Blakehurst High 'COVID-19 & Me' Book

Blakehurst High 'COVID-19 & Me' Book

10 May 2020 Life Writing Autiobiography Memoir Collaboration

Blakehurst High’s Collaborative Book

Blakehurst High School’s Year 7 English Enrichment teachers Bahia Malas and Kerry-Anne Faria, have students using FamilyBookform’s technology to easily create their ‘Coronavirus & Me’ Collaborative Class Book as part of their three phase enrichment project. This project is being delivered using the Project-Based Learning pedagogy, which allows students to develop their 4Cs as well as their literacy skills.

The project involved 60 students working asynchronously at home, talking with their families about how the Coronavirus has affected their lives, especially in their first year of high school.

Students follow their teachers’ instructions to articulate their feelings and thoughts into their chapter of the Collaborative Class Book and upload relevant photos that capture the essence of their COVID-19 experience.

Students’ feedback so far is overwhelmingly positive with the majority enjoying the ease of using the template page, with clear instructions and photo uploads, and the ability to log on and off and work at their own pace.

Students can share their content to enrich synchronous online classes, to discuss their various contributions and collaboratively edit the text to ensure the book is a polished product because “it is documenting history and will be a valuable primary record.” The students recognise, appreciate and value what this project is adding to them as individuals, their school and community. Blakehurst High School and their enrichment teachers are providing them with this opportunity that allows them to see themselves as global citizens who can leave an impact on the world. 

Teachers surveyed students: “What do you see as the value of documenting your COVID-19 experiences in the form of a book?”

“I see the value of documenting my COVID-19 experiences in the form of a book as it tells others what happened and how people coped during that time.”

“It's easy to write in and it gives us a chance to express our feelings about things that we might have issues with.”

“Our contributions and documents of our experiences as a class, are going to make history! The value of adding our own experiences as a class, and snippets of our own personal life throughout this crisis of Covid-19 itself, is a fantastic way to collaborate our thoughts into one, meaningful book.”

“Something valuable about this whole experience is that I know in the future, our generation is going to be a primary source for all historians documenting this pandemic…...So if you think about it documenting our experience will be valuable to others in the future.”

“When we grow up or this virus is stopped then everyone will read this book and be in awe because we have gone through a global pandemic.”

“I find it fun and interesting because you get to experience a new way of writing and that we are the only year to write about COVID-19.”

“Something that I personally like about Bookform is that it can allow our whole class to contribute and actually write a book together. Also that it allows us to add pictures like they would be set out in an actual book.”

“After the pandemic is over, people can look back and read our COVID-19 experiences to learn about what it was like for a student entering highschool for the first time and being disrupted by a global pandemic.”

Bahia Malas, English teacher, Year 8 Adviser & Professional Experience Coordinator said, ‘When we first proposed this project to our senior executives, they were enthusiastic and supported us in making it a reality for our students just like the parents were, for which we are thankful. I will be presenting our case study at EduTech Asia in Singapore with the aim of inspiring and supporting other educators, no matter what context they are in, to use innovative pedagogy, which will engage students in meaningful and authentic ways. I’m so proud that our students are contributing, not only to future-focused education and learning, but to historical records of this unusual time as well. Our students are so excited to leave their mark on the world by creating a published book and are motivated to be better writers because their work will be valuable to many people.”

Kerry-Anne Faria, English/History teacher, Year 7 Adviser & Professional Experience Coordinator said “I’m so proud of how our students in 7B and 7K have taken this challenge on board and even though we’ve made significant changes to what our project was originally going to look like because of the Covid-19 pandemic, students have taken this in their stride and are excited to continue to move forward with this project. One of the elements that students have expressed most enjoyment about is the fact that their experiences will be heard by future generations in this ‘historical primary source’, much like the other books that they have studied in history.”

Many teachers around the world have had to quickly learn new technologies, change their lessons for online delivery, and struggle with the myriad of difficulties associated with scared, disengaged, and unmotivated students.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, Blakehurst High School’s enrichment teachers are being innovative by using the FamilyBookform technology which already adheres to pedagogy, privacy & synchronous/asynchronous learning, so they can quickly implement valuable learning solutions for their students and families. Furthermore, the technology produces valuable books that can be graded, included in student’s portfolios for reflection & higher education applications, and shared with their whole community.

The FamilyBookform technology is an evolution of the Google Doc as a writing tool, instead of a blank page, a ‘template page’ scaffolds students to interview & collect original content, using speech-to-text & collaboration with others, to automatically create printable digital books.

Example Projects:

Collaborative Class Book: A Class of Students build a book together.

The Family Recipe Book: A student collects their favourite food & stories into a personalised book.

Granddad's Memoir: A student interviews a family member or everyone to create a Memoir or Family Book.

Community Service: Students go into their community to collect & save oral histories.

Teachers signup free and create a Class book, thereafter it's $10 per book, hosted online for 1 year, 2 hours speech-to-text, 300 contributors, download audio files & PDF to print-on-demand.

Contact: office@familybookform.com