Awaiting The iPad Mini

Oct 23, 2012 by

Here are some things we hope happen with the iPad“Mini” announcement today and why we think this is so important:

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Apple also will release a new version of iBooks Author to help make more books for the iPad and the smaller version, though we suspect that the resolution matter will be more of a one-size fits all aspect, updates to iBooks Author, to add new bells and whistles, new layout options and the ability to add social components to these books, would be a great addition.

We think that the release of the iPad “Mini” (we don’t know yet what Apple is going to call it) will help significantly advance the potential for schools to purchase the units and get the advanced form of books that we’re making at Claxton Creative into the hands of more students of all ages.  With a lower price point, the threshold for financially strapped public school districts across the world to introduce these units to their classrooms, and then buy electronic textbooks will save lots of money in the long run.

Those two aspects alone make the potential for today’s announcement very, very exciting.

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Apple iPad Mini Big Deal For Educational Publishers

Oct 18, 2012 by

As a publisher of multi-touch books for the iPad, the prospective release next week of the Apple iPad Mini is a big deal; particularly for those of us who see the potential for this incredible technology having a positive impact on education in America and around the world.  The iPad Mini, as it’s being unofficially called until it’s supposed announcement by Apple on Oct. 23, has the potential to expand the market reach into the educational arena.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

And while some pundits are seeing this as a move by Apple to take on Amazon and it’s line of Kindles, such a viewpoint is really missing the bigger picture.

Essentially, this is a very strategic move to change how students of all ages learn around the world by making the platform to do it much more affordable. And while this may give Amazon a run, what it’s really going to do is make it easier to bring this technology to classrooms, which is where it trumps all the capabilities of the Kindle, Nook, Surface and  traditional textbook, and so much more.

The iPad Mini–The MacBook of iPads

Making the iPad Mini is much akin to Apple’s strategy for it’s laptop computers. There’s the MacBook and then there’s the newer, sleaker, faster, MacBook Pro, which constantly is updated, has the top of the line features and is the thing that everyone wants. The MacBook Pro has the retina screen. It has the fastest processors. It’s the newest technology packed into a laptop made by Apple and is supported by a HUGE R&D budget.

The MacBook is basically the technology of a few years ago wrapped in what used to be a white case. It’s not pushed for the latest developments. In a way, you could say it’s technology that’s already been amortized. In other words, it doesn’t cost a lot to produce this version of the product. All the R&D already has been spent on it (when it was in a MacBook Pro a few years before) and because there is no need to spend lots of resources keeping it up-to-date, it’s cheaper to produce and then sell at an ever increasing margin because it costs less and less by the day to manufacture and support it.

Without having seen an iPad Mini, it is assumed this is the same strategy that will be used to develop an iPad Mini. Already rumors abound that support this premise. The rumor mill has clearly been saying that the iPad Mini isn’t going to have a retina screen like the version 3 iPads that came out earlier this year. The screen will be smaller. The processors likely are going to be iPad 2ish in speed because that’s probably what’s going to make up the guts of the unit.

And because of all this, Apple is going to be able to sell them for a price point that starts lower than the iPad generation 3.  In other words, it is believed, and makes perfect sense, that the iPad Mini is about to become the MacBook of iPads.


This is what is going to cause a boom in the field of educational technology. An old boss of mine and I were talking in June about what it would take to supply the 4 million public school students grades 3-12 in Texas with an iPad. At the $499 price point in a time of budget woes and the refusal to raise taxes of any form in Texas, that made the price tag almost seem ominous. And for the installation of an iPad into a public school classroom, a school district also has had to consider almost as much in costs for the infrastructure necessary to help them all talk to the Internet. That’s a steep price tag.

But what if the price of the units all of a sudden were significantly less and instead of running iPad 3 technology, there was a smaller unit available using a “MacBook” level of technology?

What if there was the iPad Mini?

This is how Apple makes it easier to expand the number of books, like the ones Claxton Creative, LLC makes with iBooks Author, into classrooms worldwide and do so at a much more cost-efficient rate for strapped school districts, while at the same time, making technology that isn’t available on the Kindle, Nook and one assumes, Microsoft Surface, available for broader use.

This means students will be able to use books that have 3-D images, muti-touch drawings and photos, hours of video files of real-life instructors teaching, in-chapter quizzes, etc., in short, things the competitive products CANNOT do, and they will be able to do it on a unit that doesn’t cost as much to produce, and doesn’t cost as much for school districts and parents to buy.

