Why it’s time to throw out your textbooks…


There’s no denying it any more: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are slowly colonising our classrooms. Whether they’re brought in by individual students or, as is increasingly the case, supplied as part of an iStudent scheme, these devices have shown themselves to be a great way to up pupil engagement (check out this glowing review from Weston College if you don’t believe us).

With that in mind, we decided to get one of our Education Consultants, Rob Williams, to give us a quick tour of the newly-launched iBooks 2 and explain why now’s the best time for e-skeptics to give electronic textbooks a chance. Read on, or take a look at our hands-on iBooks 2 videos…

1. They help you support interactive learning

”The main new improvement in iBooks 2 is the addition of movie clips, 3D models and other interactive elements that can be manipulated with simple finger gestures for engaging, interactive learning,” says Rob. As you can see in the video, these elements can be anything from video content to rotating 3D models, or illustrations that display annotations when clicked – great if you want to hammer home a key point, make sure visual learners are getting the point or simply don’t have room to carry out a science experiment in class.

2. You can create (and keep track of) custom reading lists

“This isn’t a feature that’s been shouted about much, but personally I think anyone who’s had to keep track of thirty-six copies of six different textbooks for a term will really appreciate it. As well as the categories Apple gives you to order your books by – title, author, date, etc – you can now create custom categories. These essentially act like interactive reading lists, letting you group everything a student (or a cover teacher) would need to work on a specific module, project or even lesson.”

3. You can add annotations that are actually meaningful

“One of the main arguments in favour of paper books has always been that students have had room to annotate and underline to their heart’s content. With iBooks, Apple have started to level the playing field. You can now select any text on the page and add a margin note, look up a definition or apply different coloured highlights as you go, so it’s much easier to students to do things like colour-code key quotes on different themes or topics.”

4. You can create your own textbooks

Apple’s new iBooks Author tool for Mac lets you create your own textbooks, adding all those helpful interactive elements from point one yourself. “Using iBooks Author makes it easy for teachers to turn something like a Word file or a handout into something formatted specifically for use on iPad, so that students will be able to control and interact with it just like a professionally made ebook. Teachers needn’t worry about fonts, spacing or headers, because they’re all automatically formatted by the app – you just drag and drop the elements of your handout into the layout to create your book. If you’ve got an iPad handy, you can even connect it to your Mac as you’re editing, so you can preview the pages as you’re creating them.”

5. It’s backed by publishers

“Apple are already working with the publishers of textbooks within the UK and Europe to ask them to make curriculum textbooks in this ePub format, and it’s likely that, more and more, they’ll want to bring in these elements of interactivity. It’s a very exciting time for schools,” says Rob. It’s also a reassuring one, as it means more core texts should be winging their way to iBooks shortly, complete with supporting multimedia content. As well as meaning you get more textbooks in the short term, the backing of big industry names means that this format’s far more likely to stick around.

Want advice on integrating iPad into your classroom?

We’re Apple-certified and can help with everything from providing iPad and AppleCare protection to integrating devices into your existing infrastructure. Give Rob and the team a call on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com and request a callback.

To see our full range of iPad with AppleCare Protection, visit Jigsaw24.com or follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter for all the latest news. 

Call us: 03332 409 306