Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The BioBook is an iPad and web-enabled interactive biology textbook for college level. Educators can track individual student progress and develop content from a national database of educator-contributed material. Students can explore concepts following branched, interlinked idea paths. Unlike storybook formats, chapters are structured into threaded learning where all students start with the same basic material and then digress along concepts that intrigue them. Along the exploration path, students encounter interactive activities, such as self-assessment quizzes and annotation boxes.

BioBook was developed by Daniel Johnson and Fred Macosko of Wake Forest University and the Odigia company, with a grant from Gates Foundation. Johnson is working on producing an official BioBook, using contributions from academic partners around the world who can upload their own chapters into a national database using the open-source education platform, Moodle. Which chapters will make it to the official book? The technology provides suggestions since BioBook collects data from students as they work on the chapters. The contributors will automatically know what students like and don't like about the e-book.

"In 2010, 19 students in a first-year seminar course led by Macosko showed how engaging the BioBook model is by writing and uploading a total of 130 new Learning and Organizational Nodes for BioBook in a single semester. 'The quality of the nodes, speed with which students generated them, and their enthusiasm for writing the nodes were all very high, as measured by an end-of-class survey and reflection essays,' reported Johnson." For more details, read the Wake University press release

YouTube has several videos on the topic, for example: BioBook Tutorial: Supplemental Materials. Just type in BioBook Tutorial in search for a list of videos.