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Textbooks of the future
9 January 2015

The first interactive scientific textbook published from South Africa for the Apple computer platform was released internationally in 51 countries in December 2014. The textbook is the brainchild of Professor TS Pillay, Head of the Department of Chemical Pathology and the Clinical Pathology Programme at the University of Pretoria. The book makes use of the recently developed iBooks author platform from the Apple Computer Corporation and is designed for trainee specialists, scientists and technologists in the field of chemical pathology.  

“In many ways, this is a 4-dimensional medium”, says Professor Pillay. “One can embed dynamic material such as videos, animated presentations, 3-D objects and photo galleries allowing for a richer two-way interaction of the student with the material via the touch screen interface.”

In addition to the multimedia capabilities of the platform, one can also embed review questions that the students can test themselves on as they work through the book.  Students can also use the touch screen interface to highlight and annotate as they would using a conventional hardcopy textbook.

These features allow for a richer learning environment for subjects such as medicine, biochemistry and mathematics where interactivity and self-directed learning of procedures and processes are often required.

According to Professor Pillay, one of the most powerful features of the platform is the ability to update quickly – “one can update a book, for example, on an annual or more frequent basis and the updated version will be immediately available to users via the internet or the local network”.  This greatly simplifies the process of updating or producing a new edition of a textbook, compared to conventional publishing of a hardcopy textbook. This really is the future of publishing especially in resource and learning challenged environments. 

- Author Faculty
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Last edited by Fayette LeydsEdit
Prof TS Pillay