Create your own dynamic textbook using Juno

By | December 30, 2011

I recently discovered Juno, an interesting online program for creating and publishing lessons, assignments and assessments. Terie Engelbrecht has a great blog post on using Juno for assessments.

Since break interrupted our current unit, I’ve been exploring using Juno to create a review for my students. Today, I tried to convert it into a mini mobile “textbook” for the rest of the unit. I found it refreshingly easy to do.

Creating Lessons

Click “New Slide” for a content page. This can be plain text, or you can insert a media file. Juno will automatically create multiple pages as needed to optimize viewing on devices of all sizes. Students can also adjust font size from their device.

If you click “New Question, you can select from several question types. 

If you click “Media,” you can insert an image, audio file, or video via upload or web link. You can also incorporate media files into the question and the answer choices. It is easiest to add videos via a youtube or vimeo link to ensure browser compatibility, and faster opening. You can also type in a regular web address to create a hyperlink.

You can see the (limited) formatting options by clicking “Format.”

Once you’ve created multiple slides or questions, you can reorganize by dragging and dropping.

I find it easiest to create a separate lesson document for each topic. These lessons can then be organized into a bundle.

Bundling your Documents

To create a textbook bundle, Click “Create New,” and select “bundle” as the document type. 

There’s not much there yet.

Click “Add Document” to add previously created lessons or assignments to the bundle.

Repeat for all of the documents you wish to add to the bundle. You can drag and drop to reorganize them, or click “Add Section” to organize into subsections. It looks as though you can add bundles to your bundles, which will help organize your textbook into subsections.

Once you are finished, you can post the entire bundle, or individual lessons within your bundle. To bulk post, click on the bundle on your document list, and click “Start/Stop”

Or for individual lessons/assignments (preferable)

Click on individual students or whole classes to provide access to the lessons, then click save. It will be immediately accessible to student accounts.

Students can view the lessons from an HTML5 web browser, or from a mobile device (iOS for sure, haven’t checked Android). Here’s what students will see from an iPod touch/iPhone:

Pros and Cons

Juno is still in beta, so I’m hoping they’ll make some improvements before the full launch. For now, here are some pros and cons for the textbook component of Juno:

Pros:

  • Very simple, intuitive UI for creating and viewing lessons
  • Easy to add questions for understanding checks, with immediate feedback to students.
  • Can embed video: great for showing chemical demonstrations, flipped lessons, or solutions to sample problems.
  • Integrated with my grade book, JupiterGrades. Once out of beta, it will likely be linked to other online gradebooks. See Terie’s post for more on assessments with Juno.
  • Like with Jupiter Grades, the customer service is very responsive and helpful. The Juno help link also provide lots of information for creating your documents.

Cons:

  • Once a student opens a lesson, or you share the bundle/lesson on the marketplace, there are limited options for editing it. I haven’t explored it enough to see what happens from term to term. For now, I will post lesson by lesson.
  • Limited formatting. I’m glad that there are subscripts and superscripts, but it isn’t even possible to import basic symbols, or copy and paste a symbol from a word document. LaTeX integration would make this more useful for math and science.
  • No offline access. It would be great to make this available for offline reading, or easily exportable into epub document.

If you use JupiterGrades, give Juno a try with your classes. They make it very easy to import your rosters into Juno. If you don’t use JupiterGrades, you can still set up an account to use this with your students (sans gradebook integration).

 


3 Comments

Teach Science Right on February 6, 2012 at 2:11 am.

Juno seems like a very promising tool. I can see that with resources like this, the classroom is beginning to look very different than the traditional classrooms. Some of the preloaded documents are actually pretty decent quality. I feel that this would also help those that are in the process of Flipping their Classroom. One thing that I’m wondering, is how have the students responded to Junoed in your experience?

Oh, love the posts. Please check out some of mine at http://www.teachscienceright.com.

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Ms. Bethea on February 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm.

My students really like the “textbook” use of JunoEd, but for graded HW, it’s a bit clunky. I am focusing now on creating and curating quality content material that fit with inquiry-based pedagogy.

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Jack on October 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm.

I’m interested to look into Juno – recently, I’ve used the iBooks authoring tool to create my own textbook / handbook for class. Additionally, I’ve also put together a couple other short works meant to teach specific topic in science. The first one has just been released on the iTunes bookstore. It used classical greek mythology to teach the gas laws. Check it out at http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/thirteenth-labor-heracles/id567932090?ls=1 and let me know what you think.

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