Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Science 2.0: March 2014, Using Web Tools to Support Learning

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Science 2.0: March 2014, Using Web Tools to Support Learning

Article excerpt

Textbooks 2.0

Nothing short of a revolution is sweeping the world of science textbooks. With the recent release of NSTA's Enhanced E-books available through Apple's iBooks interface, student learning has turned the corner from static to dynamic.

The anticipated evolution of instructional technology often follows a predictable path described by a model developed by educational consultant Ruben Puentedura. The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition mod-el (SAMR) offers a way to anticipate how a technology might affect teaching and learning.

The first two steps, substitution and augmentation, out-line the movement from using a technology to do what we already do with traditional methods to using the technology to increase efficiency, availability, or opportunities involving a conventional teaching practice.

The third step-modification-defines an entry point into teaching and learning activities that are essentially im-possible without the technology. The final step of redefinition is a complete "technofication" of a lesson, in which the technology has no traditional analog, and the lesson is not bound by typical limitations.

Variations of digital textbooks range from digital documents that differ little from their printed brethren to text enriched with images, video, audio, interactive quizzes, 3D models, point-and-click glossaries, and embedded external links. Something often overlooked with all digital books is that they are weightless. Of course they need a powered de-vice to view them, but the number and size of digital text-books is a question of memory capacity rather than physical size and mass.

In August 2013, NSTA released a trio of electronic science books on Apple's iBooks platform: Interdependence of Life; Earth, Sun, and Moon; and Nature of Light; in November came a fourth enhanced e-book, titled Solar System; Heredity and Variation and Chemical Reactions followed in December.

Although there are several other popular electronic book (e-book) or digital book (dbook) formats, iBooks offers some unique advantages. On the development side, a program called iBooks Author is used to build a multi-touch book. iBooks Author has the simplicity of a conventional word processor and the power of a drag-and-drop desktop publishing system (Brunsell and Horejsi 2012). …

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