iBooks for Education: Not Quite Cutting Edge...

My newest client, a small digital publishing company in Massachusetts, has hired me to recommend changes to a web-based Personal Finance curriculum to make the interactivity compatible with the iBook authoring system.  Naturally, much of the animation and some of the interactivity is Flash-based, and iPads don't play well with Flash - which means almost everything written for the Web must now be reconceived.

The multi-touch table is now standard museum fare
I'd be a lot happier about the iPad revolution if I saw real creativity in the authoring widgets.  Perhaps I'm jaded, coming as I do from a museum background.  In the science museum world, touchscreen interactivity has been a standard fixture for nearly 20 years.  Interactive, video based teaching games have been around for even longer.  So the "opportunity" to create picture galleries, multiple choice quizzes and drag and drop interactives doesn't really wow me. Nor do "tap to see the video" screens.

I do understand that iBooks and iPads are here to stay... and that touchscreens, once "future tech," are fast becoming standard classroom and business equipment.  But with so much wonderful potential for interactivity, it seems a shame to stick to the oldest, most well-worn options.

Maybe Apple could take a peek at some of the apps that are available to educators who USE the iPad, and rediscover some awesome opportunities for creativity...  Apps that encourage participation in learning... apps that combine audio recording with video, images, animated drawing and text...  apps that truly make full use of the amazing potential of the iPad tool!