Sunday, 5 February 2012

Session 8 1st February 2012

 Tonight’s NIedchat was a topical one with the announcement by Apple the previous week  that they were ‘giving away’ the authoring software ‘iBook Author’ which enables Mac users to create interactive textbooks and make them available for students with iPads to download via iTunes.

The interactive textbooks allow students give students the ability to create notes on pages, highlight text, watch embedded video and manipulate 3D images and they can also keep a track of their progress via in-build tests.

You can see a demo of the interactive textbook by visiting the link below (via @dmurray742)

I terms of the possibilities I was generally thought that the development was to be welcomed. @dmurray742 described Apple’s announcement as
 “the most disruptive thing in education in the last 400 years” 
the adjective ‘disruptive’ being used in it’s most positive interpretation.

A number of the participants were concerned about how ready teachers were to embrace this change and the question was asked about how would teacher’s find the time to create interactive textbooks. A number of the languages teachers who took part remarked that as they produce most of their resources already then this would not be a problem. What also emerged was that interactive textbooks can be updated and that these updates will sync with the student’s iPad meaning that the books could be written during the duration of the course; the modern equivalent of being one page ahead of them!

The next issue was cost. This is possibly not the domain of teacher’s however some were worried that access to this technology would be costly and that in may cases this cost could not be met by parents. 

A general discussion then ensued on the use of other devices in the classroom including mobile phones. The new IT contract ENNI came in for some praise as it intends to open up access to student owned devices and this was largely welcomed with the usual worries around responsible use. A topic for another day maybe.

A very productive meeting and it was clear that those present welcomed the possibilities that new technologies offer to education and that they would like to see some investment into this area in their own schools and in the eduction sector in general. 

Tweet of the Week goes to @AnGaeilgeoir1 who reminds us that technology is only a tool which requires a skilled user if it's to be effective:

"iPads and iTextbooks aren't the answer on its own. Knowing when and how to use them is more important."

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