eTextbooks: A Framework

Portfolio Context

eTextbooks is framework we’ve explored in Oak Hills for developing online textbooks on any device. This presentation was held for eTech 2012. I presented with my wife, Renee Vander Veen.


We teachers create a lot of our own material.

We create supplementals to the 1o year old, beaten up textbooks. We search YouTube to find interesting clips that illustrate key class concepts. We look for (and  create) images that engage their students. We take the dry narratives of secondary sources and create imaginative stories that stick in their students’ minds.

In the past few years the medium for delivering this content has changed. Chalk and chalkboard changed to overheads and then data projectors. Typed notes changed to PowerPoints and pdf handouts (usually printed out as hardcopy for student notebooks). LMSs like Moodle and Blackboard entered the equation. Teacher made websites have become popular.

Bring Your Own Device

More and more districts are opening the campuses to student owned devices. Those devices can be:

  • laptop computers (with their various flavors of operating systems)
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • eReaders

The Question

How can teachers continue to create their excellent materials and have those materials work on any device?

And, we would add, can this be done in an easy and (fairly) simple way?

A Framework

The purpose of this site is to demonstrate how the popular blogging platform WordPress, combined with some key plugins and themes, allows teachers to create a finished product that works on any device.


This presentation can be viewed here.



Example downloads (of projects exported with Anthologize)

A Note: This Isn’t Apple

We realize that Apple recently released iBooks Author which allows teachers to create their own interactive textbooks that work on iPads.

The problem is that these iBooks only work with iPads. Students who use Android (tablets and phones) and Windows (PCs and phones) cannot access content created with iBooks Author.

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