Some people on our tech committee alerted me to Gobstopper, a site / tool for flipping humanities classrooms or really any classroom that relies primarily on reading assignments for homework. I finally got a chance to check it out, though there are limitations, it looks like it has potential.

In a nutshell, you create a class and assign ‘books’ to it. Gobstopper has a library from which you can choose. Within a book, you can highlight text and then add to that highlighted text either an annotation, a question, or a quiz. As students read the e-text, they encounter your markers and complete them. Gobstopper keeps track of how long they were doing their homework, i.e. how long the book was open, and then of course any questions they had to answer or quizzes they took. Their intro video does a much better job of explaining than anything on the site:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/_B6UClCrkY0?rel=0&wmode=transparent&vq=large&autoplay=1

I’ll likely give it a try. It seems like it has potential. The fatal flaw is that, as far as I can tell, they’re restricting themselves to public domain texts (for obvious financial reasons), many of which indeed are read in English classes but any of which rely on translations (i.e. those that I would be utilizing most) use of course dated (i.e. pre-1923) language. Hard to put that up against Fagles. But I might try to use them in tandem, i.e. highlight specific passages for students to reference in their print book against the older translations on the site. We’ll see.

In any case, looks interesting. Anyone out there used it / familiar with it?

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