Dubai-based company aims to change the way children read

Dear Literacy is Priceless Readers,

After a long hiatus, I am excited to announce the launch of a new children’s book series we’ve been working on at Bon Education. I hope you enjoy BB and Sam: The Return of the Champion book one of The Adventures of BB and Sam series. To download the book, visit www.BBandSam.com.

- Anna (Co-Creator, The Adventures of BB and Sam)

Bon Education creates innovative multi-media children’s book series, The Adventures of BB and Sam, using Apple iBooks Author.

Dubai, UAE – May 15, 2012 – Education technology company Bon Education announces the launch of The Adventures of BB and Sam – a new multimedia fiction book series that aims to take children on virtual adventures around the globe via the touch of an iPad. Created with Apple’s iBooks Author, the series is filled with text, illustrations, videos, mood music, photo galleries, quiz features and more.

“When Apple launched iBooks Author as a tool to create engaging multi-touch digital textbooks, we immediately thought to ourselves, ‘This is an amazing tool for creating children’s literature as well!’” said Bon Education CEO Anna Batchelder. “So many kids are choosing to watch TV and play video games over reading these days. By adding a variety of digital enhancements and interactivity to our books, we hope kids will rediscover their love of reading in a digital world.”

“When we started working on the first book of the series, BB and Sam: The Return of the Champion, we originally conceived of the book as an app. The story takes place in Thailand so we spent a great deal of time traveling around the country doing research and collecting videos and photos to supplement the written storyline so that our readers could get a real feel for life in Thailand. iBooks Author enabled us to create the book as a multimedia e-book instead and gave us much more control over the creative process” stated Christopher Batchelder, Bon Education President.

With book one now on the Apple iBookstore, the Bon Education team is eager to see how children and families around the world react. In the prototype phase the team worked with children in the UAE, Egypt, New Zealand and North America to get feedback on the story and visuals.

After reading the book, Omania, a 6th grade student in Egypt, wrote to the team, “BB and Sam: The Return of the Champion is an adventure book that has a lot of twists inside it and that shows how creative the writers are. What I like the most about this book are the different characters and how they change around the book. Not only is it entertaining, but it teaches you a lesson. The moral of the book is how being kind and respectful to people is really important.”

When asked about where book two in the series will take place, the Bon Education team did not want to reveal too many details. But, they said there is a good chance BB and Sam will be heading to the Middle East next winter!

Bon Education is an education technology company based in Dubai, UAE with team members in the United States, Middle East and Asia. The company focuses on developing engaging and culturally relevant educational programs and learning products for families and schools around the world. To learn more about The Adventures of BB and Sam visit www.BBandSam.com. Book one of the series can be downloaded for iPad on the Apple iBookstore. Familes can stay up-to-date on the travels of BB and Sam by following the multimedia e-book series on Facebook.

Literacy is Priceless has Moved – Check dotLearnt.com

Anna Batchelder, Bon Education, dot.Learnt

After 3 years of writing Literacy is Priceless, I am officially retiring this blog and moving my education technology digital diary and passion for digital literacy to a new blog – dot.Learnt and a new digital sketchbook.

As my company’s website states:

Fall 2010: Bon Education launches dot.Learnt–a group blog written by team member and guests of Bon Education. dot.Learnt takes on topics at the intersection of education, technology and social media. It is a reflection of the work and thinking Bon does in the Middle East, North America and Asia. To visit dot.Learnt click here. Recent posts include:

Thanks to the thousands of educators and literacy-lovers that have read and left comments on this blog. You have challenged my thinking and opened my eyes to so many wonderful resources and stories. I hope that you will find the content, research and reviews we share on dot.Learnt useful. Please feel free to stop by, leave a comment and add us to your RSS reader.

Sincerely,

Anna

Founder, Bon Education@bon_education, personal sketchbook on education annabatchelder.com/ideas.
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Open Education – What’s Next?

open education, OER, bon education, anna batchelder

Recently I’ve participated in a number of discussions around creating open education repositories and initiatives in the Middle East. Beyond the question of finding sizable portions of open Arabic content to seed a new repository, the questions of sustainability (how do we pay for this?), language (who’s Arabic?) and so what?! (What will people do with the content?) always come up shortly after.

Putting the first two bold words aside, let’s focus on the so what?! of OER. As Max Fawcett (Managing Editor at Alberta Venture) points out in the Open Education Open Debate:

Education, after all, isn’t an acquisitive process, an exercise in procuring and storing information. Instead, learning is a social process, one in which people get from point A – ignorance – to point B – enlightenment – through a messy combination of challenge, failure and consolidation. While there might be a few people who can (and should) take advantage of open-source learning models, there are, I suspect, far more who can’t. Information, in the absence of the ability to apply it, isn’t very valuable, as anybody who’s ever tried to fix their own car using only the supplied factory manual understands only too well”.

