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5 Reasons To Try iBooks Author In The Classroom

Jessica Barkell

Apple said in it's announcement of iBooks Author:

"It’s time to turn a new page on learning."

With iBooks Author, Apple is making it easy for anyone to create rich interactive textbooks and learning materials without knowing anything about programing.

That’s right, this incredibly powerful tool is drag-and-drop easy to use so you can focus on your content and let iBooks Author add a little bit of magic – scrolling photo galleries, 3D rotating images and graphics, interactive quizzes, pop-up tips,and embedded videos are just a few of the possibilities. Oh, and it’s absolutely FREE.

Thanks to this wonderful program, it’s never been easier to create and publish your very own interactive textbooks – or really any type of book for that matter. Here are 5 reasons why you should try iBooks Author in your classroom:

5 Reasons To Try iBooks Author In The Classroom

1. You Probably Already Know How to Use It (or Learn It in Under 10 Minutes)

If you’ve ever used Apple’s other iWork applications like Pages, Keynote, or Numbers, you already know how to use iBooks Author. The interface and toolbars are almost identical so you’ll feel very comfortable navigating the app from the moment you open it.

Even if you’re new to Mac’s or these applications in general, Apple’s focus as a company on intuitive user interfaces makes learning them a breeze (think in 10 minutes or less) and there’s a ton of helpful free resources out there to get you started like this one, this one, and this one

Adding text, keynote presentations, photos, videos, and other interactive elements is literally “drag-and-drop” simple. This short learning curve makes it a no-brainer for any classroom and grade level.

2. Not Just Reading – Interaction

Static materials are a thing of the past – interactivity is here to stay and it’s transforming the way we teach and learn. Apple calls it

“textbooks they won’t want to put down.”

With interactive diagrams, 3D rotating objects, panoramic photos, videos, and interactive pop-up quizzes as just a few of the many options available within the iBooks Author application, these new learning materials come to life in ways the printed page never could.

It’s not just magic – it’s functional too. Highlighting text, taking notes, searching for content, and finding definitions in the glossary are just as easy.

3. Customized Learning

If you’ve ever struggled with finding the perfect textbook for your classroom that’s exactly what you want and affordable, this is going to have you jumping for joy. With iBooks Author, you can create the perfect book – for you and your students. Upload your own images, add the text you feel is important, include more review questions on a particularly difficult section, or record your own voice or video. This is an opportunity for teachers and students alike to create a book that is not only unique, but tailor-made.

4. Class Projects – Kicked Up A Notch!

iBooks Author isn’t just for teachers – students can create their own learning materials or class projects too! Why create a static class presentation when students are so familiar with and accustomed to working with technology. iBooks Author is the perfect tool to help them express everything they are capable of and it’s also the perfect collaboration tool that group projects can get behind. Watch your students as they dazzle you with their creativity and actually teach themselves – and each other.

5. Sharing with the World

Did you know iBooks Author has an ‘Easy Button’ for publishing built right in? Yep – you can publish your book to the iBookstore for free (or you can charge for it) in one simple step. There’s no doubt about it, seeing your work displayed in the iBookstore for the world to enjoy is such a rewarding experience. Your students are published authors! Now they can share their work with friends and family (or the rest of the world for that matter).

What Will You Create?

Here is a great blog post on one teachers experience with iBooks Author in the classroom (with a curriculum included). And if your students don’t have iPads, iBooks can also be read on desktop or laptop computers with the latest operating system, Mavericks, installed.

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