Entering the World of e-History Textbooks
When I left the classroom last year I was still wedded to the traditional history textbook. I supplemented my text with a wide range of digital tools and resources, but the text itself had not changed. My experience with e-textbooks has been very limited until now. For the next four months I will be working on an exciting e-history project providing supplemental materials for a text focused on the Civil War and Reconstruction. The text itself is being written by two very well known and talented historians. Some of the things I will be working on include:
- Review chapters and suggest themes and content for digital animations (e.g., maps) and video content (e.g., bio of Lincoln).
- Write copy for videos and animations (up to two 2-3 minute videos and one animation per chapter).
- Create assignments or “tasks” (we are calling all digital assets tasks that students have to complete before moving on in their textbook) for each of the chapters.
- Write copy for 1-2 “mini-challenges” (e.g., poll question, 4-6 reading comprehension quiz questions) for each chapter.
- Write definitions for glossary terms (5-10 per chapter).
Some of what I am doing is geared to connecting the text to a history simulation that allows students to role play real historical characters. I should be able to share more details about this project in the coming months.
For now I am hoping that those of you with more experience in this area might be able to suggest examples of best practices. What should I look at to get a feel for what’s been done already in the field of e-texts? What do you want to see as supplemental resources for an e-history textbook? Thanks.