Since the 16th century, knowledge has been recorded and distributed in printed textbooks.  While many textbook publishers have attempted to modernize the printed textbook and re-imagine it for the present digital age, their efforts to date have largely resulted in electronic clones of printed textbooks, which offer no real advantages; they remain mere static vehicles for mass consumption of information, offering little or no interactivity, or increased levels of user engagement.

“iPadded textbooks are still textbooks, but they’re personalized textbooks. They take advantage of the emotional connection people, and especially young people, feel to their devices. They encourage, rather than frown on, active note-taking. They demand, rather than curtail, exploration. They create a kind of kaleidoscopic experience: video, text, audio, all whirring and whirling into each other in a self-guided tour of history or chemistry or biology. They invite students to create learning environments that, though standardized on one level, are, on another, uniquely theirs. And that changes everything.”

The Atlantic, 2012

In January 2012, Apple Inc. introduced iBooks textbooks and iBooks Author software, to provide a new method of distributing and creating textbooks.  The following promotional video produced by Apple, provides a brief overview of the iBooks textbook platform.

Our ETEC 510 design group has examined the affordances of iBooks textbooks and provided some practical information on how to create content using iBooks Author.  The project is viewed with a constructivist lens and is intended as a primary resource for a secondary professional development workshop on the topic.

“Teacher-teacher interaction creates the opportunity to sustain teachers with professional development and support through supportive com-munities. These interactions encourage teachers to take advantage of knowledge growth and discovery, in their own subject area and within the scholarly community of teachers.”

Anderson, 2004

We encourage you to explore the theoretical frameworks supporting the project, download and interact with its many hands on resources and visit the collaborative wiki space to learn and reflect on the implications of the is exciting new approach to textbook creation and use.


Anderson, T. (2004). “Teaching in an Online Learning Context.” In: Anderson, T. & Elloumi, F. Theory and Practice of Online Learning. Athabasca University.

A brief history of textbooks, or, why apple’s ‘new textbook experience’ is actually revolutionary. (2012, 01 19). Retrieved from

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