E-readers have taken the traditional book and, well, displayed them. The computing power in the reader is used only to display, and the discussion is about how good this display is.
The new i-Pad and i-Phone/Touch App from Al Gore "Our Choice" seeks to put across the Global Warming arguments in an interesting and captivating way. Rodale, Melcher Media and Push Pop Press are credited with creating the App. It is certainly captivating and teaches powerfully.
Navigation through the book is done in the i-Pad way - sliding pages across with one finger, pinching out to expand photographs or videos, pinching in to put them away on the page, or simply touching to expand.
The photography is stunning, sharp and clear in the i-Pad display. The audio is sometimes out of sync with the video and clipped at the beginning of a piece. Is this just a problem with the original digital film editing or is it an inherent i-Pad problem?
Besides the navigation interactivity, it has a nice feature involving the built-in microphone - blowing into it generates wind power and thus electricity in one of the embedded objects.
On pages showing a photograph with an audio commentary, there is a circular audio guage which shows how much time is left - a useful feature.
Verdict? Excellent as a learning tool, captivating and engaging. This has to be the way that text books go in the future, with embedded learning objects.
Mike Matas talking about this book on TED: