I love using Interactive Notebooks in history classes. The structure of these notebooks provides students the ability to detail history in an organized manner and to then reflect, respond, and process those details. I used them for years when I taught history. Two years ago, when I was still in the classroom, I was fortunate enough to pilot a 1:1 iPad classroom and I really wanted to take my Interactive Notebooks to a digital format. My choice was Evernote. It was a perfect, or almost perfect, tool. I created a "Classroom Notebook" that I shared with all of my students. It was the template for their notebook. I posted outlines of notes, bell ringers, and class activities in my notebook that students copied, transferred, and completed in their own notebooks. Each student shared the link to their notebook that I kept on a page in the class notebook. At any time I or anyone in the class could peer into their notebooks to see what they were constructing. (Evernote-at least at that time- only allowed you 100 shared notebooks per account so this was my workaround to that; this page has since been removed.) It worked well and I was pleased with the outcome. Those who weren't artistic still had very cool notebooks. They were filled with images and links to video, audio, and primary source documents. But for those students who loved to draw, it definitely fell short of their expectations.

Several weeks ago I was discussing a different take on a digital version of an Interactive Notebook with the teacher who took my place when I left to become an instructional technologist for our district. (This teacher also happened to be my student teacher the year we tried the digital notebooks.) He doesn't have the class set of iPads, but he does have access to iPads and laptops as well as BYOD. His students have gone back to the paper version of the notebook, but he had the idea of using auras to bring the written notebooks to life. I loved this concept! It's basically the opposite take on what I was trying to do. And...this provides avenues for expression, reflection, and analysis both digitally as well as written.

So, here's the plan... any pages students want to create auras for, they just create a unique design or drawing on that page and they take a picture of it to become the trigger image. Then, they create videos, audios, graphics, 3D models to expand, reflect, analyze, predict, compare, contrast the information/events/people being explored. Viola...a paper notebook that springs to life!

Some ideas for use in the classroom:
  • Tutorials for homework-This is a great way for teachers to easily implement blended learning or flipped learning options.
  • Reflective activities that students create discussing their learning on a given topic
  • Adding a digital component to a paper/physical project
  • Book trailers/book reports
  • "You Were There" details of research
  • Interactive bulletin boards
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Content area Stations
  • Interactive writing
  • Interactive student-created books
Need to know more about auras and how to make them? I love Erin Klein's great blog post on the use of Aurasma in her classroom. Also, check out this Thinglink below:

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