According to Apple, iBooks Author is an amazing new app that allows anyone to create beautiful Multi-Touch textbooks — and just about any other kind of book — for iPad. With galleries, video, interactive diagrams, 3D objects, and more, these books bring content to life in ways the printed page never could.
So why does it rock? Here’s a few reasons why…
1. Teachers can create their own textbooks and/or course material. We are all used to buying textbooks with tons of ancillary material. Worksheets galore! The ancillary material often included a DVD of videos to support learning, or an online PDF that may be difficult for students to access. Now, teachers can easily integrate video, audio, images and assessments in one “publication” so that multiple modalities and multiple learning styles can be addressed.
2. The content is customizable. Gone are the days when a textbook would be in use for 5 years. Now chapters, sections, even daily readings can be edited and updated as a result of formative assessments. Additional content can be added in for reinforcement.
3. Students can do it too! There’s a great example of a school in Virginia where the students write the content for each unit, pulling in videos and other supporting materials. Why not have the students create the textbook for the following year’s class.
4. It’s more than just eBooks. Creating an eBook is much more than just getting content, copying and pasting. Students and teachers need to think about information flow, information design, writing for an audience. Connecting textbook content to supporting images and videos is not an easy task either.
5. It’s fun! I teach seniors – and second semester can be a challenge, mainly because of a little thing called senioritis. For the past few weeks, my students – all seniors in Advanced Physics – have been working on an eBook on plasma physics. They are completely engaged in the learning process! Their understanding of how iBooks works comes from “learning from the side” as they consult with each other and with me to find new, hidden strategies buried in iBooks Author.