iPad Mini Big Deal For Education In America

Oct 25, 2012 by


Dallas Publisher of Books for the iPad Says Advancements For Books Are The Most Significant Since Gutenberg Invented The Printing Press

DALLAS—Apple’s announcement of the iPad Mini, and updates for iBooks 3 and the software used to create multi-touch, interactive books in iBooks Author exclusively for the iPad, are as significant as Gutenberg’s development of the printing press and will continue to change the way children of all ages learn around the world, Dallas Publisher Donald Claxton said Thursday on Dallas talk radio station KLIF.

Donald Claxton speaks with KLIF Morning Show personalities Amy Chodroff & Dave Williams about books made for the iPad and iPad Mini. (Photo By Chandler Claxton).

Claxton, whose company has published a 179-page interactive book about the ancient Maya with a San Diego Mayan scholar, and is completing a children’s book entitled, There’s A Zombie In My Treehouse, by authors Ken Plume and John Robinson of Atlanta, said the updates are real game changers as Apple pursues a strategy to get iPad technology into more and more classrooms worldwide.

As important, the books made for this advancing platform are being developed in DFW by his company, which includes noted authors, editors, graphic artists and 3-D animators.

“With iBooks Author, which was released in late January, Apple has been able to change the way books are made—with the inclusion of hours of video, 3-D animations, interactive graphs, charts and drawings, in-chapter quizzes and more—we’ve even argued that the word ‘book’ is no longer applicable,” Claxton said. “But with Tuesday’s developments, they’ve made changes to books as significant as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press itself.”

With iBooks 3, users now have Social Media tools built into every book. A reader can highlight a portion of text and then instantly share it via Twitter, Facebook, Mail and Messages.

“If you’re a student and you come to a portion where you’re confused or you want to ask a question, it’s now as simple as highlighting text in the book and then in a few clicks sharing your question via a Social Media thread,” Claxton said. “This is going to be significant as classrooms across America continue to introduce this technology and capabilities to their students. It is fundamentally going to change the process of learning. Imagine if you were reading a chapter, didn’t understand something, and fired off an email to the author or your teacher asking them to explain it further. That’s now a reality. The hypothetical no longer exists.”

Claxton also said that Apple’s strategy to introduce the iPad Mini wasn’t as much about being able to compete with Kindles and Nooks, but rather about being able to get more and more technology into cash-strapped school districts around the country and expand the reach of digital textbooks.

Apple noted Tuesday at 80 percent of all high school curriculums in American now are available in a digital format.

“Here in Dallas, Claxton Creative is leading the way in the development of these books. We are in the middle of a significant revolution in the way people learn,” Claxton said.  “The software to make all this possible wasn’t even available until late January 2012. We are just in the beginning of this process and it’s going to be huge, particularly for school districts.”

Claxton, who served as the former communications director for Dallas ISD from 2001 until 2006, said a few months ago he had discussions with a former DISD superintendent about the costs of deploying iPadsto all students in Texas public schools from grades 3-12.

During the Tuesday announcement of the iPad Mini, Apple quoted former DISD Assistant Superintendent, and now Superintendent of McAllen ISD.

“To deploy iPads for thousands of public school students at a cost of $499 each was staggering. With the reduced costs for the iPad Mini, which starts at $329, that $170 multiplied by thousands of Texas schoolchildren can be a game changer,” Claxton said. “That means that last week, with a million dollars, a school district could buy 2,000 iPads. This week, that means they can buy 3,00 and that’s why the iPad Mini announcement wasn’t as much about doing battle with Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung and Barnes & Noble. It was about being able to put this product into the hands of schoolchildren for significantly less money and at a savings to taxpayers in the long run through reduced costs in the purchase of traditional textbooks.”

According to Apple, 91 percent of all tablet searches on the Internet are doing on an iPad. Apple also said that two weeks ago, they sold the 100 millionth iPad.

Claxton said his company has been consulting with other developers on iPad technology where students are required to demonstrate proficiency in a subject before being able to move on to the next level. “Imagine learning at your own pace and being able to show conclusively you’ve learned the material before being allowed to move to the next section. Again, this is no longer a hypothetical. It’s a reality.”

Books for the iPad, like the 2012 meme book Claxton developed with Dr. Mark Van Stone of Southwestern College in San Diego, 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya, which is available on the iBookstore, offer readers the ability to learn with greater visual aids and interactive materials.

“It’s like going to a museum and being encouraged to touch everything,” Claxton said. “With the ancient Rio Azul Masks made by the Maya more than 1,000 years ago, Claxton Creative produced 3-D replicas that are as good as it would be to hold the real thing. That’s what sets these books apart from the rest, and again, we’re only in the infancy of this new technology. Just wait a few years.”

Dr. Van Stone’s book produced by Claxton Creative, can be purchased in 32 countries worldwide: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Demonstrations of many of the new developments are available on ClaxtonCreative.com.

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.

