Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Using iBooks Author: Reflecting on the Evolution of the "Book"

          As part of my ongoing work creating an English 8 course for iTunes University, I began the process of constructing an e-book entitled, Literature Circles: Reigniting a Passion for Reading in the Secondary Classroom, that synthesizes the various activities, projects and rubrics that I have compiled over the years for a Literature Circles unit. This process has caused me to reflect on how the essential concept of the "book" has evolved exponentially with the advent of e-books and new digital mediums. Using the Mac App iBooks Author, I am able to compile a huge range of materials, from basic Word documents, to YouTube videos. Within iBooks Author, and through the complimentary service Bookry, there are seemingly endless interactive widgets available.
Excerpt from Chapter 1 of my  e-book on Literature Circles.

          Coincidentally, while I was in the midst of this process, the CBC radio show Ideas ran the episode, "Opening The Book" which examines the ongoing evolution of the book:

"The book has stayed pretty much the same for over 500 years: a bunch of paper pages between covers. It's been both finite and easily grasped. But our digitally-connected world is forcing us to re-imagine what books could be."

          As I listened to this episode, I thought about my students, and how different their concept of a book might be from mine. I see myself as fairly traditional in that although I do read the occasional e-book, I still yearn for the old "pages between a cover" hard copy version. I love the look of books, I love the smell of books and I love to own books. My over flowing book shelves are a testament to this. But at the same time, both professionally and personally, I have been moving towards integrating digital modes of writing and reading. Inspired by my own foray into the world of blogging, I plan to implement e-portfolios and student websites into my English classes this September to supplement the more traditional "pen and paper" writing that continues to be a necessary component of the class, given that majority of my students are still required to write the paper version, rather than the e-version of the English 10 and 12 Provincial Exam.
Using iBooks Author, I am able to insert YouTube clips of my students' iMovie Trailers for their novels.
          Interestingly, as I compiled my e-book on Literature Circles, I included possible suggestions for high interest novels, and referenced ISBN numbers for hard copy versions. Only in hindsight did I see the irony. Despite immersing myself in new digital mediums, I am still clearly biased in my perception of what constitutes a book. My experience of reading still largely involves the concrete, tangible experience of holding a paperback or hard cover book in my hands, flipping over a page and folding over the edge to mark my spot. My students' experience of reading will be something quite different. It may involve the ability and indeed, the expectation, to be able interact with the text in ways that I am only beginning to understand.
          As I continue to create my iTunes U course for English 8, linking websites, videos, podcasts, blogs, ibooks and Apps, my own perception of what constitutes a learning resource must continue to evolve and expand in order to best serve my students. And so, the overflowing bookshelves in every room of my house and classroom, have now extended to the virtual bookshelf on my iPad.
                                        I may need to get more memory on my next device.

Excerpt from Chapter 3 of my e-book on Literature Circles.

No comments:

Post a Comment