Monday, January 23, 2012

iBook Author - Where is the real power?

I was very excited to hear the foreshadowed Apple announcement changing the textbook world.

This has the potential to change learning resources in the same way that the printing press did almost 600 years ago.  The printed word became accessible to a broader audience.  Now the multimedia world will become accessible to a broader audience.

We already have access to the individual pieces of information and media; however, there hasn't been a crisp way to staple all the resources together.  Now there is

I have already read some criticism that the power of the multi billion dollar textbook industry will still remain with the publishing giants.  While I can see that as try for content rich textbooks that have every detail for entire courses, I see greater potential outside of the publishing companies.

I see the real power being brought to the students and teachers.  As a teacher I can now create custom content for the course I want to teach.  (Unfortunately, this is still living in the old paradigm of teacher experts but better than a business as the expert).  The most amazing power will be what students can create.

A huge frustration for me is when teachers create an awesome wiki with their students, then ask how to erase it all at the end of the course.  Why do we make students start their learning journey at the beginning.  All current innovation is built on previous innovations.  Why should 'textbooks' of the future delete those previous learnings?  Wouldn't it be better to create a 'textbook' resource with a class, then have the next class spring board to adapt old learning and explore new learning.

Please don't waste previous student's learning.  Acknowledge and honour the previous learning and move forward.  Textbooks are dead resources from a snapshot in time.   The content in a textbook is not the value; the process of learning and engaging with the content is the value.   Living iBooks can and should develop a life of their own


The Tourist said...

I appreciate your reaction to iBooks Author, although I think I am even more skeptical over the impact this app will have on publishing. You make a good point though how now multimedia authoring is now in the hands of literally everyone (who owns a Mac), but then again how many of us really have the skills it takes to produce such content on our own when most educational systems, particularly in rural areas, do not cover multimedia literacy in their core curriculum?

Check out my post about iBooks Author on
What Does iBooks Author Mean for Literacy?

Kevin Amboe said...

Good thinking. I believe in getting something out rather than it being perfect. Student publishing is about sharing their learning. Even if the book produced has only a localized audience it is more valuable than a corporate giant production.