‘Exciting Learning: Using Technology to Improve Education’ – a new, free publication

Exciting Learning: Using Technology to Improve Education‘ is a great new publication written by Ollie Bray ( and on Twitter @olliebray) in conjunction with the Microsoft UK Education Team. Ollie says: “It’s not about the technology, it’s about good learning and teaching. Our challenge is to think about what makes a good lesson and then think about how you can augment and enhance the experience with technology.”

Get the free eBook by clicking here.

The Interactive Space Book

This free Interactive Space Book for iPad is available in the iBookstore. Alongside text there are photos, videos and sounds from the first explorations into space up to the present day – and beyond! The interactive content makes it accessible for many learners and could be incorporated into many different lessons. Chapters include Studying Space, Discovering our Solar System, Space Missions, Living in Space and The Future.

Designed to be read on the iPad but also able to be projected for whole classes or groups of students using the iPad VGA adaptor with a projector. This is also an example of a book created using iBooks Author. The author compiled it and posted it to the iBookstore to be available for free. We can all now become published authors using iBooks Author. Click here to find out more about iBooks Author.

iBooks Author – Book Publishing App for Mac

iBooks Author is an App for the Mac that allows you to create wonderful multi-touch books for the iPad. Alongside text you can include galleries, video, sound, 3D objects and other interactive elements that will bring your book to life. Many teachers, students (and publishers) are now creating and sharing books and textbooks using iBooks Author. The Digital Learning Team have created a few books using iBooks Author and can report that it was very easy to do! Click here to see our post on a book created using iBooks Author.

Once you have created your book it can be synced to be read on your iPad, emailed to students and opened in iBooks, posted online to be downloaded by those browsing on a device that can read iBooks or even submitted to the iBookstore. Books can also be exported in pdf and plain text format.

Accessibility features such as VoiceOver technology and descriptions for movies and audio are built in to iBooks Author.

Click here to view iBooks Author in the App Store (Macs running Lion only – see note below)

N.B. This App is only available for Macs running OS 10.7.2 (Lion) or later. If you have bought a Mac for school in the last year which is not connected to the BT Network and is running Lion, or you have a Mac at home running Lion you can install this app. Macs connected to the BT Network in Edinburgh running OS 10.4, 10.5 or 10.6 will not be able to install iBooks Author. However – after the ICT refresh has been completed, any Mac that you have upgraded to Lion will be able to run this app. Look out for iBooks Author training opportunities for 2012/13 in the CPD Directory

Creating Books on the iPad

Two apps to help create your own books:

Book Creator for iPad (£2.99) allows you to create books right on the iPad – add text, images and sound to create amazing books and export them directly to iBooks. Create personalised stories using pictures stored in your camera roll, add text and also music or narration (ability to add video coming soon). Click here to find out more.

Creative Book Builder for iPad and iPod Touch/iPhone (£2.49) is similar to Book Creator but allows for more complex features. The user interface is also slightly different in that you have to preview your book to see how it’s shaping up, but when you export to iBooks your book has full functionality including text size, dictionary and notes. Click here for to find out more.