Using the “Bible” as the Ultimate Electronic Textbook Template

Photo Credit: Americo Nunes

I recently got a second generation iPod Touch. While reloading my content and adding a few new apps, I found a new Bible app that interested me. It requires the Internet, but it still is really awesome. You might wonder why I am blogging this on an educational blog. Well, it is because the textbook companies can take some cues from this handy little app. The features are very useful in studying this content, so I know it would benefit students in the classroom.

Some of the cool features I have found in it are:

Text Highlight – Once you find a passage you like, if you hold your fingertip on the passage for a second or so, a box pops up. It gives you several options:

  • Email to a Friend or Self – type in the address and it sends it
  • Bookmark Verse – just like it says, it bookmarks it
  • View Contribution – shows additional information one might find useful to aid in the understanding

Search – Full search of the text; the results are short links with summaries.

Daily Read – This is a daily devotional.

Languages – MANY, MANY languages. For English readers, there are nine translations of the Bible; but you will find 16 other languages with multiple translations available for the reader. This is so useful for our classrooms today. Imagine all of these translations in one easy to switch format. Two finger taps and you can go from any language to one of fifteen additional languages. Our ESL teachers would love it.

Table of Contents – It’s easy to search by Book and then Chapter. It’s even separated into the major sections of the Bible (books of Law, Books of History, Books of Poetry, etc).

Photo Credit: Me

Cool features it could use to be a functional eTextbook:

Daily Read – Turn the daily devotional into daily tips/hints based on the topic currently being studied. Even short Pop Quizzes would be cool.

Portable – It is a must that it be designed with the portable technologies in mind (ie. iPod Touch, iPhone, Smart Phones, PDA’s, Flash Drive).

Read
– It should read the text to you. This would help in many situations with students (hearing impaired, ADD/ADHD, dyslexic, etc). Since the Gen 2 Touch has a small speaker built-in, this would be nice.

Graphics
– The Bible app does not have any, but it is an easy add-on for the programmers.

Video
– Take advantage of the video abilities of the Touch with informational and tutorial videos.

Hyperlinks
– Since Safari is built-in to the Touch, as is wireless, this is a no-brainer. Link to outside reliable sources. If the URL’s go dead over time, no biggie. Apps can be updated easily anytime via iTunes. Heck, iTunes even tells you if there is an update available.

Zoom
– Take advantage of the touch screen for the visually impaired.

Print
– Allow it to wirelessly print important information. One thought here is that the ability to email the important information allows this as well, just with a few more steps.

Quizzes
– Practices quizzes would be a really cool addition.

Tests
– Links to secure, online, graded tests would be a nice add-on for the teacher. Short answer, multiple choice, and matching are good options.

What else am I missing? What do you think should be a part of real electronic textbooks? Consider all of your needs as an educator and the needs of your diverse student population.

6 thoughts on “Using the “Bible” as the Ultimate Electronic Textbook Template

  1. That’s a great point. The versions listed for this Bible app are online as well. If you email the passage to someone, it links out to their site with the passage as well as the before and after passages.

    If they could make it downloadable as a PDF by chapter or concept, that would be cool, too. Then it could be loaded to a flash drive or printable for tutorials.

    Thanks for the input.

  2. I have several free versions of the Bible downloaded on my laptop. The actual ASCII text is only 1.2 million bytes or so. There are good sites online for reading or even listening. The Bible is available in dozens (perhaps hundred) of languages online.

  3. Thanks, Brent. That proves my point even more. The options are pretty limitless as to the functionality for all of our students with electronic textbooks formatted similar to the one I mentioned. The best thing about it for me as an educator is that the changes that will be made to the textbooks are immediate for all of the students. If they have the file loaded to an iPod or similar, once they update, they get the newest textbook. No ridiculous wait time between updates, and the textbook companies can still re-submit on an adoption cycle if the state prefers it.

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. Some teachers are finding in many subjects the textbooks are outdated too soon and too costly and heavy. Students and teachers are making their own online textbooks via wikis and other collaborative tools.

  5. Pingback: Textbooks, Technology, and Funding Revisited | A Piece of My Mind

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