Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Didn't use iBooks Author to Create my Interactive Digital Textbook

After months of hard work, blood, sweat and tears (well, not all of those), I have finally submitted a new interactive digital textbook for publication. I didn't use the popular iBooks Author by Apple to create this digital textbook.

Right now you are thinking, "but wait, iBooks Author is made by Apple, and Apple is cool, right?" Apple is cool, but Apple is not multiplatform, and this makes all the difference in my world. My textbook is on educational technology, and when it is ready, I intend for it to be read by my own university students (and students at other universities) on any device. I want all of the interactive elements to function on a Windows laptop, Android-based mobile device, Apple computer, Linux desktop, and yes, an iPad. How many of these devices would work with a textbook developed using iBooks Author? Only the iPad (and no, not the Apple computer).

When I started out writing my textbook, I looked into many different platforms for publishing an interactive digital textbook. I looked into iBooks Author, but I realized that anything I created with iBooks Author would only work on the iPad. It was simply not going to work for me to ask all of my students to buy iPads when some had Android tablets, Windows computers, Apple computers, etc. already. Ethically, I couldn't justify requiring students to buy a certain type of device in order to succeed in class.

So I looked a bit deeper into the options for publishing interactive digital textbooks and found only a few alternatives that were truly multiplatform and interactive, one of which was Inkling Habitat. Habitat offers a multiplatform experience so that students on Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, and whatever else can access and interact with my digital textbook. When my textbook comes out, it will be available on whatever device through Habitat.

Because Habitat has worked well for me, I am presenting a workshop at this year's AECT International convention on how to create your own interactive digital textbook and I already have a good number of people enrolled. I am looking forward to the experience! Check out Habitat at And get ready for the first ever multiplatform interactive digital textbook on Educational Technology for Teachers, coming soon!

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