It’s easy. It’s free. It’s fun… and it can be a great fund-raiser! Here’s how…
“How do I engage my students?” is a question I hear all the time. Thankfully the top educators I know routinely agree with something Larry Rosenstock told me several years ago. Larry is the founder and director of High Tech High in San Diego, and his view on the role technology plays continues to be, “Students should be creators, not consumers.”
Larry’s example was a series of books that his students were publishing – yes, PUBLISHING. With print-on-demand book printing and no-cost online storefronts, students and teachers are able to create and publish their own works – and reap the net profit (see www.lulu.com as an example).
Larry’s simple maxim has been running in my mind ever since, especially when I learned about www.magcloud.com, a print-on-demand glossy magazine service. Here’s how it works:
- Create your magazine (8 ½” x 11” format). You can use something fancy, or you can use something everyone is already familiar with, like MS Word.
- Save it as a PDF (there are some important details about embedding fonts, etc, but it’s all described on the Magcloud site)
- Create a Magcloud account
- Login and “create a publication” by uploading your first edition
- Choose your selling price; you’ll get the net profit (what’s left after the printing cost)
- Tell everyone all about it – and send them to your (free) custom e-commerce storefront
There’s no upfront cost, and there’s no inventory to commit to as there would be for high-volume printing. The magazines are literally printed when they’re ordered, and Magcloud takes care of the shipping.
I just made my first personal “magazine” on Magcloud (“Images :: Volume One – Northern California”). I was shocked at how easy it was to create it (though next time I’ll spend MORE time on improving my design skills!). Ordering my first copy was equally easy – and now I just need to do Marketing 101. There’s no reason your students can’t do the same!
I can see a variety of fun (and potentially profitable) projects that align with a wide array of learning standards:
- Create an anthology of poems and short stories – use the proceeds to support your language arts enrich program
- Create a sports magazine in collaboration with your school’s Booster Club, giving students writing and photo journalism experience while helping to raise money for sports that may be on the short end of the funding stick.
- Have high school students create an engaging math/science magazine for elementary students to get them interested in STEM careers. Include interviews with real STEM professionals and STEM college students/alumni.
- Remember those “yearbook supplements” that came out at the end of the year? Why not create a “must read” news magazine that comes out monthly? (I’m hoping I’ll see a student created version of Wired Magazine someday…)
- Create and publish culminating portfolios
- What about a publication that applies social studies and science to important social topics of interest to students in their own community and around the world?
The important thing is that students learn that what they create gives them a powerful voice that can make a difference – and they just might learn all those “21st century skills” along the way…
(reposted from www.guide2digitallearning.com/blog)