Just in time for our unit on the environment, comes a brilliant offering from the oft-monotone Al Gore. He of the eye opening documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ brings to the table an interactive book entitled Our Choice. For $5.99, it’s a no-brainer. Add to that it’s compatibility with iPhone and it’s even more valuable.
There are a couple of things I really like with this offering; firstly I like the production values in an app like this. Publishers need to take note – this is how you put together a book/app. I’ve nothing against ebooks, I’m quite a fan actually, but for a non-fiction title, this hits the nail on the head. The photos within the book spring to like and using the pinch and zoom process you can get a good look at the stunning photography. Not to forget about all of the other interactives within the book, like video, interactive graphs etc. that add another dimension to the reading experience.
The book itself is probably a little too wordy for the average primary student. Reading it from start to finish would be a pointless exercise. I teach grade six students (11-12 year olds) and all but one or two of them would have this text fly over their heads. That doesn’t mean it can’t be used in class. Just like any old fashioned text book, students should have the capacity to flick through it and pick and choose what is appropriate for their learning. We use an inquiry approach to learning and this has been added to our list of resources, if it matches what the students are learning, they’ll be advised to go and check it out. With assistance from a competent adult, the text can be broken down fairly easily.
The app itself is really easy to navigate. The learning curve should be zero for anyone who has ever picked up an iOS device. The pages within the chapter sit at the bottom of the screen, you pinch or tap to bring the page to full screen and pinch to send it back again.
So I’m recommending this app on a few levels – one, it’s a good resource to have for your classroom when covering this topic, two, it’s a worthwhile read before starting an environment-based unit so you’re up to speed with current environment topics and three, so you’re aware of how a good interactive book can function.
Our Choice ($5.99)