This means the opportunity exists to change how students learn because books made for the iPad also have the ability to ensure that a student has demonstrated proficiency in an area before being allowed to advance to a new area.  In a traditional school today, the idea is that a student’s knowledge base expands throughout the year and they learn a core competency and then move on to the next one. But what if that core isn’t really learned and understood by every student in the class? Does a teacher wait for those lagging behind to catch up and not keep advancing?

With the technology of the iPad, a student can be compelled to demonstrate their competency and understanding of a concept before being allowed to advance, thereby ensuring that learning has taken place. This can be done at a student’s own pace.  Remember, they can’t go on to the next thing until they’ve shown the iPad, and the teacher, they’re ready.  Now which system would you rather have your children learning with?


So when you hear the pundits write/talk the next week or so about how this is a move to take on Amazon, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble in the sale of units, it’s only part of the picture.  Apple is after the education market where its competitors simply cannot play, and to us, that’s the most exciting thing about the iPad Mini.






MacBook v MacBook Pro


Reduced Cost to Increase Role in Education


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The Motel 6 Maya Calendar Commercial–Funny

Oct 8, 2012 by

The Motel 6 Maya calendar commercial presently running on radio across America is the latest mention of the ancient Maya calendar, and we have to admit, it’s pretty funny. If you’ve not heard it, here’s a transcript.  The YouTube video of it is below.

“Hi, Tom Bodett trying to make sense of this Mayan calendar. It seems to end Dec. 21st, 2012. That’s, unsettling. Oh well. Still plenty of time this year to stay at Motel Six and get a clean comfortable room for the lowest price of any national chain.  And we’re still taking reservations for after Dec. 21.  All due respect to the Mayans.  Sorry, King K’inich Ahkal Mo’ Nahb. Nothing but love for ya.  I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6 and we’ll leave the light on for ya.”

Of course, the Maya don’t predict the end of the world.  They made some predictions, but certainly not along the lines of what the Doom & Gloom crowd are sharing.  Kudos to Motel 6 for making light of it.  Now if they’d just leave an iPad with Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya exclusive book for the iPad next to the Gideon Bible we think they might have something!




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Paper Highlights Tech Aspects Of New Book For The iPad, Maya 2012 Predictions

Sep 30, 2012 by

Newspaper’s Descriptions Of iPad Book Made With iBooks Author Helps Showcase 3-D Animations, Interactive Maps, Video Of 15 Maya Scholars In A New Way

PALM COAST, FLThe Palm Coast Observer Saturday published a story about Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya edition for the iPad and it’s “limitless purposes” for getting kids of all ages more interested in learning about history, and what the ancient Maya did and didn’t predict for Dec. 21, 2012, in less than 82 days.

Written by Megan Hoye, the news report from Palm Coast, which is south of Jacksonville and just north of Daytona Beach, describes the unique layout of the book, which was built using Apple’s iBooks Author software as something that can “bring humanity to history.”

“With its small blocks of text on each page and its abundance of interactive features, the e-book is meant to be less daunting than a thick textbook full of dry language and condensed facts,” Hoye wrote. “It’s also meant to provide a more enjoyable way for people—students especially—to learn about Mayan culture.”

Noting the 53 videos of 15 Maya scholars that include almost 130 minutes of HD video and the 200 interactive photos, drawings and graphics, Hoye wrote, “It also features many “scrubbers”—interactive pieces that allow users to manipulate an image.”

Hoye explains the uniqueness of the book by describing how users can learn more about ancient Maya glyphs, or writings.

“In one chapter, a page features a photo of an artifact with glyphs on it. With the swipe of a finger, the artifact dissolves into a computer-generated overlay that allows the glyphs to be clearly examined,” Hoye wrote.

Highlighting a 20-panel interactive map that would take multiple pages to replicate in a traditional book, Hoye featured the “Cities of the Ancient Civilizations of Central America,” map that takes readers from the cities of San Lorenzo and La Venta in 1500 BC to the breadth of Aztec world in 1521 AD.

“Using the same technology … users can slide their hand along the map to watch boundaries, names and cities change,” Hoye wrote.

Hoye says the clear highlight of the book is the 3-D imagery of the Rio Azul Masks from 400 AD, a replica of the Aztec Calendar Stone, which often is confused as the “Mayan Calendar,” and one of the famous Sarcophagus Lid of Lord Pakal, the one Erich Von Däniken and other ancient astronaut theorists say is a representation of a Maya leader in an ancient alien capsule.

“Rather than just showing a photo of an artifact, the book generates a virtual copy of it in three dimensions, which can be spun and enlarged for thorough examination,” Hoye wrote. Quoting Dr. Van Stone she wrote, “’You can’t handle objects, but you can handle virtual objects,’ Van Stone said. ‘My hope is it will make kids more excited to learn this history.’”

