CACTES

Technology Integration for teachers

What are e-books part 3

This is the last part of my e-book series for teachers.

In this last part I want to talk about recent applications on the iPad for creating e-books.

The iPad is becoming more of a desktop and laptop replacement for most things. Creating and publishing e-books is one option. In our district we are seeing more campuses purchase iPads. This is due to several factors. They are easy to carry and hold. They offer an intuitive interface for students and offer a long battery life. Battery life has always been one of those things that limited the large-scale one to one use of computers. Many school building were built before the advent of massive computer technology. Many campuses had rooms with only one or two electrical outlets. Buildings with this configuration often could not support the power requirements for desktops or laptops. More often than not, you found that all this drain on electrical resources blew out fuses. iPads have a long battery life. Enough to power the drive through a typical days worth of instruction. Charging iPads requires 5 volts per iPad, compared to 12 volts for a laptop.

I have found three applications for the iPad that can produce e-books. They aren’t free but, very reasonably priced for what they can do. These applications are easy enough for most students at the elementary level to use. Two of these applications offer a very easy to use interface for the production of very basic e-books. One offers a few more features for the same price.
Book Creator starts off by giving you a choice of three different book sizes. Once you’ve selected a book size then you have basic tools where you can add images, text boxes and audio files. All your images and audio files have to be on your iPad before you can use them in your book. When adding audio you can access music from the iTunes library in your iPad or you can record audio right into your e-book page. An inspector box allows you to control some design aspects of your book. You can change the color of the pages, adjust font size, color, justification and styles. When your done creating your book it can be exported to iBooks or shared with others through e-mail, print, or by sending it to iTunes. You can save it to your computer if it’s to large for email.
Another e-book creator is eBook Magic. This application uses templates to get you started. You can select templates for images only, text only or images and text. Add as many pages as you like. Customize the page with an image or with one of sixty colors. Adjust the colors opacity for more variations in color. Change the vertical and horizontal page margins. Set all of your changes as the default for all future and current pages. In the book settings menu enter the title, select from one of twelve book sizes and display the printing guides for your book. This application provides more e-book options. You can prepare your book for both e-readers and print. The photo settings menu provides access to images on your iPad or from your iPad camera. In addition to these image sources, you can access images from eBookMagicApp.com, Facebook and Flickr.
The third option provides the greatest options and flexibility. It offers many of the same tools as the other two applications. This application takes the creation of e-books to the next level by providing options for chapters and sections. Creative Book Builder is for the advanced e-book user. With Creative Book Builder you have several options. You have the option to reorder or delete chapters. Import text from Google Docs or a drop box file. You can also import files that are already in the EPUB format. This means you can import your existing e-books. You can add a variety of media elements like images, video, recordings and music. These files can exist on the iPad or they can be imported from a Dropbox account. Copy and paste text from other sources. If you’re familiar with HTML then you can customize the text, images and layout. The text editor is very basic with a simple box and the options to bold, italicize and underline. You also have the option to enter a hyperlink. Link to a web page, email address, SMS, telephone, or a chapter in the current book. When your done, publish to Dropbox, Google Docs, a server or to Book Center.
All of these e-book creators and publishers are a great step forward. They all offer the basic functions needed to create any e-book in the EPUB format. They all have different target audiences. As a teacher I would recommend e-book Magic and Book Creator for elementary students. They are easy to use and very intuitive. Creative Book Builder can also be used in elementary but the advanced tools make it more useful to middle and high school students. Yes, teachers too.
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