Interested in using the eText in class, but not sure where to start? Read on for suggestions of innovative activities to try in class, and some best practices when bringing eTexts into your classroom culture.
Set Expectations for Responsible Technology Use
In your first class, you may want to display and read out to students the section on the "Use of Electronic Devices in Classrooms and Labs" in the Student Guide. It can be helpful to make clear statements about what safety issues or distractions look like in your classroom. Posting these in eConestoga can act as a reference for the semester. Please note that there is no provision for a blanket "no devices allowed" approach to managing personal devices in the classroom.
Try co-creating rules for successful use of electronic devices and resources in class. Ask students to make suggestions about how to respectfully and purposefully use their devices when in class. They may offer suggestions like:
- Phones on silent mode, placed face up on the desk in front of the owner.
- Phones in the owner's bag or pocket (if not being used in class that day.)
- Stepping out of the class quietly to respond to important messages/calls.
- Not disturbing the other students around them as they return.
- Not disturbing other students when using a device.
- Using the phone/device appropriately to research related/unfamiliar terms, refer to their eTexts, or take notes.
- Notifying the facilitator if there is a preference for recording lectures to study from.
- Disclose if they are using their device to take notes or record lectures.
Again, posting these co-created expectations as an announcement in eConestoga can be a useful reminder of the expectations for classroom conduct. Referring to them at the beginning of the first few classes may help remind students of the expectations set out for them.
If a student is using a device and seems distracted or is distracting others, try proxemics. Walk nearer to the student while continuing your lecture or activity. You may find this encourages them to refocus.
If the behaviour continues, you may want to note the time(s) and send the student an email after class. Summarize their activity and kindly invite an explanation. When replying, it is can be a best practice to be understanding, but clear that you will continue to monitor these behaviours.
Orient Your Students to Texidium and eTexts in Class
In a first or second class, you may choose to show Texidium’s short 2 minute "Getting Started" video in class. A discussion could follow on how these features can enhance students' success in learning and assessments.
If your course planning allows it, offer class time for students to download the app and register. Offer handouts or digital copies of the Ordering eTexts guide or display the online resource and video.
Refer students to Texidium's Support Knowledge Base to learn more about the features and tools available to help them study.
This is another opportunity to post the links to these videos and resources in eConestoga for students to return to.
Demonstrate Positive Regard for the eText
Use the eText in class as often as possible, if you deem it valuable to student learning. Have it on screen and on a personal device to directly refer to it in class.
Inspire curiosity about information needed from the text. You might create a small scavenger hunt of text features, and allow students to complete it in pairs. This will get students perusing the text.
Tell your students 5 things you value about the textbook. List these on eConestoga with an example for each. Also show them these benefits in class, while displaying positive emotion and investment. Show the text a lot of love!
Model How to Use the App
Make an effort to be explicit in helping students learn to use the eText features. Use Texidium's support videos to help students learn the tools. Then model using them in class, live, in front of the students. Narrate what you are doing. For example, you might model how to highlight. Show yourself using the highlighter to colour-code content, e.g. everything highlighted in purple is a key course term, whereas all yellow indicates relevant research. Allow time for students to practice this in class, by giving them questions to answer about the first relevant chapter(s).
Try providing a demonstration chapter. Share the access code from Texidium on eConestoga, and let them see what and how you highlighted. Create highlight categories specific to your evaluations, to show them how it's done. Link students to the online support resources on Texidium's website.
Make sure students how to increase or decrease the font size. This is an important accessibility tool.
Remind students that they can print sections that they need to re-read frequently. Tell them the research says they are more likely to read paper copies, even if they study more effectively using eTexts.
Recommend a full size computer be used for extensive reading, rather than the smart phone app. This may help to prevent eye strain and distraction as well as encouraging students to review their eTexts.
Use the eText as an Active Learning Tool
Create an eConestoga discussion post where students can share positive experiences about how the eText is helping them study.
In the 2nd or 3rd class, try having students share what they got out of the text reading. Encourage students to share ideas of how they have begun using the study tools in the eText to aid their learning.
Create an opportunity where text can be read aloud in class by the app. Some students may benefit from listing to the text rather than reading it.
Point out the dictation feature for notes, which may also help many leaners.
Later, closer to classes 5 or 6, experiment with creating a collaborative in-class activity that requires students to locate information in the eText, and use tools like the highlighter and notes. Guide students in searching through sections of the text in response to your specific prompts.
Give the students a list of key terms to search and study before a mid-term or final. Encourage them to extract their highlights to be able to study more effectively.
Students might not realize the benefits of listening to highlights aloud, and then using the bookmarks to identify supporting material. You can have them work in groups to do this during class time.
Later in the semester, find ways to encourage small break out text searches where the students choose from a range of course/eText topics. If the answers are intrinsically interesting to them, motivation will be greater.
Prepare for Mistakes
Give examples of difficulties you encountered when learning to use the eText and tell how you overcame it. Students learn well from mistakes.
Describe 5 ways the textbook can be misused. Perhaps demonstrate how ineffective highlighting more than 5% of the chapter can be, when studying. With students, generate a list what strategies will not work.
Let students analyze the value of the eText. Create a discussion board for errors, contradictions, and lack of clarity found in the text. Collect these items and respond to questions online and/or in class.
Revisit your Assessments
If you use the drop box in eConestoga, enable a course draft assignment box where students can check all of their work before final submission. Since it can be easy to copy and paste from the eText, students may be more likely to improperly cite and reference. Also, enable the Originality Checker (Turnitin) in all Assignment boxes.
Try a 50/50 test. Have students first do the quiz or test under strict controls, in class, without the eText. Have them reflect on how well they feel they represented their knowledge and learning. Then, provide a washroom break and have the students take the same test again - but this time, allow them to use their eText. Reflect on the different quality of responses they were able to deliver on the quizzes or tests. This works especially well if done early in the semester, as it highlights the usefulness of the eText.