eReaders & eBooks in the Classroom

What am I going to do with an eReader in my classroom?!

iBooks Author App

on June 7, 2012

Are you ready to take the plunge into authoring your own books? Take a look at the recently released (and free) iBooks Author app.

Here’s the great features of Books Author:

  • Multi-Touch widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more
  • Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts for a quick start
  • Add accessibility descriptions to any widget so that it can be used by sight-impaired readers easily with VoiceOver
  • Export to iTunes U or iBooks or save as a PDF
Books can be downloaded via iTunes U or iBooks and read on an iPad, but with the capability of exporting it as a PDF, then you will be able to read it on a computer, mobile device, or an eReader device able to read PDFs.
Here is a FREE 110-page tutorial e-book on the iBooks Author App.

Here’s what it looks like: (screenshots from Mashable.com)

Template Browser

Just like Keynote, iBooks Author comes packed with a variety of different book templates that authors can use as a starting place to design their books.


Cover View

The cover can be customized to showcase the book.

Layout Options

Each template comes with a number of different layout options, both in portrait and landscape, that the user can customize.


Intro Video

Books created in iBooks Author can include an introductory video for a more rich multimedia experience.


Glossary

The user can build a glossary into the book.


Table of Contents

The table of contents can be customized and labeled. It automatically updates based on what options and elements are chosen in the program.


Chapter Layouts

The “Chapter” section has different layout options for a chapter title page or for a “preface” page.


Section Layouts

Section layouts can include text accompanied with graphics, forward or copyright information or standard layout text.

Page Layouts

There are multiple page layouts to choose from, including one, two and three column pages. Users can also insert blank pages.


Import Chapter Content

Users can import text directly for a chapter from a Pages or Word file.

The formatting within that file is preserved when possible and text size and line height can be adjusted as usual.


Widget Types

Numerous interactive widgets can go inside pages. These include interactive images, 3D objects, video or other types of media, photo slideshows and Keynote presentations. Users can also insert quiz questions or custom HTML widgets.


Landscape View

A chapter layout page as it will appear in landscape.


Portrait View

That same chapter page in portrait mode.


Interactive Image Controls

Interactive images include animation control points. If you have used Keynote, the controls will be familiar.


Keynote Widget

Speaking fo Keynote, full Keynote presentations, including animations, can be inserted into an iBook.


iPad Preview

Users can preview their books on the iPad before publishing. Simply connect an iPad to your Mac, open iBooks and then click the “Preview” icon. A proof will be sent to the device.


iBooks 2 Proof View

Proof copies have a special designation in the Library of iBooks 2.


iBooks 2 Cover View Landscape

The cover of our book in landscape.


iBooks 2 Cover View Portrait

The cover in portrait


iBooks 2 Table of Contents

The table of contents.


iBooks 2 Chapter Landscape

The landscape chapter view.


iBooks 2 Portrait

The portrait chapter view.


iBooks 2 Widgets

Widgets within the app.


iBooks 2 Keynote Widget

The Keynote widget.


iBooks 2 Keynote Fullscreen

When in full screen, the user can control the presentation and its action as if it were a regular presentation.


iBooks 2 Notes

iBooks 2 includes an area for users to keep their own notes and highlights in a book.

I see where is a great use for this app within my own classroom as a teacher. The possibilities I find intriguing are getting away from many of the state- or district-adopted textbooks that many of us do not use except for reference every-now-and-then and creating study guides or chapters of text that are interactive for students. In a way, this helps to “flip” the classrooms and make them zones of discussion and project-based learning rather than spending our time drilling the information.
In turn, is this something a student could use to create a meaningful project? Yes! Think of the multi-genre or multimedia research or PBL projects that can be created using this tool.
Like any technology or tool, there is a learning curve. Download the app on your OS X device and start playing around with. The positive, we have the summer to create some awesome, interactive texts our students will benefit from.
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