Subtext is an iPad app that allows teachers and students to have a classroom discussion within the pages of a digital book. They can highlight passages and start a new, meaningful discussion right then and there! Subtext also allows teachers to post content from the web that is relevant to the reading material as well as create assignments and quizzes. Students can share ideas and collaborate to better understand what they are reading, and to draw their own ideas about the reading material.
The great thing about Subtext is that it allows for a classroom discussion within a digital book, in or out of the actual classroom itself. Teachers can create their own “closed groups” where they can invite all of their students to read and interact with a digital book. This allows for a classroom discussion to occur within a protected and secure environment, a top concern of all educators. Navigating through the app is seamless as the layout is refreshingly simple and straightforward. This can save educators a lot of time in having to explain how to navigate the app to their students. Signing up is easy since the app allows users to sign up with either their Google or Facebook account.
There is the concern of availability of technology in the classroom due to budget constrictions. Not many schools can afford to purchase iPads for all of their students; but, hopefully the rise of mobile technology will encourage more affordable options to become available.
Subtext is another example of an app that allows for mobile discussion around a particular medium; in this case it’s digital books. This is much like our own Vialogues, except you would need to substitute digital books with video. One very awesome feature of this app is the points system-- you can receive points by doing various things like starting a discussion, endorsing another member’s note, etc. When a user has racked up enough points they can trade them in for extras like authors notes. It’s just a small gaming element that can potentially keep users investing in Subtext, something that might set it apart from other similar educational technologies.
Subtext could be a great addition to the Better Learning Technology Database. It would be very interesting to see what actual teachers and students think about the learning capabilities of this app, and how it fits into a teacher’s curriculum.