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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iBooks 3, iBooks Author Now Include A Social Media Component

Oct 24, 2012 by

iBooks 3 and iBooks Author produced books now include a social media component! You can make a note in the book and then share it with anyone in the world.

Little noted yesterday during the Apple announcement was one of the biggest things that’s happened in books since Gutenberg–iBooks 3 books for the iPad now have social connectivity in them–meaning, you can share a section of a book with a friend via Facebook, Email, Twitter and Messages.

Think about what that now means? 

Say you’re studying in a book and you hit a part that confuses you.  But you’re reading in a remote location, with WiFi or 4G service though, and you can share a note with a friend about that part of the book you’re reading and say, “Hey, isn’t this Rio Azul Mask in Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya just wickedly cool as a 3-D animation?”

Well, that’s now available in books for the iPad.  And it is going to further revolutionize how books are made and used and learned with throughout the world.

At Claxton Creative, LLC, in Dallas, we are building these books.  If you have a manuscript ready for conversion to the iPad as a multi-touch, interactive book, we want to talk to you today.

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iBooks Author 2.0 Automatically Converts .MOV Files, Saving A Trip To Compressor

Oct 24, 2012 by

I discovered it by accident this morning–I accidentally grabbed a .mov file to put into There’s A Zombie In My Treehouse and dropped it into iBooks Author 2.0 and discovered it now converts .mov files to the .m4v format without me having to do anything more than drag and drop onto the target page I want it to go in the book.

It still took about 20-30 seconds for a very short video to compress, but this really could save a lot of time if you’ve discovered the initial drag and drop into Compressor didn’t work and you are in a hurry to get things added to the book.

Thanks, Apple. This was a nice surprise and really made things easier.

Now if I could figure out the part of attaching audio to an image…..

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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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Making A Book For The iPad Using iBooks Author Widgets

Aug 9, 2012 by

iBooks Author Widgets are what make books for the iPad stand out above those made for the Kindle and the Nook.

One of the coolest aspects about iBooks Author—probably the point that actually gives it the most opportunity and life—are widgets. There are seven primary widgets that come built in the program. We will talk about each of them and some options for making the pieces that go in each category in today’s post.

Gallery—The gallery widget in iBooks Author is for posting multiple photos. When you add photos, the gallery stores each of them in one interactive box and when you tap on the box, it pops open. One also can scroll through the photos loaded in the built-in option and see them without going full screen.  (In a minute you’ll read about iBook-Widgets.com from Belgium. Their developer, Niels, added an additional feature we’ve used in 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya, where one can also embed a hot spot and even a picture-in-picture feature in a gallery.  Both have their places. We even used Niels’ gallery to create an interactive chart of the different periods of Maya history. Very cool.

ReviewThe product comes with a built-in review function.  We’ve not really had the chance to explore it, but know that there are also third-party widgets that offer a wider variety of options in this area.

Interactive Image—This option allows one to place a photo in iBooks Author and then set a zoom with a blow up bubble that offers cutline/caption content about what one is viewing. This can be a great tool if say you were doing an iBook on the recent Mars landing “crime scene” as they’re nicknaming the photo. You could start with the wide image, but if you wanted to see more of curiosity, you can set it to zoom into that area of the picture, see caption information and then zoom back out and then over to the parachute, for instance. Very cool feature.

HTML—This is the tool to help plug in third-party widgets into you iBook. Whether it’s an image coming in from Tumult’s Hype,
iBook-Widgets.com or ClassWidgets.com, this is where they go to get placed within your iBook.

Media—This is the widget that allows one to add videos. There’s a whole post coming on what all that entails, but suffice it to say, this is what allows one to embed them into an iBook.

Keynote—We’ve not used this function yet, but know it’s there. Keynote projects can be added to an iBook, though we also know if we were to do some things in Keynote, we’d also use the .mov export, which would require some additional steps that will be mentioned in the upcoming video post in this series.

3-D—If you want people to stand around with your iBook and just keep rubbing their fingers over the screen in a trance-like state, here’s the widget for you.  More is coming in a separate post tomorrow on 3-D images and the tools to make them happen. You CANNOT use these and put them in a Nook or a Kindle, and it is in this regard, that an iBook blows anything in the ePub or print format away.  In the 2012 iBook we’re including four 3-D images. More about that tomorrow….

Third-Party Widget Vendors

Separate posts will be coming on each of these three vendors.  Each has done some really amazing things to prepare the technology that can be used in iBooks and they each really deserve their own mention.

Tumult’s HypeThis creates animations that are good for iBooks and HTML 5. We’ve even perfected a process to embed audio into iBooks and will be using it on some amazing children’s books that are just around the corner.  Hype only works on a Mac, but then, so does iBooks Author. It’s about $50 to buy a full license for the program, but they do give you 30 days by the calendar to decide if you want to invest. Their customer service is very good and their support forums are very helpful.  We’ve enjoyed interactions with them and they have even thanked us for the video demo on how to add audio to an iBook.

