Thursday, June 14, 2012

My summer project-- iBook Author!

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I wasn't sure what to expect when I attended the Apple briefing with eleven of my colleagues on March 29. To my delight, a significant portion of time was devoted to iBooks Author software for creating iBooks which was revealed to the world along with Apple's announcement about its textbook initiative for iBooks.

Since adopting the iPad for ninth graders, parents, teachers, and administrators have been eager to examine textbook content from the major publishers. But with iBooks Author, teachers can begin creating their own content, immediately. The thought of creating an entire textbook is simply overwhelming. However, if a group of teachers contributed to a unit of material, or a teacher focused on converting his or her supplements into iBooks, the project seems doable. My colleague, Alison Kline-Kator noted,

The possibility of creating an entire text is daunting The idea of using them for a lesson or unit, though, seems like a great place to start, particularly for classes or units where the text may be weak, or I'd like to present some contrasting viewpoints.

I am anxious to try it out for my AP Government & Politics class this summer. Two summers ago, I plowed through a complete tutorial program for Keynote, which should give me a leg up, according to Mashable's Christina Warren,

The program interface will immediately be familiar to anyone who has used Apple’s excellent presentation application, Keynote. It’s easy to dismiss Keynote as just another presentation tool — or Apple’s version of PowerPoint — but the truth is, the program is much more powerful than that. Using Keynote, presenters can craft full multimedia presentations. . . . The most compelling part of iBooks Author is the widgets feature. This allows users to insert dynamic elements into pages, including photo galleries, movies, full Keynote presentations, interactive images and 3D objects.

Several of us are fired-up to get started with this. I am guessing that the experience alone will help us re-think the whole notion of what a "textbook" actually is. Perhaps our efforts can prod the publishers into deconstructing their own fixed, bound, anachronistic hunks of information. I would love to place purchased units or lessons of digital content on the iPad "shelves", next to my own.

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