to complete this task I decided to use another of my favourite applications – Paper by FiftyThree. The beauty of this gorgeous app is that it seems to be able to turn anyone into an artist and I find that the students are always proud of what they produce using it.

Firstly, students were taught the places in town in French; une poste, une banque, un marché etc. This was then extended into a longer sentence:

Il y a une poste = There is a post office

We added connectives to the sentence and then negated it so that we had a complex sentence. For example:

à Ramsey il y a une poste cependant il n y’ a pas de cinéma

Armed with some french phrases we took to the Paper app. Students were asked to draw a representation of their home town or village.

Sketching a village in Paper app

Once completed they imported the image into a double page spread in Book Creator. They then added audio hotspots over each of the places in town stating in French what each place was, and made the hotspots invisible in iBooks by tapping the Inspector and flicking the appropriate switch to make them invisible.

How to add audio hotspots to your book

Adding audio hotspots

Finally students wrote a paragraph in French about their home town or village stating where their village is, what is in it (and what isn’t) and whether they liked their town or village or not. Once again they recorded their work and made the audio hotspot invisible.

I then collated all of the student’s books into one big book (tip: you can only do this if all students use the same page layout in Book Creator). And there we had it – a simple tourist’s guide to the Isle of Man.

Rachel Smith works as a Modern Foreign Languages teacher at Ramsey Grammar school on the Isle of Man.

She is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Book Creator Ambassador, and is passionate about using mobile technology to enhance the learning experiences of her students.

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