ClassWidgets.comThis was the first site recommended to us for use of timeline imagery.  We used it to create a slider widget for the 2012 iBook that features the different languages spoken in ancient Mesoamerica.  We also used it to take what took two print pages in a traditional textbook and turn it into a 1/2 of a page image that blows up and shows some 20 different frames and images that could not have been done in a book.  They also have some new things in the works. You’ll want to put this site in your bookmarks.

iBook-Widgets.comWe signed up for this site before it launched and formed a relationship with Niels, the site’s creator.  What a cool guy in the heart of Belgium.  He also has developed a slider timeline, which works just as well or better than the ClassWidgets.com slider. He’s also perfected that gallery widget with PIP that we mentioned above. He also has, like ClassWidgets.com, a widget to embed YouTube.com videos in an iBook, and created the coolest widget I’ve seen yet on doing algebraic math formulas and being able to see the plots change in real time on the iPad.

The widgets creation field is only going to expand as the adoption of iBooks expands.  We’ve already got some great tools to work with and the promise that they’re going to get even better over time.  We’ve had numerous discussions with Niels about things he’s working on and he keeps telling us they’re already on the list.  A great and exciting place in which to be…..

Coming Monday, Aug. 13, 3-D.

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Making A ‘Book’ With iBooks Author

Aug 6, 2012 by

Making a “book” with iBooks Author is not like anything you’ve ever done before.  We promise.

Apple did a fantastic thing in January when it released its iBooks Author software to the world. The software makes it possible to include audio, video, text, 3-D animations, interactive widgets, graphs, quizzes and HTML links all in a “book,” that Apple has heavily trademarked and called an “iBook.” 

It is important to distinguish here that an iBook made for the iPad can not be opened on a Kindle or a Nook.  You can’t even read one on a desktop of a Mac.  It’s a product for the iPad only.  (We’ve even argued that the word “Book” should be dropped from the description of what this is….)

Numerous times since January, this writer has had conversations with people who heard me talking about an iBook for the iPad, but they really had no idea what I was talking about.  Many still, even in August 2012, are confusing the iBook for an e-Pub book they’ve read on their Kindle or Nook.  Talk about frustrating.

Turning the Page

But it’s when you open a 3-D image of say, the Rio Azul mask in the soon-to-be-released 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya by scholar Dr. Mark Van Stone and you put the iPad in front of them that eyes pop. And then they touch their fingers to the iPad screen and begin to spin it around in a trance. The next reaction is, “WOW! My Kindle/Nook can’t do this.”  EXACTLY!  And then there is no going back….

The iBook is soon-to-be-released by Apple.

Today at ClaxtonCreative.com we begin a new series on iBooks Author.

At present, we have finished one book and are in final edits and approvals, ready to send it to Apple for their blessings and entry into the iTunes iBookstore. We have three other children’s books in the hopper and are looking to do other projects. Ultimately, we want to produce the series of books that started this whole pursuit via our sister project and website, TheWondersExpedition.com.

With the release of iBooks Author, yes, a lay person can make one of these books. But a word of caution.

We just invested seven months of seven-days-a-week work to discover the processes for how to make these technological wonders. Many of us have been given uplifting (sarcasm) advice to go get “real jobs,” to “take a salary,” etc., all the while knowing that what we are doing has never been done before and because of that, we can make a difference.

The iBook Challenge

There have been hours of frustration.  Hours of staring at settings in applications, cursing them, talking to them and begging them to work.

There have been hours listening to audio files and trying to remove sounds that we wish we hadn’t recorded (the convention center manager in Memphis will always remain one of our least favorite people on the planet.)

We’ve done editing on hours and hours of video clips.  Endured kernel crashes from computer software that the manufacturer says we’re causing because we’ve pushed their premium technology further than it may be ready or capable of going.

There have been days of going to bed puzzled. And days of not going to bed at all because we wanted to find a workable solution to a vexing problem and refused to let technology get the best of us.  This writer can think of at least three occasions where unraveling a particular issue took 36 hours here, 52 hours there, and another 16 hours there.

If you have this kind of a drive, this series is for you.  (If you’re interested in us doing it all for you, give us a call today at 972-863-8784.  We’d be happy to have your business.)

The iBook Information Sharing Strategy & Budding Community

We share this information willingly, though some might say we’re giving away trade secrets. Share with us something that’s not a secret because of the Internet…. When we have shared, we’ve found wonderful people around the world who have shared something mutual in return.  And we’re building a vast community of people like us; people who want to use this technology to change the world and make learning something along the lines of a discovery, not rote memorization.

We are on the verge of greatness with this new product.

Tomorrow we begin with the first step—exploring and explaining the software product, iBooks Author. The rest of the series will break down the aspects of an iBook—Photo & Images, Audio, Video, Widgets, 3-D animations, Text programs, and just as important as all the rest, where does one store all this information.  We invite you back to sample a little of each part and even more so, encourage you to share your stories or struggles. Through it all, we all will make better products for our growing number of readers.

It’s going to be an exciting series.


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