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iBooks Author: 5 ways to reduce paper in the classroom

Let’s face it, handouts are a time honored tradition that have been passed down from educator to educator for generations. The materials may have changed but not the process and surly not the form that the information takes. Let’s be honest, most materials that are passed out today still require vast amounts of printing and tons of paper.

So why is that the case? Because there hasn’t been an easy way to get content into an electronic form that educators can easily distribute to their students. Until now!

Image via Apple, Inc.

Image via Apple, Inc.

With iBooks Author educators can create digital content or iBooks, then distribute that content to each student electronically and drastically reduce the amount of paper in the classroom. Not to mention, potentially reducing the impact on the environment.

iBooks Author is Apple’s software that was released in January of 2012 for creating interactive textbooks and material for the iPad. It does require a Mac running Mac OS X Lion (OS X 10.7) operating system, but it’s free and very simple to use. It can be downloaded directly to your Mac from the Mac App Store onto your computer. The books can be read on any iOS device but will require iBooks to be installed on the device.

Here are 5 ways that you can use iBooks Author to create content that you can distribute to your students and reduce the amount of paper you use everyday.

Digital Syllabi. Using iBooks Author, you can drop any text or word processing file directly into the iBooks template and and it will automatically place the text into the file. This is a great way to not have to reinvent the wheel and will keep you from having to re-type the information into iBooks. You will then have the ability to edit and enhance the type any way you see fit. You can even make the information more dynamic by adding links that will automatically open the web browser and take them to the correct page.

External Reading Material. You can create your own external reading material by typing directly onto the page or attaching a web link and sending the reader straight to the web page for the material. It’s a great way  to attach multiple links to different pages for easy reading. All of this while staying on the iPad and not requiring them to use other devices.

Create a Review. iBooks Author is a great way to do quick checks by creating quick reviews for the students to use. The review can be a text file that you create or you can use the multiple choice widget that is provided in the application. All you do is drop the review widget onto the page and edit the information from the inspector. You can change the number of questions and have multiple images as part of the choices as well. Keep in mind that the widget does not have  a way to be taken back up and graded, but it’s a great way to check progress on a particular topic.

Create your own Textbook. While most faculty run at this suggestion, they are usually only thinking in terms of traditional textbooks. iBooks Author can create any interactive Textbook and those books can be as simple as 3 pages or as vast as 300 pages. Not to mention, you can create a textbook that has interactivity that will help your students stay engaged. Whether your creating a paper hand out or a full blown textbook, iBooks Author doesn’t care. It still acts the same.

Go Paperless. This is the best of reason of all. Not because it’s environmentally the right thing to do, that’s a good enough reason, but because all the updates to the iBooks can be pushed out to your students wirelessly. Every time you make an update, it automatically pushes a notification to your student and they can get the updated material. Magic! What a great way to update material and not have to reprint an entire book.

I think you can see that there are numerous was to use iBooks Author to reduce the amount of paper in the classroom. I hope that you will download the software and start creating your own interactive material soon. You’ll find it very easy to use and you’ll be on your way to creating engaging content in the classroom.

Have you tired iBook Author for creating interactive material?

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