Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Saturday, 2 March 2013

WRITING an EBOOK: It's MUCH easier now...

I guess every teacher aspires to be an author at some time in their career.  It probably comes from the belief that writing is "not that difficult", since we teachers are dab-hands at teaching it, and giving feedback on what is good and what is bad is more time-arduous than task-arduous.  However, what I have found is the difficulty with writing, both fiction and non-fiction, as those of you who have ventured down the soul-searching void can concur, is that in order for it to be any good there is the need for time to process ideas and develop them into a quality piece of prose that lasts and has an effect on the reader, rather than getting it down as quickly as possible so as not to forget the thread of an idea you believe will become the next best-seller or academic text book.

That being ranted, in order to give ourselves a chance of getting published we should try and get into a habitual process that helps to develop our ideas and practise what we have in our creative and skills-based cognitive tool bag.  Therefore, it makes sense that if we start earlier in life, with that theory of practice makes perfect, it should come true, right?  So, along comes the ebook with the help of wonderful tablet technology, and there is now a wealth of opportunities for people to start writing their own books that can be seen by others very easily.  There are literally hundreds of apps designed to help us and our students encourage writing as a worthwhile activity both for formal and informal reasons.  

This post will explain how an app called, ebook creator, has meant that I have been able to produce and "publish" my own ESL reader for my students to use in class. 

The app that I have used to make my own first ebook ESL-reader for teenagers is called, e-Book Creator.  Downloadable from the Apple App-store, it gives you the opportunity to do something you have probably always wanted to do, but were too afraid to ask, do or realize.  This is where this marvelous new opportunity is there for you to capitalize on.  You don't need to be sending off manuscripts around publishing houses, since you have become that house.  You don't need to be waiting for the green light from someone in an office telling you whether it is good enough or not.  You can do it yourself!

Once you have the app on your iphone, or even easier, ipad, you can start your process.  You are shown an option for the format you would like it in: portrait, square or landscape.  The choice for this is important in the context of your students writing, since the landscape option allows for more pictures to be uploaded simply as a matter of space.

Next you are asked for the cover page where you can put your TITLE, NAME and of course an IMAGE depicting something closely related to the content.  

Here is my ESL-Reader, CHOICES, which is about the trials and tribulations of a teenage Scottish lad who cannot make the right choice about his career.  Everything eventually goes to pot and he is forced to do that thing teenagers hate: CHOOSE for the best future.
The whole process I went through putting it together really woke me to the reality of The Writing Process.  Although I had completed my MSc dissertation on video feedback in the writing process, this was a completely different beast.  The reader is not that long, and it is far from complex (ESL readers tend to be very surface-driven and easy to grasp), but still I went through several cathartic moments of emotional turmoil.  It sounds so dramatic, but it is the truth.  You feel exposed and vulnerable to criticism.  You are frightened to show anyone for fear of negativity, and when I presented it to my students I was worried that they would hate it and say it was rubbish.  Thankfully my audience was a group of Turkish teenagers who did not want to upset me, and they said it was a great read (especially since the book was given as a holiday assignment with questions to answer and write up about, this meant a great deal to me.)

I am providing links here for both versions of CHOICES, MY ESL-Reader:

I have also included here a snapshot of how you can convert any epub book into a pdf version for anyone who still has not bought an ipad

Just go to www.zamzar.com and follow the four easy steps to convert your books:

So, since my first effort has been accepted by my teenage-student audience I wanted to share this with my blog readers.  It is not only about the book, but much more about the process you, yourself, and your students will experience should you want to begin a class project.  It is really worthwhile, and I am already working on my next fiction reader, and on an academic e-text book for Preparatory English teachers.  The latter is a project between my colleague and I, for which we are in negotiation to have the e-reader picked up by an international publishing house as both an e-reader and normal classical style publication.  Lets see how that pans out.  But for now, I hope you can take the time to try this out, it is so enjoyable and a truly worthwhile personal experience.

1 comment:

  1. Currently, I am flirting with some ideas in my mind for a book. I love this post :)