Local teachers use grant to write iBooks

ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Teachers at two West Michigan school districts are writing their own iBooks this year.

A $25,000 grant from the Holland Zeeland Community Foundation allowed both Holland Public Schools and Zeeland Public Schools to send their teachers back to class this summer, learning how to write their own iBooks for their classrooms.

The iBooks can be used without Wi-Fi and are available in several subjects. They’re free and offer everything from standard text to images and video to help further the lesson.

A couple of Zeeland PUblic School teachers who are launching their iBooks this school year say they looked at what worked and what didn’t for their students in old textbooks and tailored their lesson plans, making them more interactive than ever before.

“It is more engaging for the kids because they know it’s something I created and they’re literally hearing my voice on the pages because I’ve recorded each page as well so they can listen to it as they’re reading the content,” said Shawn Jacob, an English teacher at Zeeland East High School.

“It helps me be a better teacher as well,” said Debra Kemppainen, an art teacher at Zeeland West High School. “It’s something they’re going to be able to walk away with, so how do I make it better for them and then I can do other things in class.”

The teachers say the iBooks allow their students to work at their own pace, which gives them more time to work one-on-one with students who need help.

Textbooks haven’t completely been replaced at this point, but the teachers say unlike standard textbooks the iBooks can constantly be updated and include new content.

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