iBooks: Making a Valuable Classroom Technology with Multi-Touch Books

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Electronic books enhance the learning experience of students and offer more benefits over the expensive traditional textbooks. E-books enrich classroom experience by the embedded apps, games, web links, and multi-media. The uniqueness of e-books increases interactivity, keeps the students engaged, and enhance learning skills. 


Dr. Harika Rao is an Assistant Professor in the College of Business and Management, at Lynn University. Harika has been teaching for six years and specializes in Management and Leadership, Innovation, Information Systems Management, and E-commerce. Harika firmly believes that a teacher can make positive changes in the lives of hundreds of people by helping them realize their potential to become productive members of the society. My teaching philosophy has been that igniting ‘passionate curiosity’ in the minds of students is the key to sustained learning and putting learning on autopilot. She takes the students from ‘spoon-feeding’ to a higher level of ‘independent learning’ by making full use of ICT. As the adage goes: a good teacher explains the complexity and a great teacher reveals the simplicity. With her diverse background – both culturally (Asia, the Pacific and now the USA) and academically (Computer Science, Business Administration, and Educational Leadership), she fine-tunes her instructional methods to meet the diverse individual learning styles of students. Harika also serves as the faculty club advisor for Enactus, Alpha Phi Delta, and Hacking student club. Harika has published two multi-touch books, that are currently being used as textbooks for undergraduate courses and the third book is underway. She has presented in several conferences with research interests in acculturation, social impact, technology based education, and disruption. Awards: • Academic and Creative Excellence Award, 2019 • Best Paper Award, Academy of Business Research, 2018, 2017 • Apple certified teacher 2016, 2017 • FATE, Best Graduate Award, 2015

Extended Abstract

As technology continues to evolve at exponential rates, so does its impact on our lifestyles. Digital disruption is merciless and an integral part of education. Schools are investing more in technology, than before. The market for electronic books is gaining traction with an optimistic future, giving a tough competition to the traditional textbooks. Digital natives have made the digital citizenship a pivotal aspect of today’s education. Digitalization empowers students with tools to collaborate and engage in intellectual pursuits of the learning experience.  Lack of engagement is the primary reason for students not acquiring literacy, mathematics proficiency, and much needed problem-solving skills (Gould, 2002; Kanevsky & Keighley, 2003). 

The federal government, in collaboration with several tech organizations, released a 70-page guide for schools called the "Digital Textbook Playbook," a "roadmap for educators to accelerate the transition to digital textbooks." The percentage of K-12 classrooms with Internet access has increased from 51% in 1998 to 98% in 2012, and 40% of elementary school teachers use computers during in-class instruction. e-Books is a trend following suit with so many advantages (Sessoms, 2013). Interactive teaching and learning is key in a thriving and dynamic educational system. Students learn in different ways and it is important to be inclusive while being diverse in teaching through the use of digital tools. Digital books are an innovative method of publishing, focusing on advancing research while understanding the student body and complementing the mission of the educational institutions. 

Apple’s electronic books, popularly known as iBooks, are a great addition to education and complement interactivity in classrooms. The process of creating an iBook gives the authorsthe canvas to engage with the audience, expand the course learning through various case studies, quizzes, and elevate the learning outcomes through the interactivity, embedded in each chapter. 

iBooks allow the authors to tailor the content to suit the relevance, application and add significance to knowledge. With no under-estimation to traditional books and its value, iBooks have revolutionized the way students learn. A few of the advantages of digital books over traditional textbooks are, namely, (1) lower cost, (2) they are never out of stock, (3) have no shipping issues, (4) no storage problems, (5) weightless option and (6) facility to make annotations. 

Writing an iBook empowers the author with freedom and flexibility in design. As an author of two iBooks and a third one under way, I have observed various features that improve the learning experience: 

  • Scrolling box for case studies: Each chapter has a global case study on the topic related to the chapter  giving the students a macro-view.  As the target audience is a melting pot of various cultures, embedding case studies from a global perspective increases its relevance. 
  • Interactive image gallery: Interactive infographics or images attract the spatial learners. Each picture gives student the ability to think deep into the concept and connect to the terminology. 
  • Educational vocabulary crossword puzzle: At the end of each chapter is a vocabulary crossword puzzle. The interactive crossword puzzle is useful to process information, recollect and self-test the level of understanding of the topic.  
  • Closed caption videos: Videos are necessary to galvanize a traditional lecture. Students can steer away from the heavy reading material and watch the video to enhance insight.   
  • Add notes and highlight: iBook’s allow students to highlight a word (offers a pallet of colors) and add notes (that automatically saves) as the faculty is teaching in the class. This gives the student connectivity to the concept every time they read their notes.
  • Search for a term: Students can search for a word or term by simply using Command and F, instead of having to manually flip through all the pages in the book. 

Level of Participation: 

The session is structured as a discussion to share the best practices of using technology tools in higher education. Following the introduction, all attendees will get a brief introduction on the advantages of using an iBook. Towards the end of the session, attendees will be able to create a sample chapter on their devices. 

Session learning goals: 

All participants will be able to appreciate and acknowledge the value of digital books in higher education. This will also give them a platform to be creative in engaging students in a blended environment; and collaborate with different faculty members.