Reverse book study

What is it?

Some say that teaching something is the best way to demonstrate what you’ve learned as re-explaining knowledge and applying it to your prior knowledge is one way to actively learn (Dunlosky 2013). Instead of feeding information to a learner, the learners in a reverse book study are the ones that curate, compile, and make meaning of the information. They can either bring in their personal experience or their research to collaboratively conjoin ideas with others.

With so much expertise in the Online Learning Network, we will be able to write a practical and useful book for online educators. Each chapter of the book will focus on various strategies and aspects of online learning and will be written by crowd-sourcing tips, case studies, and examples from ISTE members.

I first heard of this idea through the ISTE Online Learning Network community board where educators all over the world contributed to a book-writing project on “A Teacher’s Guide to Online Learning”.

How can you use reverse book studies with your class?

Given the appropriate resources and guidelines, your students can collaboratively write a digital book together over the course of a semester. Consider assigning roles to your students so that each has a specific task. Ex: Researcher of quality content, Writer who makes meaning out of the content, Copy Editor that finds the flow in the information, Artist that creates infographics to better visualize the content, and the Compiler who puts the book together.

  1. Identify an overarching theme that runs throughout the semester of your course. Maybe for science, it’s Patterns, Cause & Effect, Scale, Proportion, & Quantity, System Models, Energy & Matter, Structure & Function, or Stability & Change. For English, it might be Identity, Communication, Story, or Meaning. Maybe it’s just a unit or topic that you cover in class over a longer period of time.
  2. Break down the theme into major parts/chapters. These will be the topics of study that students will research and write.
  3. List critical questions to consider about each of the chapters. Keep these questions open-ended and example-based. Ex: Why is…, What examples show that…, How does…?

Tech Tools & Strategies

  • Use a separate Google Form to collect ideas for each of the chapters
  • Use a Google Doc to put together ideas into a logical flow (by assigning students a “suggesting role“)

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