how I didn't see the iPad as a replacement to textbooks just yet. Inkling, a new iPad app, manages to be the first to convince this author that we may be closer than we think.
iBooks, one can tap the top or bottom to quickly scroll, and then slide up or down to "turn" the page. Although the iBooks method is more eye catching, Inkling's method seems more natural, so this bode well for the overall design of the app. A big concern when converting to e-books involves how to quickly jump to and from pages. Inkling has several built-in features that seem to address easy page turns. There's a "Jump to Page..." option where you can enter a page number. You can bookmark pages for quick reference, and Inkling includes a "spine" on the left side that lets you navigate within sub-chapters.
Zinio, though you can adjust the overall text size in Inkling. In the Biology sample that I downloaded, I was able to explore three-dimensional models of molecules and as a Chemistry teacher, I have to say that this was quite impressive.
So, what's missing? Well, in a word, content. Until textbook publishers agree to put popularly purchased books into a format accessible by an iPad or another e-reader, we'll have to just live with the available samples and continue to dream about what the future could bring. With Inkling, we now have an idea of what can be accomplished, a confirmation that reading textbooks on the iPad can be done well, and in the end, our students will benefit from the dramatic increase in features offered.
Inkling is available for free in the App Store.
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