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Things to do
- GIYF:"open source ebook creator"
- Apple's iBooks Author
- Where the heck can you read an iBook? - iTunes (Win, OSX); iBooks as a separate app? iPhone?
E.O. Wilson's Book
- There is a significant difference in layout depending on the orientation of the iPad:
- The horizontal orientation has a layout that prominently features the images and video, and sliding a finger across changes the entire frame, like turning a page in a book.
- The vertical orientation places visual emphasis on the text, and the images are small thumbnails that must be clicked on to be viewed properly. Also it has a scrolling rather than a page turning effect.
- This difference might allow users to interact with the book in the way that they prefer -- some might want fewer visual distractions, while others might find large blocks of text boring.
- Menu in horizontal orientation lets you choose pages by topical section or by a thumbnail image of the page.
- I like the combination of text and audio-visual stuff. I think that this book fails to take full advantage of the possibilities such a combination offers. I know that I learn material most effectively when it is repeated to me through several mediums -- for example, I read information in a textbook, hear a lecture about it in class, and then discuss questions with a professor or fellow students. The videos in this textbook could potentially repeat more of the information given in the text, and also provide much more visual explanation of the concepts. Having Wilson talk is nice, but SHOWING the information with infographics would be another useful way of repeating the information.
- There is one fairly successful interactive that explains DNA levels of organization. It makes fullest use of the possibilities offered by the touch screen of any of the media in the book. Cool!!
- I also like the places where there are photo galleries instead of single photos. I think this enriches the viewing experience. There are a few places where a gallery sort of makes use of what Tufte talks about as "small multiples." That is, having a bunch of pictures in the same spot allows you to make comparisons between them easily and learn through difference. (Although it's not exactly like Tufte's examples.)
- It would be nice if it was possible to make notes on the videos and images the same way it is possible to do so on the text portions.
- Section 1 of Chapter 2: there is a video called "what is an ecosystem?" that I found somewhat painful to watch. They've superimposed graphics over the image, in a way that is cool in theory but unsuccessful in this instance of practice.
- In a lot of textbooks, the end of each section has a summary and a set of review questions to help the reader test their comprehension. I often skip the questions because I hate flipping to the back of the book to check the answers. What about including interactive quizes at the ends of the sections in an etextbook like this one? Maybe multiple choice or short answer questions that could be easily determined right or wrong. The correct anwsers would be right there with no annoying flipping around of pages.
- I had a thought: In Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities, he talks about how the rise and spread of print capitalism, and particularly the rise of the novel, effected the way people think about time. We consider time to be a single, all-encompassing unit through which individuals move and during which events take place. A narrative has a beginning, middle, and end as we turn the pages. I wonder how electronic textual media might reshape our perceptions of time as it changes the ways we can interact with text, information, and narratives.
Experimenting with Visualizations
Map of the United States with Movie Screens per 10,000 people by state