Heaven knows it’s hard enough to get students to pay attention in class sometimes, but engaging students—really engaging them—is one the hardest and best things that educators can do. And one of the best things that teachers can do to engage their students is to get them involved in projects that help them see, touch, and feel the world around them.
These are the types of projects that help them make connections between the math, language, science, and creative skills they are learning in the classroom and the everyday world around them. And students, especially the younger ones, love to be able to touch and hold the results of their labors in their hands. They feel great when they can take a project home with them and beam while they show their parents what they did in school today—what they accomplished all by themselves (with a little help from the teacher).
The great thing about teaching in the 21st century is that there is more technology available to day than at any other time in the history of the world. And that technology is making teaching easier, cheaper, and more engaging. One of the great revolutions going on right now is in print publication. It used to be that if you wanted to publish a book, you had to get an agent (if one would take you) and then trot your book around to a number of publishing houses, until (if you were lucky) an editor looked down his nose and deemed your book worthy of publication. No more. Today there are a number of ways to easily and cheaply produce a publishing-house quality book for each and every one of your students. And each student can write their own unique book, help design their own cover, and produce it for about as much as they might pay for school lunch in a week.
Online Book Publishers
It doesn’t matter whether students are writing books about dinosaurs, art, or creating their own math textbook, there are a number of useful sites to help you publish their books.
Lulu is one of the best self-publishing sites on the web. It gives you enormous freedom in the size, shape, and feel or your book and (if you so desire) lets you sell your book on Amazon and in the Apple iBookstore.
Geared more toward private publishing, Blub has a great range of styles and prices.
Another great book creating site that offers a wide range of options and gives you access to sell your book on Amazon as well.
Let your students’ imagination run wild. Engage your students, help them learn, and give them something to beam about by helping them to publish their work and take it home with them.
Gunter Jameson writes about several topics including travel, minimalism and online classes.