Why Interactive Ebooks Are Your Best Teaching Resource
Technology is continuously becoming more and more dependable in our day-to-day operations. Whether it’s in social life, work, research and so on, dependency on technology is certainly on the rise.
Take education, for instance. Whiteboards have evolved to SMART boards, homework is being assigned and collected through online platforms, and the once-banned smartphones and tablets are now encouraged to use in the classroom. Also, due to remote learning technologies and platforms, people can now access what they want to learn through a multitude of channels, whenever they want.
This presents numerous opportunities to both small and large educational publishers to create their own platforms aimed at supplying the rising demand for digital learning.
In today’s post, we’ll be discussing the ups and downs of ebook features; how they aid education efforts, as well as how they can be made more effective and their potential to distract learners from their goals.
Digital learning has many potentially wonderful tools, so where does the interactive ebook come into all this? Well, in a nutshell, an interactive ebook represents a file that is easily portable and shareable comprising text, animations, audio files, videos, games, quizzes, book widgets and more. All of this is stored in one document, easily accessible online or offline.
Ebooks have the potential to enhance how learners absorb their content due to the ebooks’ added features supporting higher interactivity and reach-ability. When comparing an interactive ebook to a traditional text book, one might feel like they’re comparing a modern state-of-the-art tablet to a CRT TV. One is “limitless” and allows you added interactions, not just within a single file or platform, but allows access to anything on the vast WWW. On the other hand, the CRT TV only allows you to access certain content that is heavily restricted by using increasingly obsolete delivery methods.
Also, even though maintaining a library of printed books is an attractive idea, we can much more effectively store a seemingly unlimited amount of resources on our mobile devices using software like Kotobee Library.
Interesting read: Engaging Elearning Tools in the Classroom
Does technology help learning?
Many researches argue that there hasn’t been any dramatic improvements in education as a result of educational technology, yet. But countless other studies continuously suggest new methods have the potential to create a learning advantage.
It looks, at this point, that educators are not using technology to the height of its capabilities. So far, there are halfhearted attempts and individually funded projects coupled with plenty of experimentation. But for us to see a dramatic leap, that would require the devotion of every element in the vertical channel, from creation to delivery.
On another front, gamification in learning seems to have the potential for extremely promising results. When learning is boring, students have a harder time retaining much of the subject matter. But when the material is delivered through an interactive platform that teaches through engagement, interaction, case studies and so on, the retention rate is much higher, as we’re able to test the knowledge in real-world applications.
This highlights a massive opportunity for big-time publishers to utilize gamification in their own publications. This has the potential to increase memorability, interaction and sentiment towards the material.
Interesting read: Why You Should Create a Mobile Learning Platform
Making technology effective
Technology must be used to augment and magnify the abilities of the educator, and not replace them. For this to be truly effective, the technology used must be delivering a solution to a problem that no other method has been able to successfully solve. It must also offer educators new methods to deliver highly engaging content to the learners.
Also, teachers need to be familiar with the technologies and tools available to them and must be able to tailor their courses to maximize the benefit gained from educational technology. Otherwise, it’s just a series of attempts to throw in a random SMART Board activity now and then or even misusing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) classes. Simply, an excuse to throw technology into an unneeded mix.
Portable devices like tablets and smartphones will become a bigger player in education. But while educational institutes and governments have a responsibility in encouraging this trend, educational publishers must also push the ceiling and produce more engaging platforms and products.
Also, while it’s easy to throw in a bunch of interactive elements into an ebook, creators must pay attention to the need for an immersive and smooth user experience. As in all books, the flow of the content or story is an essential factor for the success of the publication.
Interesting read: 5 Hacks for Creating a More Engaging Ebook
When you’re using ebooks as part of your teaching experience, there are some considerations that you need to take into account, as not all students need to be proficient in the use of technology. Particularly if we’re talking about younger students.
Familiarizing learners with the ebook reader
You must take into consideration that not all students are as tech-savvy as each other. There are several points you need to establish as a lower benchmark, which all students must understand. These include the following:
- How to operate the Ebook Reader and how to access the resources they’ll need.
- How to orient the screen, along with the basic differences between the different layout formats.
- How to interact with the reader; between highlighting, annotating, taking notes, navigation and aggregating annotations are some of the features all students must be familiar with.
Interesting read: Best Ebook Layout Format: Reflowable or Fixed?
So in addition to the features mentioned in the last section, concerning interacting with the text, there are also other features such as YouTube videos, games, quizzes as well as Google and Wikipedia look-ups.
The problem with overusing these features would be their potential for distracting the learner. When you embed a YouTube video, at the end, a list of recommended videos would appear, so it’s better to upload the video directly into the ebook when you can. This would increase the overall size of the ebook, but would also offer the added benefit of the video being available offline.
When using the Google and Wikipedia look-up feature in Kotobee Reader, learners may be attracted to open other tabs from within the text, which could lead them to shift their focus away from the topic at hand.
However, the most obvious threat to a learner’s focus is that the device used, whether it’s a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, is the potential to take their focus anywhere they wish. With an unlimited supply of time-wasting content and games, this is the real threat with device learning. Damn that level 349, I’ll never finish it!
While the textbook has worked so effectively for so long as the basic classroom learning resource, educational institutes and publishers have a true opportunity (that sooner or later someone will grab) to present highly immersive and engaging content that can help learners retain information through highly interactive practices.
Interactive ebooks are also a great learning tool for adults and young adults who wish to learn things like DIY home solutions, new languages, cooking, yoga and so on.
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