Thursday, November 4, 2010

Game changer

It isn't about the device. I am lucky enough to have both a Kindle and an iPad. They are synched which makes digital reading easy and a joy. Truth be told though, I was a little frustrated. The iPad still felt more like a consumption device.

At the MassCUE Conference last week I went to a session on the iPad. I knew it was possible to get free ePub books for the iPad, but I still wasn't sold on its role in schools. I walked out of the session room a convert. 

Why? Because of ePub.  After a 1 hour session I was able to convert my conference notes into an ebook and by synching with my laptop iTunes account, download a beautiful ebook rich with links and embedded video. It was easy, intuitive and fast.

Think of the ramifications! Curriculum that is currently paper based can be copy/pasted into an ebook and pushed out through a district network as an alternate textbook. Teachers can collaborate and keep materials updated with all the ease of simple word processing.

The iPad, or whatever the digital reading device turns out to be, is a pipeline for delivering teacher created content to students. Content that has text to speech and other accessibility features built right into the format.

What a great way to showcase student work. This has fascinating implications for student publishing. Our student literary magazine could be published this way, and expanded to include rich media resources. These are dynamic skills for Humanities students.

This is something I can champion, promote, and support through professional development. We are nowhere near ready for an initiative like this, but seeing what is possible will help us prepare for this future, which isn't too far off.

At this stage in the game you need to use Pages, which is a Mac word processing platform. Things are evolving so quickly that very soon it won't matter if you are Mac or Windows based. The important thing is talking about it and getting tech directors, administrators and teachers to see the potential. Laying the groundwork for rolling out the capacity for digital publishing in the next couple if years is important work, and has jumped to the top of my planning.

ePub Best Practices

Day 6 NaNoWriMo
(Not writing a novel. Using this as a prompt to blog daily for a month.)

Photo Credit:
Flickr Creative Commons
eBook Readers Galore

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