For a while now, some educators would claim that the textbook as we know it, is dead. Apple’s iPad Mini/iBooks Author event last year suggests we are definitely closing in on the deal. I will not talk about the viability of the iPad as a textbook replacement in the world of shrinking budgets, instead I’ll focus on how working with iBooks Author (iBA) with the iPad can turn traditional books to informative, engaging and fun uses of multimedia.
iBA, for those that want to know, requires a Mac computer running OS X 10.7.2 or later and it accepts text from Microsoft Word and other text editors. We had a team of editors, who did the research and writing on a variety of computers (mainly Windows machines) and sent the finished copy to the production and design teams. Images, audio and video files collected by Permissions and were added to the eBook project with a simple drag and drop. By collaborating on an iBook it drew people from a wide range of creative skills – creating audio clips, producing illustrations, shooting and editing video. Because a variety of media can be included in an iBook, there were numerous opportunities for us, of all ability levels, to be active contributors.
So in conclusion, from the help of Apple, digital technologies have put people in charge of the information they access, store, analyze and share. Most importantly the digital era has given students an expectation of informational choice. Creating an iBook harnessed all those motivational factors into an engaging learning experience and allowed/forced us all to collaborate and work together, we relinquished responsibility for learning to the student and provided staff a valuable opportunity to reflect on both process and product.