/// A Textbook Case of iPad Fun With Studying
As a kid, I was lucky to have a dad who was a top-notch book-cover maker, wrapping my school textbooks in brown paper bags that he transformed into precisely folded, sharp cornered, blank canvases. But even Dad’s covers couldn’t fix everything: Some books showed their age with dog-eared pages, highlights, tears and leftover love notes. Plus, they weighed several pounds each, tugging down my JanSport backpack. [ See post to watch video ] This week, I tested a one-stop solution to much of that which ails textbooks: Apple’s iBooks 2. This redesigned iPad app offers enhanced educational textbooks that are, for now, focused on high-school students and cost no more than $15 each. Apple’s smallest and least expensive iPad can store roughly eight to 10 textbooks, along with other content. (High schoolers have an average of four textbooks a year, according to Apple.) The iPad itself weighs just over one pound. These electronic textbooks include interactive materials that seem like they should’ve been available long ago: multiple-choice questions that can be answered with taps on the screen, embedded videos, dynamic diagrams that change with touch gestures and flash cards for studying important terms in a book. The big catch is you need an iPad to read these textbooks, and schools or parents may have trouble budgeting for these devices. The least expensive iPad costs $499. Apple argues the low cost of books will offset the cost of the device. Currently about 1,000 of the iBooks 2 books, 11 of which are textbooks, have new enhancements such as video, dynamic diagrams and study flash cards. A pinch gesture will restore a zoomed-in image to its place in a book. Also, some people have trouble reading long passages on the iPad’s backlit screen, or find it uncomfortable to hold. In the sun, its reflective surface makes reading nearly impossible. Currently about 1,000 books, 11 of which are textbooks, have the new iBooks 2 features. These include titles from well-known publishers like Pearson Education, Dorling Kindersley and McGraw-Hill; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books are coming in time for the start of the next school year.
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A Textbook Case of iPad Fun With Studying