The iBook Hack


photo via Steve Dickie CC-BY-NC flickr


Since Zeeland Public Schools adopted 1:1 iPads in 2011 I have been using ePubs and iBooks to package and deliver personalized interactive content to my students. I have seen first hand how these resources support the 21st century learning experience.

The release of iBooks Author, in January of 2012, has placed the power to create media-rich, multi-touch books well within the reach of the average teacher.

iBooks Author is for the teacher, what xCode is for the app developer. I believe the education section of the iBook Store is waiting to explode with teacher created multi-touch iBooks that support multi-modal learning.


I have deep passion to see districts pay teachers to become expert content creators and owners. Furthermore, I want to help educators create open educational iBooks that are freely available for teachers around the world to download, remix, and redistribute to their students to accelerate their learning.

For these reasons, and many more, my friends Steve Dickie, Dave Bast and I started the iBooks Author Hackathon. iBookhacks (as we call them) are multi-day events that help teachers understand copyright and creative commons licenses. Teachers learn how to access open educational resources and use them in creating their multi-touch books. Teachers learn how to author in iBooks Author, publish to their students or the iBook Store, and share files for other teachers to remix. Finally, teachers learn about instructional design and how to create interactive content in a way that supports a social, flexible, accessible, and dynamic learning experience.

2013 iBook Hackathon Trail

From west to east the hackathon event saw over 200 educators come together to design and publish multi-touch interactive ebooks for their classroom. Teachers learn about copyright, creative commons, interactivity, and instructional design along the way to becoming self publishers. Here were our stops in 2013: Watsonville California, Chicago Illinois, Detroit Michigan, Indianapolis Indiana, Dover-Foxcroft Maine, and Zeeland Michigan.

grhackpic pan

Panoramic of the Grand Rapids, MI iBooks Author Hackathon. Photo via Steve Dickie.

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2014 iBook Hackathon Trail

In the summer of 2014 we were at it again with several more hack events including a four day hack event in Zeeland Michigan and a three day hack event at the University of Central Arkansas. This summer hacks continued to affirm teachers as genuine content creators and self publishers.

We added a level of competition to this summers hackers by dangling the carrot of a brand new iPad mini out there for the top two iBooks for education produced by our hackers. Taking home the prizes were english language arts teacher Shawn Jacobs and mathematics instructor Sara Mulder.

You can learn more about the iBook hack events on our website:

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