eBooks about inventions

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In collaboration with the science teacher Steve Younger, we conducted a short research unit on inventions. We wanted the kids to do basic research, but mainly wanted them to think about inventions and create a digital book. Research was only in the forms of dates, names, and cultural background. The main idea we tried to get across is that these inventions were made all around the world and changed lives all around the world. We tied it to the study of culture.

All the documents for the unit are here. If you scroll to the bottom of the page. You will find the task, the rubric, and the graphic organizer.

The kickoff was a period for them to use the app called Pettson’s inventions. They LOVED it!

Pettson’s Inventions: a wonderful free app

Kid-made ebooks at PS347
Kid-made ebooks at PS347

Concluding the unit, the kids shared their books (I synched them all so now we have a bookshelf on the iPad for inventions!) and we had a discussion about ebooks vs. print books.

Here are some of their profound observations:

1. Do you like reading ebooks or print books? Why?

Ruby: I like reading print books because they are easy to read. You don’t have to touch the screen. When you read a print book, you can just turn the page.

Pa Raiyon: I like reading ebooks because you don’t have to pick up the ipad you can just look down and swipe and go pick another book. You can just take the ipad out and read another book.

Roberto: On the iPad I like ebooks bc you can just make your own books on it. You can read everybody’s books and new books. And different collections like ASL.

Brittany: I like ebooks bc it is much easier to do it. Sometimes you don’t need to hold it.

2. What is the difference between ebooks and print books?

Brandon: The difference between the print and ebooks is because the ebooks are on the ipad and the print are alive in your hand.

Fendie: The difference between print and ebooks is the ebooks you can just use your fingers and in a print book you have to use your whole hand.

Jada: The difference between and ebooks and a regular book, when you are reading a print book you are not the person who wrote it, but an ebook you can write it and read it.

Pa Raiyon: The difference between ebooks and print books is well, you can on the print book you can take it out of the library and just read it. But on the ebooks you can sign it or say it while you are reading it and you can make your own video.

3. Do you like making ebooks or print books? Why?

Haneef: I like making ebooks because on an ipad you can make your own pictures and words and you can make your own fiction or nonfiction books and ebooks.

Shylene: I like print books because you get to draw and you get to do art.

Skye: I like making print books better because on the ipad people can mess up very easily and on paper it doesn’t make a huge line.

Eliza Jane: I like making ebooks because I get to draw alot and I love to draw.

Roberto: I like making ebooks because people can see it on the ipad. You can go on iBooks and they can see it.

Collettte I Like ebooks better because you can just like make your own story. You don’t have to think a long time and spend time writing, writing, writing. I don’t like paper books because you have to go out and get material for it. It is a lot of waste of time. But with ebooks just get the app.

Jada: I like ebooks better because it is easier when you writing sometimes when you erase it can get a hole on it and when you rewrite it, it is very dark and sloppy

Then I asked them what else they would like to create. This is their response. They clearly want to create the media they consume. We need to help them do that.

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Creating and sharing ebooks on iTunes

Tomorrow I am presenting at the Exploratorium for the NYCDOE School Library Services’ Spring conference.

I have learned so much more about iBooks Author since I wrote up the conference materials that I thought I would do an update here.

iBooks Author is very robust. It requires you to design in portrait and landscape. Portrait is meant for a reader-like experience, which is not the best way to read a picture book. I am torn whether or not to have the pictures “inline” with the text and thus appear. If iTunes Connect does not approve my book, the next step is to take the pictures out of portrait view.

My first error was that I had a stray text box in portrait view. I highly recommend the ebook “Publishing with iBooks Author” published at the awesome O’Reilly Press. I easily downloaded it to my iPad and it helped me a lot. The only question it did not address was how to create thumbnails of the videos in portrait. That is my goal. There is not a lot of support available out there since iBooks Author is so new.

But if you want to share ebooks on the iPad environment, start with Book Creator for iPad for audio books, and Scribble Press for handmade digital books. They are super easy to use and a lot of fun for kids.