Concluding, Hoye quoted Dr. Van Stone saying, “Everyone hates history because it’s dusty and old, right? But when you touch it, when you come in contact with the people who lived somewhere, that’s what humanizes history and makes it worth studying.”

In his book, now available on the iBookstore in a format exclusive to the iPad® at, Dr. Van Stone addresses all the actual Maya predictions made for Dec. 21. It is the best tool to counter the exponentially-expanding fantasies of pseudo-scientists, dreamers, hallucinators and snake-oil salesmen looking to capitalize on the “end” of the Maya Calendar on Dec. 21 or 23, 2012.

The original article is located at

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a Dallas-based full-service public relations firm focused on the development of interactive, multi-touch publications for mobile devices worldwide. The company was founded by former Dallas ISD communications director, Donald J. Claxton and is supported with the assistance of Fort Worth Author Ron Rose, Dallas Author Allen Manning, Birmingham, AL editor Larisa Lovelady, Ally Stephenson of Huntsville, AL, and others.

Dr. Mark Van Stone

With degrees in physics and art history, Professor Mark Van Stone is an expert calligrapher, netsuke-carver, and scholar of world paleography and hieroglyphic writing.  He has worked as a musician, disk jockey, interviewer, laboratory technician, animator, type designer, author, lecturer, and archaeological illustrator. His beautifully-illustrated books on Maya hieroglyphs and culture bridge scholarly and popular genres. This Renaissance man is a gifted and entertaining lecturer, ably explicating arcane subjects for a wide audience. His new interactive book for the iPad, 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya, sets a new standard for popular cultural and science education.

Apple, the Apple logo, iBooks, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store and iBookstore are service marks of Apple Inc.


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Dr. Mark Van Stone To Be In Palm Coast, FL at 6th Annual Maya At The Playa

Sep 24, 2012 by

Renowned Maya Scholar Dr. Mark Van Stone will be in Palm Coast from Wednesday to Saturday of this week for the 6th annual Maya at the Playa conference.  He’s presently talking to news organizations around the country about tips parents can follow to talk to their kids about the rising hype associated with the end of the Maya calendar on Dec. 21, 2012. 

  • There are 86 days remaining before the end of the Maya Calendar, Dec. 21, 2012.
  • There are more than 3,200 publications on the Maya prophecies, but only FOUR have been written by actual Maya scholars
  • Dr. Mark Van Stone of San Diego, one of the four scholars, is providing parents & teachers with information about how to debunk the hype that’s building
  • Dr. Van Stone will be in Palm Coast Wednesday-Saturday of this week
  • Dr. Van Stone has released a cool, interactive book for the iPad and its the only book like it in the world

WHO:  Maya scholar, Dr. Mark Van Stone of Southwestern College in San Diego, will be at the 6th Annual Maya at the Playa Conference in Palm Coast Wed-Saturday. Dr. Van Stone has recently released the only book for the iPad that has 3-D animations, 53 videos of 15 scholars, and 200-plus interactive photos, drawings, glyphs that can be used to debunk the ridiculous predictions that have been cast upon the Maya, such as the alignment of the planets, reversal of the poles, even predictions for a utopian bliss out.

WHAT:  Dr. Van Stone is available for interviews to talk about how parents can talk to kids about debunking the wild predictions and setting a factual record about what the Maya said, using a highly entertaining, interactive book for the iPad–the only one like it available in the world.

WHEN: Wednesday-Saturday of this week in Palm Coast, FL

HOW: Dr. Van Stone, working with Claxton Creative of Dallas, has developed a 179-page interactive book for the iPad that features all the information a thinking person could want to help scientifically discuss what the Maya predicted.

MORE INFORMATION: Dr. Van Stone’s book, 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya, can be found on the iBookstore at:



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How to Talk to Your Children About the 2012 Prophecy

Sep 18, 2012 by


San Diego’s Dr. Mark Van Stone Says Lots Of Speculative Predictions Have Been Cast Upon The Maya, But They Do Not Include Current World Events, Nor Facts

SAN DIEGO—With 92 days remaining before the oft predicted “end of the world” based on the anticipated “turning over” of the Maya calendar, Southwestern College Professor Dr. Mark Van Stone Tuesday offered suggestions and resources for parents who have children and teens asking questions about the growing tensions in the world based on what they have seen or heard about the Maya and the 2012 prophecy associated with the Maya.

