New Media Innovation: The Simple Beauty and Function of Textbooks on iPads

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The iPad has improved the education system by ushering in a new era of interactive textbooks.

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Some of the benefits of the free iBooks application that allows textbooks on iPad are consolidating all of a student’s books on one platform, reducing the weight students must carry around and cutting the costs of books. These advantages help publishers, teachers and students and make the education system more efficient. Interactive textbooks also help make learning more fun because they integrate various media with text.

Sensible Efficiency
One of the healthiest aspects of textbooks on an iPad is that kids don’t have to carry heavy books around anymore. Carrying books in backpacks can lead to discomfort, poor posture and potential back problems.

Heavy paper textbooks are also a strain on school finances as well as the environment. They can become very wasteful because they typically fall out of date within five years, forcing schools to either buy new books or lower the quality of education by keeping old books. Another healthy aspect of textbooks on iPad is they bring more energy, excitement and ambition to the classroom.

Digitally storing books on an iPad saves paper, production costs and storage costs prior to a book’s purchase. The text is easy to read and you can customize it to your needs. Furthermore, digital textbooks can easily be updated on a tablet with just a click. Another advantage to reading on an iPad is that pictures look better and can link to other things. The navigation on an iPad is a seamless experience, using your hand to turn pages without a keyboard or mouse. You can also access pages much quicker than a printed book using touchscreen indexes.

Fun Learning Tools
The iPad has made learning an adventure by giving the user creative control of the learning experience. One of the keys to learning is taking notes, which iBooks makes easy. All you do is tap on the text and then begin typing a note about it. Swiping your finger over text will highlight the text. If you want to see a closeup of a picture you simply touch it and the image will start zooming in.

Instead of viewing static graphs in a traditional textbook, you can play with interactive graphs. Younger students or foreign language can also click the VoiceOver button and listen to the text being read to them, which helps them learn pronunciations. You can listen to audio through headphones or through the iPad’s small speaker. By recording your own voice reading the text and playing it back, you can develop a closer and more memorable connection with the material. Video can also be embedded into ebooks, giving you a more powerful visual presentation. Mixing games and test questions with educational ebooks makes the learning process even more fun.

Apple Education

As part of Apple’s mission to dive into education, the company has partnered with one of the top publishers of school textbooks, McGraw Hill Education. The two companies have been partners since 2010 but it wasn’t until 2012 with the release of iBooks 2 that the eBooks became interactive with videos, music and touch. McGraw Hill had previously dabbled with the concept of interactive books as far back as the 1990s.

Not only does the iPad provide a platform for self-education. If you are a student, there are apps that exist that allow you to take your textbook with you on the go. Apple has always been involved in the education space, which makes it fitting they would be leaders in innovative education. The ability to have your course textbooks on your iPad means no more lugging around 50 pounds of books every day to class. Searching a book will never be the same again.

If you like your finished product you can export the files as PDFs and even submit your interactive textbook to the iBook store. This development opens the door to independent educators offering free textbooks for the sake of education instead of profit.


Author: Joe Whyte