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Are Interactive Books in the Future of Learning?

Are Interactive Books in the Future of Learning?

As classrooms become digitalized, the Hechinger Report looks at the current place—and future—of "transmedia" books, or hybrid books that are meant to be both read and watched.

"Welcome to the Brave New World of reading, the clickable, interactive future of books. Just as digital technology is transforming our work, our social lives and our family ties, it’s transforming the slow, solitary act of reading. Think beyond paper vs. pixels—this cuts to the very core of what it means to read a book," the article said.

Many supporters of e-books think that they—when done right—could represent the future of reading in the classroom, though it won't be an easy feat.

"It took children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle six tries and three studios to get the iPad version of his Very Hungry Caterpillar right ...The app is wordless and the illustrations invite tiny touchscreen interactions that playfully move the story along," according to the article.

But according to some researchers, "interactive" does not always guarentee a better product.

Said Heather Schugar, a researcher at West Chester University to the Hechinger Report, “''Most of the features we’re seeing are more on the distracting end ... You’re making things wiggle and talk, but they’re not really supporting the text itself.' The Schugars’ research has found that students tend to spend more time reading enhanced books, but that they often comprehend less."

Children's author William Joyce and Moonbot Studios partner Brandon Oldenburg, however, told the Hechinger Report that based on their experience, with enough experimentation and dedication, a polished and useful interactive product can be created.

"Moonbot has ... created interactive versions of several Joyce titles, including an 'augmented reality' app called Imag-n-o-tron that requires users to have the paper book handy. 'That was sort of our response to the fear, love and hatred of what we were doing with digital picture books,' Oldenburg said. In 2012, Imag-n-o-tron led School Library Journal’s list of 'Top 10 Apps,'" the article said.

"Joyce said the best reason to turn a book into an app is to create 'a compelling experience' that the book can’t provide. 'This is going to happen, so what we have to do is figure out how it can be cool and how it can be an extension of the idea of a book.'"

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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