Dr. Van Stone’s new digital book for the iPad®, 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya, provides colorful, scientific and interactive answers about the Maya for kids of all ages, and it is a resource parents can rely on when children ask, “Is the world really coming to an end on Dec. 21, 2012 based on Maya predictions?”

Dr. Van Stone, recognized as one of only four scholars in the world to write a scholarly book on the Maya and their predictions for 2012, says knowledge of the ancient Mesoamerican civilization is limited, “but we know enough to say confidently they didn’t predict an end of the world in December of this year.”

He believes parents, grandparents and teachers have an obligation to assure youngsters that doomsday predictions have long been part of our culture, and as yet, none of them have come true. He also emphasizes that there are no written clues that were left by the Maya of an impending, immediate doom in the year 2012. In fact, according to his exhaustive work, the Maya actually predicted a long and stable future to at least 4772 AD—2,700 years from now.

“While archaeologists have dug up 1 percent of the Maya cities … there’s 99 percent of the information that’s still there available for us to find, and nothing has been found that spells the end for anyone in the next 90 or so days,” Dr. Van Stone says.

For this reason, Dr. Van Stone says there are many reasons to approach popular prophecies of the Maya critically. He also believes that many current world events, including the most recent protests in the Muslim world and last week’s eruption of the volcano in Guatemala are not evidence of fulfillment of Maya prophecy. Rather, these are merely coincidences—the kinds of events that will continue to happen in the 92 days remaining before the “end” of the Maya calendar.

“While junk scientists and new agers have made so many wild predictions about Dec. 21, 2012, that some of them are bound to happen, especially if these ‘predictions’ are non-specific, there is not a shred of evidence to support them,” Van Stone said. “Lots of potentially tragic events are going to happen between now and the end of December. Lots have happened every year and will continue to happen. As for that volcano right smack in the middle of Maya country: its eruption is indeed impressive. But there is a reason they call it ‘Volcano of Fire.’ It is always smoking and sputtering, and it often erupts violently. We don’t have a single Maya inscription about volcanoes. We don’t even have the glyphs for the words volcano, eruption or lava, because they apparently never mentioned them,” Dr. Van Stone said. 

Dr. Van Stone suggests parents with a child who is seeking answers to what they have seen on TV or read on the Internet be open and straightforward with them.

“This is a great teachable moment to talk about the fantastic history of the Maya and there are many scientific resources available, like my book for the iPad, that can help open a new world of learning for children of all ages,” Dr. Van Stone said. “My colleagues and I are celebrating this attention for the Maya because we know once children begin to study them, they only will want to learn more. We very well may have a great new number of Maya scholars in the next decade because of the wild predictions that have been made about this year.”

In his book, now available on the iBookstore in a format exclusive to the iPad®, Dr. Van Stone addresses all the actual Maya predictions made for Dec. 21. It can be used to help educate the public as more, and more shrill, “prophecies” come out of the woodwork as we approach the 5,125-year “end” of the Maya calendar-cycle.

This 179-page book has 3-D animations, interactive maps and drawings, beautiful photographs, and two hours of video illustrations. It is the best tool to counter the exponentially-expanding fantasies of pseudo-scientists, dreamers, hallucinators and snake-oil salesmen looking to capitalize on the “end” of the Maya Calendar on Dec. 21 or 23, 2012. Dr. Van Stone points out that more scholars correlate the “end of the Bak’tun” in the Maya Long Count Calendar to Dec. 23 or 24 than to the 21st.

With degrees in physics and art history, Dr. Van Stone is an expert calligrapher, netsuke-carver, artist, and scholar of ancient writing. The book can be purchased in English on the iBookstore®, in 32 countries, at

“This book expands the way an individual can learn on their own, at their own pace and to a level not previously possible,” said Dr. Van Stone.  “I am proud and delighted to be part of a team that has set a high standard for this new kind of educational tool.”

Dr. Van Stone also is offering classroom teachers wanting to do guest videoconferences about the Maya to schedule a time when he can join their students. (Interested teachers should call 972-863-8784 in Dallas to check on available times.)

This fascinating book discusses the 2012 “meme,” Maya culture, the workings of their calendar, mathematics, astronomy, world-view, creativity and their hieroglyphs. A section on deciphering their hieroglyphs introduces the reader to how we know what we know about the writings of this ancient and noble culture.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a Dallas-based full-service public relations firm focused on the development of interactive, multi-touch publications for mobile devices worldwide. The company was founded by former Dallas ISD communications director, Donald J. Claxton and is supported with the assistance of Fort Worth Author Ron Rose, Dallas Author Allen Manning, Birmingham, AL editor Larisa Lovelady, Ally Stephenson of Huntsville, AL, and others.

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