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ePUBs, dotEPUB and mobile learning

I am in love with iBooks. iBooks is Apple’s version of the Kindle or Nook. With the app, you can download books and mags allowing quick and easy access, anywhere / anytime.

And, yes, several weeks ago I wrote some disparaging remarks about digital media. I was in newspaper withdrawal and without a sports section, bitter and forced online for crosswords. A great print paper such as the New York Times or Washington Post still gets the nod over digital but I’m coming around on the book idea.

But it’s not published books that make iBooks such a great little app. What makes it great is that it allows teachers to begin creating their own teaching materials and getting them in the hands of their students in ways not available even a year ago.

Textbook publishers and school material companies have long controlled what we share with our kids. With iBooks, you can develop your own textbooks and materials, publish them in PDF or ePUB format, kids download the file onto their iBook app and, volia, anywhere/anytime learning. What I like about ePUB docs over PDFs is that you can highlight, type notes and leave bookmarks in an ePUB, making it better for studying and review.

Both Microsoft’s Word and Apple’s Pages now allow you to save documents in PDF and ePUB formats. Wikipedia has a cool Create a Book feature and there are awesome iDevice apps such as Book Creator that allow you and your kids to begin to develop your own mobile learning materials.

(Getting the files to your kids can happen in a couple of ways – upload the files to a website that kids access on their mobile devices. This could Facebook, Edmodo, a blog page or a site provided by your school. You can also simply email, text, or Skype the files to your kids.)

And I just ran across another cool way to create iBook viewable ePUB documents.

dotEPUB.

dotEPUB is a simple bookmarklet that pulls content from webpages and gives you a downloadable epub file. So now you can begin to incorporate online content into your growing library of personalized teaching content.

Head over to dotEPUBT to get the handy bookmarklet. To install, all you need to do is drag the logo to your bookmarks toolbar:

convert webpages to ebook

This handy tutorial should help:

There’s something called Immersive Mode that you can turn on or off before installing the bookmarklet. Immersive Mode is the default, and removes all links and images from an article being converted, so you can focus on the text and nothing else. I left my turned off, giving me the choice to include images if I wanted.

(Sorry Internet Explorer users, dotEPUB does not work with IE, so you you’ll need to upgrade to Chrome or Firefox to use dotEPUB.)

So you’ve found a useful site you want to convert. Check to see if the article is split into multiple pages. If so, use the site’s “print” function to see the entire article on one page. The rest is simple – click your newly installed  bookmarklet. You’ll be given a popup asking you to download the converted ePUB document.

You now have an epub file ready to share and are one step closer to mobile learning for your kids.

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