A newly available, free multi-touch digital textbook showcases Georgia State Parks and natural resources for K-12 teachers to use in the classroom. It came to life through the innovation and research of Georgia College Professor of Instructional Technology Dr. Chris Greer.
He and his students worked with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to create the first digital textbook on a state park system in the U.S.— Georgia’s Parks and Natural Resources—a Guide for Educators.
“’Georgia Parks & Natural Resources’ is a great resource for Georgians to learn about the important role of our state’s natural resources,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Williams. “As Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, educating our citizens on conservation and recreation is one of my top priorities and this E-book is a wonderful tool to further those efforts.”
The book contains numerous videos as well as photographs that highlight the unique and fascinating science and history for educators throughout the state.
“Graduate students in my Technology for Teachers class traveled to places like Sapelo Island and Cloudland Canyon,” said Greer. “A lot of the students are now teaching in high schools, and a lot were already science and history teachers working on their master’s degree, so this was right up their alley. It was a way for them to fuse technology that I was talking to them about in class with their content area.”
The students got hands on experience with everything from shooting interviews to researching and writing content for the book—even receiving authorship credit on chapters.
“While at the State Parks Dr. Greer and I talked to the park rangers, interviewed the park rangers, explored the park, took photos and videos, and learned as much as we could about the park to include in the book,” said Jaclyn Queen, former graduate assistant for Greer. “I was able to take the knowledge that I learned in the classroom outside of the classroom and apply it to researching, writing and presenting the information.”
The goal of the book is to allow K-12 students across the state to learn in a more dynamic way.
“The book brings these experts into the classroom. There might be a school in metro Atlanta that’s never going to have the chance to go down to Brunswick, to the coast, to see the incredible marine biology that’s occurring down there on a daily basis, so by having them show me what they do and the scientific implications, it makes the book really worthwhile,” said Greer.
From Civil War history to preserving the coastal marshlands to the formation of Amicalola Falls and where Cloudland Canyon gets its name, the book features content for kindergarten through 12th grade as well as anyone interested in learning more about the State Parks.
“This book can supplement existing science and history content in K-12 classrooms across the state. Additionally, it can be downloaded by the general public, allowing anyone who has an interest in Georgia’s State Parks to learn much more about them,” said Greer.
The book is free to download and is now available on the Apple iBook Store. It should be available on Amazon within the coming months.