I recently completed an online professional development class for art teachers called Tech Ready Teacher. Each week we explored another online resource that art teachers have used successfully in the classroom. The last week we discussed the future of online education, including interactive textbooks and eBooks.
Textbooks for iPad will easily become the new way to use textbooks in the classroom. No longer will backpacks weigh 100 pounds. Students will no longer be able to use the excuse that they left their textbook in their locker and could not do the assignment. They will never want to put their tech down.
These interactive textbooks will be fun, engaging and be able to reach students in a way that I wish was available to me during high school AP Art History or AP Biology. Imagine studying about Leonardo DaVinci, an entire interactive slideshow popping up, zooming in and out to observe the brushstrokes, captions below each with tidbits of interesting facts. Imagine, creating notecards from just highlighting important sections as you’re reading! No more hours and hours of hand writing notecards, only to lose half of them in the bottom of your backpack.
Needless to say, my mind is blown and I am a fan.
Digital books will change education, the way we write, and the way we read.
J.K. Rowling and Sony partnered up to create Pottermore, an interactive website that allows fans of the Harry Potter series delve into to the world chapter by chapter. It is designed to make the reader a part of the action.
Books such as Geronimo Stilton and Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, are already pushing the envelope of interactive reading in a physical book. I can’t tell you how many copies of Mighty Robot I have had to replace in my school library because of the flip book section at the end. It encourages children to ruffle the pages and flap the book around. While this is lousy for a librarian, the students gobble them up.
Imagine a fairy tale, digital and alive. Run up the tower alongside the Prince. Kiss the frog, slay the dragon. The story plots along, and you are there every step of the way.
Remember that movie from the 80’s, The NeverEnding Story? Bastian reads a book out loud and the story comes alive. In the end, the princess from the story speaks directly to him, the reader now becoming the most essential character in the book!
Think of what technology like this could mean for students learning to read, Readers Theatre, their engagement with non-fiction, and enjoyment of fiction that literally can transport you to new worlds.
Traditional books as we know them will always exist. Until every student in school has access to an iPad, they will have to. But as authors, can we not push the envelope of what a book can be?
Why not create a reading experience?
I can see the education world using books such as these to introduce topics to students on a broad scale. Although showing a Prezi can be a good teaser, the addition of the interactive textbook or eBook could help deepen student understanding of the content, connections with math and science, history and social movements. Students reading The Crucible could make immediate connections with historical facts about the Salem witch trials. Students reading Where The Wild Things Are could link to Maurice Sendak’s biography and body of work. They could literally take a walk down the hallways of the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They could see scientists working in their labs, and architects designing bridges. All of this at their fingertips.
Want to create an interactive textbook or eBook online? Check out these websites and apps:
The way we use eBooks in the next few years is going to change drastically, and I, for one, would love to be a part of it.
Do you see interactive textbooks and eBooks for students as a threat to the tradition of physical books or as just the next step in literature for children?