Tag Archives: textbook

Common Sense Media – Free Digital Citizenship Curriculum (Limited Time)

Common Sense Media has just announced that it’s Digital Citizenship textbooks are currently free via iBooks until September 30, 2016. After September 30th, the iBooks will go to $8.99 per device for the teacher edition and $1.99 per device for the student workbooks.

You can download the books via the iTunes store here.

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Metamorphosis of the Biology Textbook

I’m excited to attend this next session “Metamorphosis of the Biology Textbook” with Morgan Ryan and Gaël McGill, Ph.D., co-creators of E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth, a new textbook created via iBooks Author and available on the iBooks bookstore (free).

The vision of the project was to create a series of vibrant textbooks in a new, media platform. The textbook is a standard Biology textbook, 41 chapters across 7 volumes. They wanted it to be standards based and familiar, but at the same time different than what people have seen before. Morgan tells us that what is great about an e-Textbook is that it allows the author to regularly update their content. Instead of printing a new volume, you can input new material.

In addition to the textbook, they also have included an iTunes U course in conjunction with the text. They can even gamify the course with badges. Very cool!

The Power of Scientific Visualization

Screen shot from E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth. The text discusses a previously unknown species of carpenter ant collected by E.O. Wilson in Gorongosa National Park during a textbook development expedition to Mozambique in the summer of 2011

Screen shot from E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth. The text discusses a previously unknown species of carpenter ant collected by E.O. Wilson in Gorongosa National Park during a textbook development expedition to Mozambique in the summer of 2011

Visualizing content is powerful in a teaching medium. It should not just be used to engage students, but strategically to impact learning. Gaël is now demonstrating for us several elements of the book. He says that it incorporates pedagogy, science, art, and design. Using iBooks Author, you can incorporate elegant design into building a textbook. With an eBook format, students are welcomed into the book with a short video. It’s simple, yet elegant. Just looking at the book, it is beautifully designed. The structure, colors, and layout are really striking. Gaël points out that the widgets in iBook author can be very basic or advanced and incorporate coding language.

Gaël says that he wants to empower students to consume data at their own pace. This can empower learners as they explore data and information. He says that in the book, they shifted the control of navigating the data to the students, not the textbook or even the teacher. I love tools that empower learners. In addition to included student guided directives, they also included well constructed documentaries for students to watch. He also emphasizes, however, that this is not a replacement for the lab experience!

I have to say, for me, this is a great example of what an eTextbook can be! It’s truly engaging, interactive, and exemplifies a variety of consumption and teaching methods.

Better Reasons for Using Tablets (via Once and Educator…)

A great blog, Once an Educator, just posted an excellent blog about the role that tablets can play in education.

In the Philippines now, there’s been talk of schools adapting the use of tablets for basic education. Tablets, being the latest “it” device, are seen as having great potential for teaching. After all, students seem to take to it very well. (On the other hand, students take to everything technology-related very well.)

In the media, however, most of the coverage about the device centers around its capacity to reduce the weight of heavy books lugged around by students. (Case in point: this news report about E-tablets replacing bulky books and this blog post about an all girls’ school in Metro Manila also exploring the use of tablets to replace their books.) In both of these reports, the tablet seems to be touted as no more than an ebook reader–place all of the textbooks in one light and nifty device. Though I’m sure we all agree that the tablet does do that, I think we need to refocus and see all the other benefits of the tablet, over and above its function as an ebook reader.

Read More Here: “Once an Educator: Better Reasons for Using Tablets in Philippine Schools