I’m quite enthused by Apple’s announcements yesterday about iBooks Author software (free, Mac-only) as well as iBooks2 (free) for iPad. James O’Hagan is spot on in his post for EdReach yesterday, “The New iBooks Release Means . . .” iBooks Author software will make it even easier for teachers as well as students to create and publish enhanced/multimedia eBooks, and “constructively disrupt” the traditional textbook publishing cycle. I published a 99¢, 65 minute video podcast in December 2011 about creating multimedia eBooks using Apple Pages software. iBooks Author will make that process even easier with built-in templates. The included glossary tool looks like a fantastic addition. I’m considering writing an updated / 2.0 version of “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing” in summer 2012, and I may opt to write it in iBooks Author. I’m sure the next edition of “Playing with Media” will include even more than the 17 videos included in version 1.0.

If you haven’t already, definitely check out Apple’s official 7 minute, 20 second video overview of iBooks Author. I think this was shared yesterday during the official event in NYC. As you’d expect from Apple, it’s highly polished and impressive. It even features an educational leader / rock star I know, Chris Lehmann: the principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia! Chris is the co-author of “What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media” (2011) and the Co-Chair of the EduCon conference coming up next weekend.

Make no mistake: I love Apple’s products and have been transformed in my professional career as an educator not only through the use of those products, but even more through opportunities Apple has directly provided to me to be influenced by other passionate educators. I AM very excited and positive about this week’s announcement about iBooks Author.

However, as we see corporate advertising messages like the video I’ve linked above, let’s keep a critically important thing in mind: TEACHERS make the biggest difference.

Yes our students need access to digital devices.

Sarah using an iPad teleprompter app

But TEACHERS make the difference.

Yes our schools need robust, smart networks with great connectivity to a world of content and a world of connections.

'Cabling' photo (c) 2006, Sergio Russo - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

But TEACHERS make the difference.

Yes, we need to shift from “adopt on a 5 year cycle,” heavy and unsearchable paper-based textbooks and embrace dynamic, searchable etexts.

A heavy book!

But TEACHERS make the difference.

'Ade_  290' photo (c) 2005, marco antonio torres - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

We’re in the midst of some huge changes in our society as well as our schools. There are lots of opportunities we have amidst many challenges. As we face these disruptive changes together, let’s keep one thing crystal clear in all our minds.

Good TEACHERS make the biggest difference.

Karon Fitzgerald, Sarah and Shelly Fryer

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Did you know Wes has published 9 eBooks, and 1 of them is available free? Check them out!

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If you're trying to listen to a podcast episode and it's not working, check this status page. (Wes is migrating his podcasts to Amazon S3 for hosting.) Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum."

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