iBooks 2's Huge Potential for Med Students, Educators

Tom Lewis

With the textbooks on the new iBooks 2 medical educators can create books personalized to their own courses. And the updated iTunes U has the potential to become a hub for students to learn interactively.

This article was originally published by iMedicalApps.

Apple has announced an update to iBooks entitled iBooks 2 for the iPad. As we originally suspected in our first and second articles, Apple, working in partnership with Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has decided to enter the interactive textbook market creating titles that will take advantage of the following features.

Interactive graphics and built-in videos

New iBooks will be able to take full advantage of the multitouch interface and integrate a whole range of media and features such as embedded graphics, 3D models, multiple choice quizzes, annotation features and more. Other interactive features include a whole range of annotation options such as highlighting and additional notes.

Thumbnail navigation

This would allow users to navigate the contents page using a visible interface rather than words

This feature is similar to the current iBook’s dictionary, allowing access to each textbook’s custom glossary by highlighting words.

One highly interactive feature that is sure to be of use to many students is the new quizzes and review feature. These quizzes are integrated into each book allowing students to test themselves in order to consolidate their knowledge.

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This is one area that will really impact upon medical students and medical educators. The new study cards feature will allow users to create their own personalized flashcards based on content in the textbook. With the new iBooks 2 textbooks, anything that is highlighted will automatically generate a study card to be used later. Essentially, anything annotated becomes a card for reference and self-quizzing.

Custom glossary Quizzes and review questionstudy cardsAt the moment there are only eight textbooks available although this is sure to increase rapidly. Interestingly these textbooks are large in terms of size and will easily take up at least 1GB each. The price of these books is capped at $14.99 or less which would significantly undercut many of the mainstream medical texts available today. This would obviously have ramifications for medical publishers all over the world.

In order to create these textbooks, Apple has also announced iBooks Author, an app with a WYSIWYG interface based on the iWork applications. Authors can customize their books with HTML5 or JavaScript, and the application provides live previews so that authors can see what the final result will be before publishing. This will enable medical educators to create textbooks personalized to their own courses. And thanks to a new update, educators can integrate with iTunes U to create complete medical courses complete with all the information needed onto a device as big as a notebook (the iPad).

iTunes U, previously a source of educational podcasts, has undergone a complete update and been given its own app that students can now use to download full courses.

This iPad app allows students to view and navigate through a course overview and outline using a simple interface whilst professors and educators can customize their course offerings. Lecturers can ‘push’ notes to students’ iPads and create assignments through the app whilst the lectures themselves can be streamed to iPads or downloaded later.

iTunes U promises to offer a complete range of interactive content including a range of media such as audio, videos, course notes and even other apps. This suggests that iTunes U could become a hub for students to engage and learn interactively — something certain to catch the eyes of advanced medical educators.

Apple Textbooks

This is an exciting announcement for medical educators who can look to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this announcement and improve student engagement.