Posted by ebryantj
When the original iPad first arrived there was buzz about how this device could change education. Schools began adopting iPad programs. The iPad is an informational consumption device through which a learner can consume massive amounts of information through their ear and eye channels. Learners could even customize the information slightly, a tenet of UDL. If a learner needed larger text they could pinch and zoom with their hands and of course turn up or down any audio. The iPad is very portable when compared to laptops and is really easy to use; which makes it a great tool to use with younger children or other learners who may be uncomfortable using a computer. PDF readers became big apps in higher education and finding the next big content specific app became the big thing in elementary and secondary education as evident by the numerous app rating and apps for education sites. It was not easy for educators to create their own relevant content for their classroom. Most of the subject specific apps available were not adaptable to specific classroom content needs. Now with iBooks Author educators can create content that is specific to their classroom needs. Students now also have an exciting way to show off some of their creative genius on one of the most popular devices to date.
Student Produced Lessons
The big buzz right now about Apple’s new iBooks 2 and iBooks Author app is the interactivity textbook publishers can bring to the classroom. While that may be fine and dandy, imagine how you can unlock and display the creativity of students and teachers with this tool. With iBooks Author being a free download, students and teachers now have the ability to produce high quality self-contained content for the iPad without having to know a lot about programming. Here is one way I can see this being used with students: During the late 90’s and early 2000’s some teachers used webquests as a tool to teach a topic a topic to their students by having the students research online resources that have been provided to them from their teacher. The webquests usually ends in the students creating a report, video, or presentation. Now with iBooks Author students can take their video, report, and presentation and create a beautifully crafted lesson on any topic while honing their digital content creation skills. iBooks Author’s easy to use interface allows students to focus more on the content they are learning and creating and less on learning a program to create content that has a steep learning curve.
Inclusive Design Awareness
What is really great about iBooks Author is the upfront approach to accessibility. Not only does supplying the accessibility options help individuals who are born with or have developed certain disabilities, it also helps individuals as they age whose sensory functions may be beginning to fade. As educators, we can help change the idea of the “burden” to provide accessible options by showing students (future generations) how easy it actually is to provide other means of accessing information when you think about including everyone from the outset. With iBooks Author students and teachers can easily create content that takes advantage of the iPad’s accessibility features.
Digital Storytelling Enhancement
Digital Storytelling has been around for a while now in classroom education. Many times restricting students to one format, not because of an inability to create multiple types of media, but because of the lack of one easy presentation of multiple media. Just as a good storyteller makes you feel as if you are there with their voice and mannerisms, iBooks author allows students to create a world in a book and unveil their imaginations to others.
Supplement your classroom Teaching
Teachers can create an iBook of course materials that can easily be updated and distributed to students. While this can be done a myriad of ways, imagine if you are the teacher of a face-to-face classroom of students who regularly miss class due to reasons necessary to their role in life (i.e. student-athletes, other students who travel for the university such as chorales or student government, etc.). You could place much of the classroom materials in an iBook that is uploaded to your iTunes U collection. Students would need the Internet once to download the book or chapter for the week. Students could download the lesson before boarding a bus or plane where they would no longer have Internet connection most likely yet still be able to review and study the content for class. The iBook is more than just a PDF that a student could download. The iBook is better than having students download multiple videos and PDFs and then having to remember to read and watch everything. The iBook acts as a guide through out the course materials for the week. Students will have a table of contents in front of them showing them everything they have to review for the week. With iBooks you can even provide a self-check section to help students realize what information is seeking in and what information they still need to review.
Final Project Portfolio
In some classrooms students are required to put together a final portfolio project. In an interactive media class where students would learn about creating graphics, photography, video creation, and audio editing, iBooks author provides an easy packaging system for students to quickly drag and drop their projects from that semester into a neat, clean and fun iBook that can be easily presented on their iPad.
While it is great that Apple and textbook publishers are now able to offer interactive textbooks on the iPad (similar apps on the iPad have been attempting this: Kno and Inkling apps), it is even more exciting that now students and teachers have a very easy to use multimedia publishing tool to create content for the iPad. Maybe one day creating high quality multimedia content for tablet devices will be as universal and as easy as word processing.