How I Use It
I currently use Epic as a resource for informational researching within my 4th grade reading classroom. We do not have a vast non-fiction/informational library within my classroom, so I am frequently searching for texts or resources. Before Epic, I spent countless hours searching online, printing or sharing articles, borrowing texts from other educators, my local library, as well as our school's lending library, and more to obtain enough texts for three classes of 4th grade students to research from. Being able to find kid friendly informational texts on topics such as natural disasters or the American Revolution can be very challenging and the resources are limited. Epic has worked wonderfully to help with not only finding ample resources, but with finding texts that are kid friendly on a very user friendly platform with the ability to differentiate to meet my students' individualized needs.
Overall, this application is child friendly, very engaging, and has a user friendly platform. I would recommend it for use in the classroom, especially if you are in need of a strong collection of elementary aged texts, with thorough information.
This could serve kids and teaching better with a few adjustments, however it is important to acknowledge this is a free resource for educators to use within the classroom; paid for families outside of a classroom. For a generally free resource I feel as though it exceeds expectations. Using the TPACK Model: Pedagogically Epic is strong due to the differentiation abilities; students have the option to pick audio books, have a text read aloud with on screen word tracking (reading fluency), leveled texts, multi-genre, multi-media, etc. Although, not all texts have the option or ability to be listened to, there is a large selection that can. Students also have the option to take a quiz on some of the texts they have read. The quizzes only come in a multiple choice format; no written responses. A suggestion to increase the pedagogical domain of this app would be to add a component where written responses can be recorded, with a link to state standards.
Due to the lack of ability to create or deeply respond to questions about texts through this app, I don't believe this application redefines the task of reading texts. I feel as though Epic modifies the task of reading allowing reading to be truly redesigned using this tool. Students get instant encouragement each time a book is completed and often this comes in the form of badges or awards. This is motivational and engaging to students and awards do not pop up when a student finishes a physical copy of a book, redefining the reading experience through this application. Epic also provides instant "feedback" through the quizzes; although that feedback is not thorough, for example if a student simply guesses on an answer they are then immediately shared the correct answer rather than receiving feedback and another opportunity to respond. This can lead to students simply guessing through the questions to complete a quiz, rather than using skills to grow their comprehension while they read.