Showing posts with label digital textbooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label digital textbooks. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

CK-12 Announces the Top Flexbooks of the Year

The CK-12 Foundation's FlexBook tool allows teachers to develop their own multimedia textbooks. Those books can be shared publicly with the CK-12 community. This CK-12 released a list of the most used FlexBooks of the year.

This year's five most used CK-12 FlexBooks are Biology Concepts, Chemistry Concepts, Life Science Concepts for Middle School, Physical Science Concepts for Middle School, and Earth Science Concepts for Middle School.

If you would like to try developing your own FlexBooks, the tutorials embedded below will help you get started.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

ContextU Expands Again - A Digital Textbook on U.S. History

Last spring ContextU launched as a site to provide students with the greater context for significant events in U.S. history. In the September the site expanded to include more content on the American Revolution. Last month it expanded again to provide content on the period between George Washington's and Andrew Jackson's presidencies.

Just like the other sections of ContextU, the "New Nation" section of ContextU features a table of contents that students can open to select an event, person, or theme to see it in the context of other events and themes. Through timelines, Google Maps, diagrams, flow charts, and text ContextU provides context for each chosen event, piece of legislation, or theme. Students can jump from event to event or from theme to theme by following the hyperlinks within each diagram.

Applications for Education
The advantage of ContextU over a textbook as well as many other websites is the ease with which students can see how an event fits into the larger context of the causes of events in U.S. History.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

ContextU - A Good Digital Textbook on the American Revolution

Back in May I shared information about a great U.S. History resource called ContextU. ContextU's purpose is to help students see the greater context for significant events in history. When it launched last spring ContextU was focused on the American Civil War. Thanks to Ken Halla, I have learned that ContextU now offers a section on the American Revolution.

Just like in the Civil War section, in the American Revolution section on ContextU students open a table of contents from which they can select an event, person, or theme to see it in the context of other events, and themes leading contributing to the American Revolution. Through timelines, Google Maps, diagrams, flow charts, timelines, and text ContextU provides context for each chosen event, piece of legislation, or theme. Students can jump from event to event or from theme to theme by following the hyperlinks within each diagram.

Applications for Education
ContextU's American Revolution section is still being developed but what is available now is quite good. The advantage of ContextU over a textbook as well as many other websites is the ease with which students can see how an event fits into the larger context of the causes of the American Revolution.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Is Beyond Textbooks?

For the next two days I’ll be at Discovery Education’s Beyond the Textbook forum. The purpose of the forum is to bring together a couple of dozen educators to discuss the next generation of textbooks or whatever is beyond textbooks. The forum is set to begin in just a few minutes from now. These are my thoughts heading into the forum. I’ll update these notes over the next couple of days.

When I hear “beyond textbooks” this is what I think of:

  • Using augmented reality applications to enhance images and diagrams and make them interactive. 
  • Embedding video and audio into digital textbooks. Granted, this can be done in webpages. 
  • Building interactive, choose-own-adventure pages into digital textbooks. Including checks for understanding that provide students with immediate feedback before moving on to a new section of the textbook. 
  • Providing a base digital textbook that teachers can quickly and easily customize the content of those textbooks to match their curricula.
What do you think of when you hear "beyond textbooks?"

Full disclosure: Discovery is paying my expenses for the trip and I am speaking at a Discovery Education event in Vermont this summer. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Would You Have Me Say to Discovery About Textbooks?

Five days from now I will be at Discovery's headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland for a forum titled Beyond the Textbook. This event pulls together 20 or so educators to talk about the future of textbooks or the future of reference materials. To be honest, I'm not totally sure what the whole thing is about, but I'm going to find out. Anyway, I'm hoping to lend share more than just my voice in the two day conversation. So what would you have me say to Discovery about textbooks? Please leave a comment below.

Just as I was about to publish this post, I noticed that David Warlick wrote a similar post in which he included a short survey. If you're so inclined, I encourage you to share your thoughts there too

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Initial Impressions of Apple's New Education Initiatives

You might have heard that today Apple had a big event to launch their new K-12 marketing educational products initiatives. For the sake of full disclosure I will tell you now, that I have not had hands-on experience with Apple's new offerings yet. I hope to have time for that in the next few days. These are my initial impressions based on reading the promotional materials, reading some other blogs, and some short exchanges on Twitter. Remember, these are my initial impressions and I reserve the right to change my mind.

