Book Creator supports cultural exchange with Amazon tribes

Dan KempCase study, Collaboration, Languages

What happens when you take 16 iPads loaded with Book Creator to the middle of the Amazonian Rainforest? Let’s find out…

In May 2013 we received an email from Neil Emery, Director of Trilby – a consultancy that supports schools and institutions in using technology effectively.

Neil was planning a 3-week educational trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon to run a project between schools from the UK and  local communities there.

He would be taking iPads with him and planned to pre-install Book Creator on them to get the students to create ebooks that could be shared with the UK partner schools. We loved the idea, and gladly contributed an iPad Mini to the project by way of support.

The Amazonian project

Following the success of a similar visit in 2011, Neil returned to the Rainforest in December 2013 and this time delivered projects with the local schools from the Kichwa and Secoya tribes.

Using an iPad in the Amazonian rainforest

Amazonian pupils were given the challenge to create ebooks using Book Creator. These would be shared with each other as well as the partner schools in the UK. A total of 40 ebooks were created across the three schools, each showing:

  • Who I am
  • Where I live
  • My favourite animal
  • My favourite bird
  • My favourite plant

Neil partnered with four UK schools whose pupils themselves had created the same ebooks covering the same areas. Finished UK books were taken to the Amazon preloaded on the iPads for Amazonian students to access and read.

A window of cultural exchange

One key aim of the project was to create a ‘window’ between pupils in the Amazonian schools and those who attend the partner schools in the UK. This window would allow these young people to document the differences of the communities and environments they live in, using the medium of music, image, video and electronic books.

Book Creator project

The outcome of this project was to give the Amazonian pupils knowledge, lifelong skills and confidence; increasing their capability to set up and complete creative media projects.

Neil Emery, Trilby:

Neil EmeryWhat makes this project such as success is the commitment and passion of the individuals who want to make a difference. What I learn from running these projects is that children are amazing and that technology in the hands of these children allows them to express themselves like never before.

Many times I walk into schools who have simply given students video cameras and they end up shooting large amounts of content without ever storyboarding their ideas. If I could get the importance of storyboarding into the students from an early stage then this could only bring benefits as they start to create more and more content.

There were a few tablets scattered in the community but like the UK these were simply being used to access the internet or watch movies. There was no thought about how these technologies could be used in education to further engage pupils in their learning.

From my point of view I had certainly seen individual personalities flower during the creation of projects. Those pupils who initially seemed shy and a little reserved had been able to show great self expression through the use of image and video.

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