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Published October 15, 2020 | Multidisciplinary

Academic Digital Scrapbooking

Academic scrapbooking is not simply an arts-and-crafts assignment, it can be a digital teaching strategy to encourage students to better connect with the concepts of your course. This type of hands-on digital assignment allows students to tap into their creativity, take a break from the standard textbook, and interact with the content of your course.

Academic scrapbooks are digital books or posters that can include:

  • annotations
  • video
  • audio
  • links
  • photographs

They are primarily a visual tool that presents a wealth of embedded information for students to explore at their leisure or through a guided presentation on an interactive whiteboard.

As with any teaching strategy, you should not introduce scrapbooking just for the sake of it. You should be intentional, adhere to learning objectives, and uphold quality standards as you would for any assignment.

Is scrapbooking a form of plagiarism?

In part 2 of the APOP webinar, “Digital Scrapbooking: An Ethical Writing Strategy”, Martine Peters, Professor at Université du Québec en Outaouais, makes the case that “copying and pasting” only becomes plagiarism when the information is published without the proper attribution. In fact, “copying and pasting” is a part of the writing process where students collect information on a topic before they begin to write. Whereas, digital scrapbooking is defined as the process of remixing, assembling, or restating ideas and concepts with strategies that use digital technologies and lead to an original written production, says Martine Peters.

"From this perspective, digital scrapbooking is a constructive, creative, productive and evolving process, as the text can be continually modified by adding a new piece"

Martine Peters (Source: APOP webinar "Digital Scrapbooking: An Ethical Writing Strategy")

This is the perfect opportunity to teach students to cite sources and be mindful of copyright. Have your students go to Cite It! a CCDMD’s interactive tutorial that helps students cite sources correctly.

Why use scrapbooking?

Not many teachers implement scrapbooking as a learning activity. However, it can:

  • make concepts more tangible and help students better retain them
  • encourage thinking at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, specifically synthesis and evaluation.
  • be targeted toward analysis and synthesis
  • provide opportunities for you as a teacher, to discover and correct misconceptions
  • offer flexibility for different student populations in the same classroom
  • help students develop their multimodal literacy skills.

How to use scrapbooks?

Scrapbooking is the perfect opportunity for students to record their interpretation and reflect on their learning. Here are some scrapbook ideas to challenge your students:

  • 5 random things about me
    • Students share light-hearted things about themselves, as an icebreaker.
  • End of session recap
    • Students review and present what they have learned during the session.
  • “Aha moment”
    • Students capture a eureka moment when they understood a concept of the course
  • Historical artifacts
    • Students consider how ordinary citizens contributed to and experienced certain significant historical events. Creating a scrapbook depicting how people experienced the event can help students better understand how and why the event took place.
  • Real-life applications of the laws of physics
      Students present an event they have witnessed to illustrate a principle of physics by including:
      • personal photos
      • newspaper clippings
      • comics
      • artwork
      • etc.
      They must evaluate each artifact and write a reflection on the progress they made in their understanding.
  • Section of a physics scrapbook that presents applications of physics in everyday life. Source: Physics Scrapbook by Olivia D’Allesandro

  • Alternative book report
    • Students create a scrapbook for a character from a book. They imagine pictures or mementos the character would include in a scrapbook and explain why they are significant.

Alternative digital book report. (Source: the author)

Seems interesting, but you wonder how you will assess the scrapbooks? This rubric for electronic scrapbooks can be used as inspiration.

What digital tool to use?

  • PowerPoint
    With Microsoft, PowerPoint students can make digital scrapbooks or one-page posters that include audio and video commentaries, annotations, and texts. The advantage here is that students are probably already familiar with this tool and would not have to spend time learning how to use it.
  • Canva
    User-friendly Canva offers a free plan with:
    • a collection of scrapbooking templates
    • the ability to drag and drop files from your computer
    • a media library with illustrations, icons, photos, etc.
  • Glogster
    In “Motivating Students to Write by Changing Their Medium from Paper and Pen to ICT Platforms”, Profweb editor, Andy Van Drom, explains how he used Glogster to have students tap into their creativity to come up with a multimedia poster rather than hand in a standard writing assignment. At the time, setting up an account was free, but now teachers have to pay a small fee.

An example of a Glogster poster, integrating text and images to enhance a writing assignment. (Source: Andy Van Dom’s article “Motivating Students to Write by Changing Their Medium from Paper and Pen to ICT Platforms”)

Final thoughts

Academic digital scrapbooking is an innovative method to have students respond to their readings. When creating their digital scrapbook, students must defend their choice of scrapbook entries or explain why each entry is important to the understanding of the topic. This is a compelling way to get students to reflect on their learning and critically think about the concepts presented.

If you have worked with digital scrapbooks, please let us hear from you.

About the Author

Susan MacNeil She has had a busy career in education. With a M.Ed she taught all levels from kindergarten to university. However, most of her career was spent at the college level teaching ESL. She gave Performa courses, lead workshops at SPEAQ, RASCALS and l’AQPC. She served at the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur where she contributed to the evaluation of the general education components.She received grants from L’Entente Canada-Québec for various research projects. Susan is also the recipient of the AQPC Mention d'honneur Award. Having retired from teaching she became a contributor to Real Life Stories of education technology integration at Profweb. Chinese ink painting helps her relax and travel keeps her energized.

3 comment(s)

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    Patti Kingsmill wrote November 2, 2020 at 12:05 PM

    Scrapbooking is akin to online curation. In addition to Glogster, there are some free platforms that would be useful for scrapbooking as well, such as In case these would be useful, our resources on online curation can be found here:

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    Susan Mac Neil wrote November 10, 2020 at 9:22 AM

    If, as a teacher, you are interested in looking into this scrapbooking strategy, you will find a wealth of additional information on the SALTISE website. Follow the link that is mentioned in the comment above. Patti, thank you very much for sharing this information!

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    Patti Kingsmill wrote November 10, 2020 at 9:36 AM

    De rien. We are very happy to share with others on the work we did. Our projects spanned multiple years and we have lots to share. I would especially draw people's attention to our Curation and Social Annotation netboard: