Back to school is just around the corner and teachers everywhere are getting ready for another exciting year! With Book Creator announcing version 4.0 which will include many of the features we will discuss here, this is a great time to learn about how to create an interactive e-Book! If you have a class set of iPads, are 1:1 with iPads or have MacBooks this is a great time to learn about some great applications that are available for FREE!
Year after year, teachers sift through resources and create projects and activities for the upcoming school year. Wouldn’t it be great if all of your content was in one location, readily accessible and presented in an interactive manner for students to actively engage in? This year why not put together your own interactive books using iBooks Author or Book Creator. iBooks Author is free software available on a Mac and can be viewed on iPads or Macs. While the idea of creating your own book may seem like a daunting task remember no one creates a more intuitive experience than Apple. If you are used to using Pages and/or Keynote iBooks Author is going to make you feel right at home. When we hear the word textbook immediately we think about lots of information with lots of chapters etc. However like with anything else in learning the idea is to not substitute what already exists through technology, the idea is to redefine the learning experience using technology. Furthermore with the ability to create an experience that allows users to see, hear and touch you can cater to all learning styles.
Let's leave the static resources behind and take a look at how you can begin building an interactive, media rich learning experience for your students.
Getting to Know iBooks Author
Templates and Orientation
There are two things that make iBook Author a winner. First of all it’s free! Second of all it’s super easy to begin using. When you first open up the program you’ll be prompted to select a template. They have so many great ones to choose from and if you want more you can buy templates from the app store or simply make your own. You can choose to have your iBook in landscape or portrait mode. I recommend landscape mode if you want to be able to use all the interactive features.
iBooks Author divides books into chapters and sections. Knowing how you want to organize your content is a great place to begin. What do you want the title of the book to be? What do you want the chapter titles to be, section titles and so on. Moreover there are many different layout options, allowing you to create the experience you are looking for.
Drag and Drop
Once you have the organizational structure down, its time to start adding in content. If you have text in a Word or Pages document, simply drag and drop to insert the text, the best part is you keep your formatting too! You do not have to have the content in a document to use iBooks, if you like you can begin typing directly into your book!
The real fun comes when you want to create the interactive material. There are so many options to choose from and I’m going to highlight your three best options – widgets built into iBooks Author, widgets from Bookry and creating your own widget using iAd Producer.
Widgets Built into iBooks Author
iBooks Author provides you with six different widget options. You can choose from the following: gallery, media, review, keynote, interactive image, 3D image, scrolling sidebar, pop-over and HTML. Are you wondering what all this looks like? View the tutorial on the right hand side to take a look at how you can create one too.
Widgets from Bookry
Bookry is iBooks Author trendiest accessory! If you thought the possibilities were endless given what is included in iBooks Author wait till you see what Bookry has to offer. Bookry allows you to create your own customized widgets that you can drag and drop right into iBooks Author. Readers can play games, solve puzzles, submit information and share ideas via social media. Best of all its FREE! Are you curious to see how this works? Let’s take a look!
Creating Your Own Widget Using iAd Producer
If you still are looking for a more customized widget experience then look no further than iAd Producer. (You do not have to be a developer to create an account. It's free!) I always believe in imagining what you want to create first, with the number of tools out there you are sure to find something that will help you achieve your vision. So when I wanted to include a Thinglink into my iBook I knew there had to be a way and this is how I found iAd Producer. View the tutorial on the right hand side to take a look at how you can create one too.
Congratulations! You are ready to publish your first iBook. Once again you have many options. Before you publish your iBook preview it on your Mac or iPad to ensure everything is in order.
Option 1 – Save as PDF
You can save your book as a PDF, but that’s a bit boring as none of the interactive features you’ve created can be viewed.
Option 2 – Save as an iBook
This is the ideal option. You want to export your iBook and then you can decide if you want to send it to the iBookstore, upload it to your iTunesU course or you can email your iBook to anyone you like.
*Allow for at least a 2-3 week time frame when uploading your iBook to the iBookstore, it doesn’t not show up immediately.
If you think the fun is over, think again because it’s just beginning. When your students interact with the iBook they have a plethora of options.
Student Experience with iBooks
With an iBook the user experience allows students to stay engaged in what they are learning by providing the following:
*Download an iBook to practice as you read each of the following
Tap on a word to look up a term
Highlight Text – iBooks will begin creating a course notebook for you where it will save all of your highlighted notes!
Notate Content – want to add in some of your own thoughts tap to create a note and guess what that gets saved to your notebook as well.
When you are done and want to go back and review your notes/annotations simply tap the Notes button at the top of the book and you’ll be take straight to your notebook!
Using Book Creator
Apps that allow you to begin with a tabula rasa, or blank slate are a favorite because it is within these that the possibilities are limited only to your imagination. Book Creator is another great tool that you can use to create interactive digital books.
Book Creator allows you to create your own digital books that can be shared with anyone and everyone. They have some exciting updates coming soon that will allow you to use the widgets that you have seen in the videos from Bookry and iAd Producer so this is a great app to get familiar.
Want to learn more about how to use Book Creator view the tutorial on the right hand side to get started.
We hope you have lots of fun creating using iBooks Author. Give us a shout out if you have any questions. As always we’d love to see what you create!