This reminds me of a comment in Brian Lamb posted in his blog two years ago:

“If we live in an era of information abundance, why is the primary drive around OERs the publication of more content? And what other activities around the open education movement might be an effective use of our energies? What other needs have to be met?”

In the past couple of years we’ve seen online course initiatives like P2PU and the Open High School take steps towards using the open content out there in meaningful ways. But, I would like to hear directly from teachers and students:

With so much free content out there on the Web, what services or apps would you like to see built in conjunction with all that content to help bring more meaning, value, time savings and/or joy to your education?

Anna

@bon_education

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What skills do kids need to be “successful” today?

While reading EdTech Digest, I came across an interesting page of videos that reflect on what it means to be a 21st Century learner. While I had seen most of the clips before, I had not yet seen the one above.

As you watch, think about:

  • What skills and opportunities do kids need to participate effectively in modern day society?
  • To lead happy, healthy and learning-filled lives?
  • Now, how can you help?!

Anna

@bon_education

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Tips for Teachers that Want to Become EdTech Leaders and Champions

anna batchelder, literacy blog, edtech, education technology, ICT

I was recently asked to put together a one page document titled, “Tips for Teachers that Want to Become Education Technology Leaders and Champions in their Schools”. I thought readers of Literacy is Priceless might enjoy reading the tips as well. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments section of this post!

Anna

@bon_education

1) Always keep learning!

Technology changes rapidly! Therefore it is important to stay on top of the latest news, trends and research. Here are a few recommended resources to start with:

  • International Society for Technology in Education – articles, advocacy kits and conferences about education technology
  • Edutopia – videos and articles about education best-practices
  • eSchoolNews – K-20 technology news
  • Mashable – Learn about the latest applications and trends in social media
  • A mentor – Find someone that knows a lot about education technology. Meet and share ideas and feedback regularly.

2) Share your knowledge.

  • Help other teachers in your building learn how to use and teach effectively with technology by hosting workshops, coaching and mentorship sessions.
  • Keep a classroom blog. Make sure to tell other teachers and students about it!
  • Post your technology-infused lesson plans on open education resource sites like Curriki and OER Commons. Or, on sites like BetterLesson and the Ras al Khaimah Teachers Network.

3) Don’t be afraid to experiment.

See a new technology that could be effective in your classroom?! Try it! Remember, it is okay if the students know how to use the technologies better than you do! As teachers, we learn so much from our students and they from us. By trying new things, practice and an open mind, we can learn and do many great things in the classroom, for and with our students.

4) Start an education technology passion project with your students!

5) Stay connected.

6) Reflect!

  • Keep a teaching journal. Document what went well in your lessons and what you would like to improve in the future.
  • Solicit feedback from your students! What do they enjoy doing in your class? What are their challenges? How can technology be used to address some of these challenges and to inspire enthusiasm towards learning?
  • Create an education technology professional development plan for yourself. Do it! Have fun!

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(Image CC by Brian Hathcock)

A WebQuest about WebQuests (for Teachers)

WebQuest, Bon Education, Digital Literacy, Critical ThinkingThe Web is filled with fabulous teaching and learning content. How do you get students to use the Web to effectively ask questions, find information, evaluate information and create digital content?

Why not try a WebQuest?! “A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the Web” (WebQuest.org).

WebQuests have been around for about 15 years, so in Web history they are tried and true! Over the course of last year, several educators across the Middle East asked me about WebQuests. So, I’ve prepared a WebQuest about WebQuests (for Teachers) to share with participants in an upcoming 21st Century Teaching course I am leading this fall. If you are curious about WebQuests or are about to lead a training on WebQuests, I welcome you to share it!

To exploring the Web with many students this fall!

Anna

@bon_education

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This summer take time to explore these awesome websites!

If you are anything like me, summer is the time to kick back, relax, and explore all of the websites I’ve bookmarked throughout the year. So, when I came across Web 2.0 Cool Tools for Schools, I immediately grabbed a pot full of tea and started playing!

Web 2.0 Cool Tools for Schools is a wiki filled with hundreds of links and short descriptions of online tools for video editing and presenting, collaborating, building student creativity and problem-solving skills and more!

Some of my favorite featured tools include Prezi (a fabulous brainstorming and alternative presentation tool to PowerPoint), Animoto (a website that turns your favorite photos and music into a perfectly orchestrated masterpiece/slideshow), Make Beliefs Comix (a free tool that enables students to make their own comic strips), Teachers TV (a website filled with videos of model classrooms and videos about the things we all think about as teachers – integrating ICT, assessment, differentiated instruction, teaching to every student…).

Web 2.0 Cool Tools for Schools is going to keep me busy for a long time. What a wonderful reference!

Thanks Levna for organizing such a useful wiki!

Anna

@bon_education

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(Image by supagroova. Available under CC license.)


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