When schools use technology a student’s world can open up, everyone becomes a teacher and learning environments are anywhere. Schools are much more efficient and young people are engaged in relevant and personalised knowledge development.
Uber is an online platform that enables anyone with a car to help another person physically get from A to B. Mutually beneficial, the driver has a flexible way to make some money and the passenger gets an efficient, affordable service.
Like Uber, Bookform is an online platform to enable anyone with a device connected to WiFi to help others save some of the stories and photos of their life into a printable digital book. The person with a computer has a flexible way to ‘earn’ something of value and the ‘passenger’ gets a bespoke book in a modern format. Instead of a physical journey for the people in the car at that time, it’s more an emotional and educational journey, not just for the people involved, but for anyone who enjoys the book now and in the future.
Bookform technology in Education
The industrial model of a ‘teacher’ standing in front of a class of ‘students’ using printed resources is no longer an efficient use of time or money. Technology allows the ‘teacher’ to be online and available for any ability, at any time, anywhere. Students don’t have to be just children, and learning resources are continuously updated, personalised and accurate.
Educators can assign The Family Book Project as an independent learning activity for students to do outside of class, with their families and communities. The program provides scaffolding to guide students to ‘interview’ people and automates collecting the spoken stories (most languages), information and photos into an easy to curate and share printable digital book.
Junior school – family, identity and education
Students access Bookform’s online templates of questions to interview their parents, grandparents, extended family and friends, to easily collect many people’s personal life stories, experiences and knowledge of the world. They do not need to be able to write or type quickly; they simply click a button and their loved one’s spoken stories are instantly transcribed into a printable digital book, with front cover, chapters and contents.
For family that are not nearby, the student sends an automated link for them to contribute their stories, upload photos, or paste in their researched ancestry information. These contributions instantly appear in the digital book and can be edited, rearranged or deleted.
Young kids can see their family members as real people, with lives and experiences outside of the family unit. These interactions help youths to develop identity, empathy and important life skills of resilience and understand what has come before. All book contents are private until shared.
Teachers can include student’s stories in their classroom lesson if they want. The Bookform program addresses many curriculum objectives in English, History, ICT, Social Studies and more. Maybe Johnny plays the recording of his grandmother’s migration to Australia and the whole class contributes to the discussion and editing of the transcription. Kids become engaged in developing literacy and various learning objectives, because it is their precious content being discussed.
Bookform introduces children to technology skills required in the curriculum and relevant for their digital futures and jobs not yet invented. The voice-activated interface may be helpful for dyslexic kids and those with physical restrictions.
Senior school – community service, culture development and education
Most schools encourage their senior students to do community service activities.
These mutually beneficial initiatives give students an opportunity to engage with real people and situations in their communities, to learn relevant life skills. And it gives organisations with limited resources or disadvantaged groups access to free labour and new skills.
The Bookform program can help both of these groups by providing a structure to the interaction and a polished end product that can be used for mutual benefit.
The structure of Q & A templates gives students the confidence to practice interview situation skills. Inexperienced young people do not need to think of what to talk about or ask, they just follow the question guide. Practicing interview-style communication of asking questions, listening to and understanding the answers, are all vital for future study, job seeking and general life scenarios.
The Bookform program also alleviates the stress of students needing to write or type fast enough to capture all the subject’s stories and information. The Voice-to-text function instantly records and transcribes the spoken stories, so students can enjoy the interaction and edit the text later. Grandchildren, who speak a different language from their grandparents or community elder, can use the program to easily capture, translate if desired, and transcribe into a permanent record. Aboriginal youth can capture their community’s oral histories, myths and stories to ensure their fast-disappearing culture is saved and shared. Migrant youths become a bridge between their elders from a totally different culture and their adopted new country. Assimilation, understanding and empathy are nurtured in elders, young people and, eventually, the whole community.
Students do not have the pressure of creating a whole book either, because they can invite the subject’s own family and friends to also contribute stories and photos directly into the book. Contributions can be edited, rearranged and deleted.
Communities benefit from sharing their stories with students by, not only the satisfaction of feeling heard, but that their stories are being saved into a format that can be shared with a much larger audience. This ensures that the interaction is not just benefitting the people involved at that time and place, but potentially benefit many people, now and future generations.
Every book can be branded with a sponsor’s logo and message and used for gifts at presentation ceremonies or fundraising.
Foreign students – culture development, understanding and education
I’ve lived as a foreigner in many countries since I left New Zealand in 1989. One experience I remember very clearly was when I was in my 20s living and working in Tokyo, Japan for five years. In the first few years I felt very foreign, I looked different from the Japanese, I didn’t speak the language and I didn’t know or understand their culture at all. I only interacted with other foreigners, so the opportunity to mingle with local Japanese was rare, even though I was surrounded by literally millions of them everyday. After 2 years, for visa reasons, I was required to go to language school and learn Japanese. I had no interest in learning the language, but I was motivated to stay in the country because I was earning a lot of money. This was a perfect example of ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’! Once I could understand the language, I started to engage with locals and it was like a whole new world opened up. It was as if I had been living with blinkers on my eyes, only seeing a sliver in front of me, and now I could see a much bigger slice of the picture. My life in Japan became much fuller and richer and I enjoyed my time there so much more.
As humans we tend to stick with what is comfortable and familiar. It is very difficult to make people change their behaviour, especially when they don’t know what they don’t know. Sometimes it is necessary to ‘encourage’ a person to do something that makes them uncomfortable, so they can grow and learn, and achieve great self-satisfaction along the way.
Often language students are very skilled with reading and writing English, but don’t have the opportunity for speaking and listening practice. Foreign students and host countries could gain all sorts of mutual benefits if language schools prescribed Bookform’s The Family Book Project. Students could practice speaking and listening to English while ‘interviewing’ their host family or people in the community, then listen to the audio recordings to edit the transcription and contributions into a more polished text. At the same time, students learn about the people of that country, their life experiences, and develop a first-hand understanding of history, culture and language. This goes both ways too, we can learn more about the foreign student and their background, so they feel welcome and a part of our society. And enjoy their time in Australia much more.
Freelancers – income, social good and education
Anyone with a device connected to WiFi can help others to save stories or create their memoir and potentially earn an income. This flexibility to earn money while helping people in the community is ideal for University students, women with young children wanting autonomy, and older people looking for ways to contribute valuable life skills and stay relevant.
There are many places where people would love to have help with documenting their life experiences quickly and affordably. Places such as palliative care, aged care, and various Not For Profit organisations. This can easily be achieved using Bookform’s voice-to-text and contributions from others.
Individuals can volunteer their services or charge by the hour to help others navigate the technology and edit the transcriptions and contributions as required.
Imagine a world where everyone is a teacher and everywhere is a learning environment, because technology empowers all of us to engage, connect and become better humans.