About iBooks Author
iBooks Author is Apple's new free (although it only works on Mac OS X) is the one thing that I'm somewhat excited about using. iBooks Author will allow users to create their own multimedia digital textbooks. The templates that I've seen remind me quite a bit of Apple's Pages program. For the record, I think Pages is fantastic. The limitation of iBooks Author is that you can only publish to and access the finished product through the iBooks app. Audrey Watters has written a nice hands-on with iBooks Author piece that I recommend reading.

If your school is exclusively using Apple hardware and software iBooks Author could be a good authoring tool for you. Of course, you could accomplish the same purpose of having students create multimedia reference materials by using services like Wikispaces and Simple Booklet.

About the new iTunes U
The new iTunes U certainly has the potential to be a good way to distribute course materials to students. I always celebrate when schools, whether K-12 or higher ed, publish their course materials to the public. One of the great things about the modern web is wealth of free information available to almost anyone that can access the Internet.

Once again Apple has created some highly aesthetically-pleasing products, they always do. The technology tools that get me excited are tools that students can use to remix and or create new things. The iBooks Author tool offers that to Mac users.

Other than iBooks Author, my initial impression of the new education offerings from Apple is pretty blah. The iBooks textbooks look very nice and have some interactive elements. But, I can't help but wonder why Apple choose to make the, "iBooks will make kids' backpacks lighter" as their second marketing point. It seems to me that if iBook textbooks are going to "revolutionize" education that something other than "lighter backpacks" would be Apple's second marketing point for iBooks.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Interactive Textbooks via iPad

A Guest Post: by Erin Klein 

As a middle school teacher and mother of two young children, I am always excited by the innovation technology offers our leader's of tomorrow.  Still in my twenties (for a few more months at least!), I'm often perceived by my colleagues as being a tech savvy teacher; however, I consider myself as a teacher rooted in sound pedagogy - if technology is a tool that enhances a particular concept, great... if it simply adds 'bells and whistles,' I wouldn't endorse the merit of integration via web 2.0 tools, multimedia, an and iPad use.  Recently, I've embraced the idea of adopting iPad technology not only to assist students with special needs or to add an interactive element to a lesson, but to actually be the main medium used between the teacher and the student.  The following two minute film segment, created by two of my seventh grade students, summarizes my rationale for iPad inclusion versus the use of textbooks.

My kids would love for you to 'click here' to add a 'view' to their video.

Inkling 'brings the world's best interactive learning content to iPad.' Inkling is, in my opinion, a superior company who just signed the following textbook companies: McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and WW Norton (plus many more). Their 'Content Architects' help to develop the best possible relationship a student to 'text' could have through rich pedagogy and unparalleled interactive media: 3D image and diagram rendering, embedded multimedia, and social collaboration capabilities. The following film further explains the revolutionary capabilities Inkling is exploring:

A Brief History:

Growing up, I always wanted to be 'current' when I got older. I looked up to my own parents who seemed to remain relevant when technology began to infuse itself into our world. As a mother and teacher, I still want to remain relevant in the children's life I influence and effect. Looking back five years, I can recall having a flip phone and a television with a large 'back side.' My district didn't have any SMARTBoards and very few had document cameras - most used overhead projectors with transparencies. Now, my classroom has: a SMARTBoard, document camera, 4 ipods, 10 iPads, a flip camera, and many other digital devices (wireless mice, etc). My instructional methodology has changed, my practice has been streamlined, and I'm covering more content while my students are actively engaged and collaborating not only with each other but internationally as well. Please view my post on my vision of tomorrow; I think you'll be inspired. Additionally, if you'd like to peak into our Social Studies Skype session with South Africa, click here)- thanks, Mrs. Brandeberry!

Join My Network:

I'd love to have you as a part of my Personal Learning Network, PLN. Please follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my RSS feeds at my site, Kleinspiration. Also, you can 'like us' on Facebook.

A Technology Give-Away: 

Lastly, this weekend, I'll be hosting a give-away to my 'blog followers' for not 1, not 2, but 3 subscriptions to TechSmith's Camtasia, a screen casting and video editing software - a $299.00 value each! Click here to read more about how to integrate this software into your classroom, and please 'follow' my blog by adding your photo on the right side scroll to be eligible for the give-away. Winners will be asked to create a short post on how they plan to integrate or experiment with the software. Thanks!


Erin Klein
author of Kleinspiration: a technology resource sharing blog
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