Jordan Smith

Rhetoric and Professional Communication | Applied Linguistics and Technology

Creating an iBook for language learners

I’ve been designing books for a few years–ever since I took an intro to InDesign course as an undergraduate student. I was surprised how much I enjoyed that kind of work. I still look for opportunities to put my book-making skills to the test whenever I can. So being assigned to create an iBook for our final project in our 510 class was something I was really looking forward to.

I’ve never used iBooks before now, but I’ve found it to be really user-friendly. Though, I should qualify that a bit: coming from a program like InDesign makes some of the limitations of iBooks more pronounced. For instance, I’m surprised that I can’t include a guideline on a master page in iBooks and have it show up on the working pages. In our group’s iBook, we want to be sure that all the content appears on the same part of the screen, and the only way to do that effectively that I could find was to place a brightly-colored square on the master page to indicate where content should go with the plan to delete the square once we’ve got all our content placed.

Even though iBooks has its limitations, I’ve been impressed with how easy it is to use. We’ve been able to include a lot of functionality through its built-in widgets (like the assessment widgets) and through third-party widgets as well. Using Bookry’s library of widgets has been really easy, and it’s given us the option to do things in our iBook that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. For example, including areas where students can insert their own text is something that, as far as I can tell, is only an option in Bookry’s Form Builder widget.

We still have a bunch of work to do on the iBook, but it’s been a good experience so far. It’s been great to work with a group with so much expertise in langauge-learning pedagogy and design. I think we’ll end up with a book we’ll all be proud to show off.

2 Comments

  1. Jordan, I didn’t know that you have a background in design. I am really looking forward to watching your iBook! I totally agree with your comment that iBook is fascinating but not without limitations. What I liked about iBook though was a variety of widgets that can be added to increase the interactivity of the book. Interactivity which makes it distinguished from the paper-based book! We used the drag-and-drop widget for our iBook for the vocabulary practice and it was really worth time to make it. You should try it! 🙂

  2. Tyler

    November 30, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Thanks, Haeyun! I agree–the widgets in iBooks have been really great. Easy to work with too. I’m hoping the interactivity will help keep peoples’ interest in the book. 🙂

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