(Watch) First interactive book for the iPad

Very cool. But is it all just packaging?

Check out the first full-length interactive book for the iPad in this video.

Here former Apple software developer Mike Matas shows “Our Choice,” Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The book uses elements such as “swipeable” video and images, interactive infographics and simultaneous audio. Definitely something to fool around with.

But does it really improve education?

TED reader Marlon Henry comments:

Imagine a textbook that teachers can insert their own videos and comments into before distributing it to students. That could be a very effective learning tool.

But TEDX organizer Edmond Hui cautions:

… Nowadays, beautiful and ingenious ways of interacting with a computer are automatically seen as benefits, with no regard to actual learning outcomes. (It’s entirely forgivable in the short TED talk, but note that the whole presentation was about what we could do with the illustrations, not what educational problem was solved by the features. …

We don’t really know what impact these ways of presenting information really have on teaching and learning because the educational process takes so long to produce a result. The only thing we really know for sure is that those of us over 50 have been educated without IT in our schooling, and that (at least in the case of most TED enthusiasts) has been entirely adequate in preparing us for the modern, IT- pervasive world.

… As a replacement for, or addition to, proven technology, computers should be shown to justify their total cost of ownership in improved and measureable educational outcomes, not just in attractive features or PR for the school.