I am interested in enhancing my curriculum through the use of a Web 2.0 Tool entitled Zooburst. I would like to purchase two $50 subscriptions to this website, one for myself and one to share with a colleague. This website features the development of interactive, three dimensional books. These books, often referred to as digital stories, can be created online by students. How does it work? ZooBurst books 'live' online and can be experienced using nothing more than a web browser running the Adobe Flash plug-in. Authors can arrange characters and props within a 3D world that can be customized using uploaded artwork or items found in a built-in database of over 10,000 free images and materials. Once constructed, books can be inspected from any angle from within a 3D space, and rotating around a book is as easy as dragging and dropping a mouse. In addition, authors can choose to make items "clickable," allowing readers to learn more about individual characters within a story. Each character can have its own 'chat bubble' that pops up when that character is clicked. In addition, authors can also record their own voices using the ZooBurst audio recorder to have their characters really 'speak' when clicked! How can it be used in the classroom? Readers can choose to experience and participate in a ZooBurst book in a number of ways. Authors can share books with readers using a simple hyperlink, and books can easily be 'embedded' in any website or blog, allowing authors to provide their own contextual framework to their stories. Authors can also maintain a moderated discussion forum for each book, providing a virtual space in which readers can interact with one another. What is Augmented Reality? Readers who have a webcam installed on their computer can also experience any ZooBurst book in Augmented Reality. Once a book has been loaded, readers can click on the 'Webcam Mode' button at the top of the screen. This button will turn on their webcam and allow them to see themselves as though they were looking in a mirror. From here, visitors can hold up a special symbol to the webcam to watch as the book 'flys' out of the paper and into the room around them! In addition, Augmented Reality mode also allows readers the ability to interact with a book using simple gestures. For example, simply waving your hand in front of a book will allow you to turn its pages back and forth. As a member of the E.E.T.T. grant for 2 years AND as a TIF, I have access to several web cameras and would be able to extend this unique interactive feature to my students. As an educational tool, ZooBurst would provide my students with new ways in which they can tell stories, deliver presentations, write reports and express complex ideas. ZooBurst contains a powerful 'classroom management' feature for me to easily set up protected, safe spaces for my students. I can assign usernames and passwords without having to input any sensitive or personal information, and can manage and moderate student work in a protected environment. Thank you for your consideration of this grant request.
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