Champagnat Catholic High School at Pagewood, Sydney had Year 7 students start using Bookform technology today for their English ‘Life Writing’ unit.
Director of teaching and learning at Champagnat School, Melissa Carson, said “About 50% of the Year 7 students have been identified as being below average for their level in literacy and we want to address this issue early as it is a vital skill for their lives.
Students usually use Word or Google Docs to create their writing projects, but often struggle when faced with a blank page. The typical dilemma of; where to start, what to write, and how to structure their content, is a problem for all of us, but especially young people who have had limited life experience to draw on for writing projects.
We are trialing the Bookform technology in an effort to help our students easily collect life stories and content from their family and community using technology as a tool to achieve more than they usually would be able to. Students then have agency over the content and are more interested in learning how to edit & polish that content. The students will then have an opportunity to present their finished books to their families at a school presentation ceremony.”
Bookform is world-first curriculum aligned Communication projects for students and was developed in Sydney by Founder Carey Furze. Carey demonstrated the technology to over 130 students today and had them role-play interviewing a person about their life using Bookform’s voice-to-text functionality.
One student played the role of ‘interviewer’ and followed the online template questions to guide asking his ‘Grandpa’ about his life when he was a child. The interviewer selected the language Grandpa speaks (over 200 to choose from) and pressed ‘record’. Grandpa spoke his answers and stories and they were instantly transcribed into the student’s digital book. About 20% of the students said their grandparents were not native English speakers, so they have the option to speak stories in their native tongue and that text can be translated and transcribed into the student’s digital book.
In this role play at the school, Grandpa’s transcription wasn’t 100% accurate, but if the student ensures a quiet environment and clear voice it is much better & the technology is always improving. All recordings can be downloaded and saved, so the student and his family have a permanent keepsake. The students can share their story recordings in the classroom for peer-bonding and discussion, especially for those students who may not have Grandparents or extended family. And the digital books can be displayed on the smartboard for collaborative editing and presentation practice.
Students can also use the Bookform dashboard to send an automated link to anyone and they contribute content directly into the student’s book, another way for students to easily collect a lot of content on their topic of interest. Carey suggested students invite their families to contribute stories and photos about specific events or people, such as a family holiday they had taken or the family’s ancestry research a relative may have collected.
This trial will generate valuable research data and case study information on the efficacy of the Bookform technology in helping improve Year 7 Boy’s literacy, interviewing and communication skills, using technology as a tool to create original and valuable content, student’s family engagement and many other cross-curricular objectives.