iBooks Author is getting a lot of attention lately as more users are discovering the ease with which they can make complex ebooks. The latest report comes from a graduate seminar at Georgia College. a group of students collaborated to produce , Using Technology in Education, which is currently available in iBooks.
Hey, if 7th graders can publish an ebook, why not grad students?
The students both wrote the text and created the videos and images. The ebook covers a wide variety of topics from eReaders to assistive technology and social media use in higher ed. The ebook is rich with videos and images, and it's filled with the latest info and advice on how to better incorporate technology into classrooms.
"It’s a cool, well-designed ebook," said Chris Greer, Associate Professor of instructional technology. "After we submitted it, no revisions were needed. The textbook passed Apple’s screening process, which speaks to the quality of the students’ work."
It's a good thing that this textbook focuses on ed-tech and not some other topic; that makes it more likely that the desired reader, namely teachers, will have an iPad to read it. Tablet penetration is still less than total in college classes, with only about 1 in 5 students reporting that they owned a tablet, according to a recent Coursesmart survey.
To be honest, I'm more interested in what happens next year. Educational technology is a topic which changes as rapidly as the tech it covers, so there's a good chance that this textbook will need revision. Will the next graduate seminar take up the task of updating this textbook?
I think this might be a good example of why websites are sometimes better ways to publish content than ebooks. It's far easier to revise a webpage than it is to republish an ebook. There's no need to get Apple's approval, and what's more you can have an even larger group of collaborators.
There are a lot of nonfiction topics where a website is simply the better venue. For example, a couple months back I got into hermit crabs. As a first step, I looked for books and ebooks so i could learn how to care for them. Most of the content had been published 20, 30, or even years ago. A lot of the instructions in the older books are now considered by experts to be wrong and often times harmful. How do I know? Because I asked the experts on various websites.
I might be ahead of the curve on this, but publishing a book about a topic shouldn't have the same cachet that it used to. There are topics which change too fast. A web presence with established credibility should count for something, IMO.