Japantown History Awarded “Best Textbook” & “Best Widget”

» 08 October 2015 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Publishing » 1 Comment

Cover-Portlands Japantown RevealedI’m pleased to announce that my iBook Portland's Japantown Revealed was just named “Best Textbook”  at the international iBooks Author Conference. "The iBAs" are the only peer-nominated, peer-voted awards for best-in-class achievement with Apple's iBooks Author. I was honored to be a finalist in six categories - #humblebrag.

More on the iBook | Download free at iTunes

The iBook is a collection of historic documents, photographs and video interviews with former Japantown residents that tell the story of Portland’s “Nihonmachi” (Japantown) - a once vibrant community that disappeared with the forced removal and incarceration of its citizens. It's the fourth title in my Homefront USA series of iBooks. 

The “iBA's Best Widget of the Year” award was given to my iBook’s “Portland Revealed” widgets that allow the reader to blend historic and contemporary photographs. I created them by seeking out locations of historic photographs where the architecture had been preserved and re-photographing the contemporary setting. The resulting overlay lets the user “paint” the historic figures into modern settings - it's demonstrated in this video.

My iBook has a companion iOS app - Japantown PDX / Free at iTunes 
Explore Portland Oregon’s historic Japantown with this user-friendly walking tour. The city’s vibrant pre WWII Japanese American community is archived in over 125 photographs and audio clips. Watch historic Japantown street life reappear in “then and now” photographic dissolves. Share content with built in Facebook and Twitter buttons. This GPS-enabled app guides you through Portland’s eight block Japantown, a bustling community in the early decades of the twentieth century - better known today as the colorful Old Town / Chinatown neighborhood.

Many thanks to Portland's Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center and the Densho Digital Archive for project support and access to their archival collections. The iBook is an outgrowth of a project that teamed my University of Portland edMethods students with the Nikkei Legacy Center.

Tags: , , , , , ,

The World Is My Audience: Using iBooks Author and Book Creator to Change Student Writing

» 12 March 2015 » In Guest post, Literacy, Publishing, Reflection, Students » 4 Comments


Guest post from teacher Jon Smith details the story of his student-written iBooks. Jon and his students have published 44 iBooks that have been downloaded over 32,000 times from iTunes bookstores across the world.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

How to Add Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Images to iBooks Author

» 05 September 2013 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, How To, Publishing » 5 Comments


Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files are very small files can be scaled up to yield large images without the distorting “jaggies.” Here’s a quick how-to that will allow you import SVG images into iBooks Author. Use the same process to import SVG files into Apple Keynote, Numbers and Pages. Download a free demo sample iBook.

Tags: , , , ,

How to Use iAD to Create an External Video Widget for iBA

» 06 August 2013 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, How To, Publishing » No Comments


iBooks can be enriched by videos, but they quickly expand the file size of your iBook. Here’s an easy-to-follow video tutorial that shows you how to use iAd Producer to create visually appealing widgets that allow you to link to external videos outside your iBook project. Keep the file size of your iBook manageable. No coding required.

Tags: , , , , , ,

How To Fake a Hyperlink Text Pop-Over in iBooks Author

» 14 July 2013 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, How To, Publishing » 6 Comments


The Pop-Over widget is new in iBA 2 and provides a custom image that acts as a trigger to display a scrolling region similar to the Scrolling Sidebar. The Pop-Over may also contain text and graphics. Here’s a how-to design a hack that does the opposite – a text trigger that display an image.

Tags: , , , , ,

Use Haiku Deck to Build Academic Vocabulary

» 22 May 2013 » In Ed Tech, How To, Literacy, Visualizations » 4 Comments


Haiku Deck is a free, student-friendly tool for teaching common core vocabulary standards with motivation and creativity. Good defining skills are rooted in collaborative negotiation of meaning rather than memorizing glossaries and testing via two-column matching questions. The genius behind Haiku Deck is its simplicity – just type in text and use its built in search tools for related terms and images. With minimal design choices, student can focus on visualizing vocabulary and sharing their thinking with peers.

Tags: , , , , ,

Digital History Workshop – Tech Meets Critical Thinking

» 24 March 2013 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, How To, PD, Presentations, Publishing, Web 2.0 » No Comments

Digital historian-featured

Our goal was a practical hands-on workshop that fused technology, critical thinking, and strategies for students to be the “historian in the classroom.” We were focused on ways to use iPads for content creation, feedback and reflection. Plus we showcased a variety of other critical thinking digital tools for the classroom – iBooks Author, Haiku Deck, Evernote, nGram Viewer and GapMinder.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Haiku Deck – Free Presentation App for iPad

» 13 March 2013 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Visualizations » 2 Comments


I’m prepping for an “iPad in the Classroom” workshop and I thought I’d try Haiku Deck – a free presentation app for the iPad. It’s an impressive and easy to use tool for creating a knock-out presentation on the iPad – a great way for teachers and students to quickly share their ideas with the classroom and the digital world beyond. Here’s a deck I created in a few minutes.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Master Common Core Skills with Free DBQ iBook

» 05 March 2013 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Literacy, Publishing, Strategies » 2 Comments


My latest multi-touch iBook “Progress and Poverty in Industrial America,” is now available for your iPad – FREE at iTunes. Critical thinking questions based on Common Core skills help students “think and write like a historian.” It’s a great resource for use in the classroom, and serves as a model for teacher or student curation of historic content into interactive digital DBQ’s.

This 18-page iPad DBQ guides students through the historian’s process. “Stop and think” prompts encourage a deep reading of many notables of the Gilded Age – including Russell Conwell, Henry George, Andrew Carnegie and Stephen Crane. Visual source material includes posters, 1908 Sears Catalogue, a gallery of photographs by Lewis Hine and video of one of Edison’s early Vitascope films.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Textbooks With iBooks Author

» 22 January 2013 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, How To, Leadership, Publishing, Teachers » 2 Comments

screenshot featured

Two years ago, three junior high teachers were thinking about how to better motivate their social studies students. They decided one way to get kids more excited about learning was to get rid of their traditional textbooks. Here’s a guest post on how these teachers teamed with their school and district leadership to create their own textbook.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,