If you're an iPod user, you're familiar with sources of audio and video content (namely iTunes). But, you can fill your iPod with other media, including images. Viewing images on an iPod doesn't sound all that glamorous. After all, you can view images on just about any mobile device. However, some innovative companies have sets of images they'd love for you to sync to your iPod. The image sets can be surprisingly educational.
iPREPpress.com offers content from a variety of publishers and formats it for iPods. Much of what they offer can be viewed as text files in iPod's Notes. Additionally, iPREPpress has been adding content that you view in iPod's Photos. The company has a section for graphic biographies and histories. Each biography or history is currently on sale for $1.99 each. I bought The First Moon Landing. Once purchased, I downloaded a folder containing 71 jpeg images. At 320 x 240, the images match the resolution of iPod classic and nano. I synced the photo of images to an iPod. The First Moon Landing reads like a comic book. Once done with one frame, I just press the Next button to continue.
Raybook.com also offers image sets. My favorites are Brain Quest. Yes, that Brain Quest--the set of question cards that are often used in classrooms when there's a few minutes to spare. Raybook offers seven different version of Brain Quest, one for each grade up to seventh. Like The First Moon Landing, you view the Brain Quest cards in Photos on your iPod.
Raybook's content is installed differently than how you're used to syncing photos to an iPod. Instead of mucking up your desktop's iPhoto or Photoshop Elements albums with hundreds of images, Raybook has its own installer. The installer works great on Macintosh and Windows computers. I'm pleased to see that the Raybook installer is careful not to interfere with the other images I have stored on my iPod.
Raybook has done something special with their image sets. They have manipulated the thumbnails so you can easily skip to a different section of the photo set. The also have unique ways of interacting with the images. For instance, Brain Quest for Grade 5 has a listing of animals on one side of the screen and a listing of their collective names on the other. You go through one by one, trying to mentally match each animal with its collective name. Pressing the next button will draw a line on the screen to the correct answer.
Raybook also offers CliffsNotes on popular literary titles like Beowulf and The Red Badge of Courage. Scrolling farther down the page, you'll see flash cards for math fact. One card has the question and pressing Next will reveal the answer.
Raybook offers demos of Brain Quest, but you'll pay $19.99 for the full version. CliffsNotes and Math Facts cost about $5 each. Contact Raybook for school licenses.
Note that image sets from Raybook and iPREPpress may only work with certain models of iPods. Be sure to check that whatever image set you're interested in works for you before purchasing.
iPREPpress and Raybook are just two of a growing number of companies providing learning materials for iPods. Online Education Database just posted 100 Ways to Use Your iPod to Learn and Study Better. The list includes some familiar resources and many that are new to me. Unfortunately, many of the resources are not free. But, you might just find something worth paying for.
My next episode of Learning in Hand: iPods will be all about image sets and ways that teachers and students can create their own.