Electronic books, or e-books, have been a popular tool for eLearning for quite some time now and Apple hopes to capitalize on the popularity, convenience, and features of e-books with their new textbook line. Just a few days ago, Apple announced it would be offering a line of textbooks for their iPad in Apple’s iBookstore.
On the Apple website, the usual case against traditional paper books is made. Traditional books are expensive, experience wear and tear with continued use year after year, and can be cumbersome to haul around. They also point out the issue of many textbooks containing out of date information due to the difficulty in keeping information current in a traditional print book. (Apple offers updates to their iBook textbooks free of charge.) Also, three major elementary and secondary education textbook publishers (McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) have already created textbooks for the iPad that are available now in the iBookstore. Given that e-books are already wildly popular thanks in part to the very popular e-readers such as the Kindle and the Nook, the Apple iBook textbook line will most likely be very successful.
If you visit the Apple website, you will find a slick and savvy information page dedicated to the new iBook textbook line. The introduction of the iBook textbooks on the company site sums it up nicely: “A Multi-Touch textbook on iPad is a gorgeous, full-screen experience full of interactive diagrams, photos, and videos. No longer limited to static pictures to illustrate the text, now students can dive into an image with interactive captions, rotate a 3D object, or have the answer spring to life in a chapter review. They can flip through a book by simply sliding a finger along the bottom of the screen. Highlighting text, taking notes, searching for content, and finding definitions in the glossary are just as easy. And with all their books on a single iPad, students will have no problem carrying them wherever they go.”
The interactive nature of Apple’s iBook textbooks is one of their most impressive features. Readers can manipulate images of three-dimensional objects allowing for a fully rotatable view of many objects. Other interactive images include pan and zoom features and callouts containing additional information. Another additional interactive section of a iBook textbook could be image galleries which hold several pictures to scroll through rather than simply one picture to illustrate a concept or idea. To explore the interactive features of the iBook textbooks, you can visit the Apple website at http://images.apple.com/education/ibooks-textbooks/gallery.html .
The iBook textbooks also have several features that will aid students with their studies. A student can highlight an important passage or concept by simply swiping a finger over the desired text in an iBook textbook. By tapping on a highlighted section, further options are available such as changing the color of the highlighting or instantly adding a note. There is also a “Notes View” that allows students to easily access all of their highlighting and notes in one convenient place. The notes are converted into Study Cards that can be used to study course material. Students can even choose to include chapter vocabulary words and definitions from the glossary if they wish.
Based on the success of most Apple endeavors, we will surely be seeing and hearing much more about Apple’s iBook textbooks in the future. If you would like to learn more about them, visit the Apple website at