Kotobee aimed to inspire teachers in September 2020 in an attempt to prepare them for the new online academic year.
With COVID-19 forcing many changes to the world as we know it, academics and education have taken a strong hit. A lot of schools have had online protocols in cases of emergency or went straight online without attempting to force students to head to school. However, teachers face a lot of challenges, one of which is trying to keep students engaged while at home. While a lot of books have been turned into ebooks, it still isn’t enough to improve the situation. Students need more interactivity in their textbooks to pay more attention.
“I can’t believe the market has not exploded yet with interactive e-readers and ebooks,” the second place winner, Kathryn Macfarlane, said. Interactive ebooks have been around for years now, yet many people don’t even know about them! They should have already had a solid footing in the industry so that the COVID-19 driven obstacles wouldn’t have had that big of a hindrance on educational institutions. If there is one thing to be gained from these hard times, it’s that education should evolve. That’s where the idea for the Kotobee Interactive Ebook Contest came in.
Nahla Ibrahim, the mastermind behind the idea said, “The ultimate goal of the contest was to encourage and support teachers and educators to learn more techniques on how to create more interactive and engaging educational material.” After all, interactive ebooks have gained a lot of traction this past year, helping many educators steer away from conventional teaching methods.
Since the main goal of the contest was to help educators explore interactive elements, interactivity had been a strict prerequisite for the ebooks. Aside from ensuring that the ebooks were in English, were educational and exported in EPUB (or KPUB2) format, educators were allowed free rein when it came to the content inside the ebooks. They were even allowed to submit more than one ebook to the contest. The prizes ranged from a grand prize of $500 along with lifetime subscriptions to Kotobee Author, the ebooks getting converted into mobile apps to getting featured on Kotobee’s website and blog.
For some educators, this wasn’t their first time creating interactive ebooks. For others, it was an entirely new experience. Being able to discover all the things interactivity could do to help enhance their ebooks had been a pleasant surprise.
When asked about their experiences in using interactive elements, most educators said they’d enjoyed it a lot and hoped to learn more on how to use them in the future. In fact, the number one prize winner, Amor L. Baguio, seemed to be very impressed with her experience and said, “It was an interesting and eye-opening experience since we can add 3D models (with lighting and angle), add widgets from websites such as BookWidgets, and even put our own recorded audio, which adds inclusivity for our visually impaired students.” That is but some of what interactive ebooks have to offer!
While aesthetically pleasing ebooks were nice to look out, that wasn’t the first thing the judges were looking for to choose the winning books. One of the judges, Salam, said, “The first thing we were looking at was the creative and unique choice of interactivity. Something that has been well-thought through. The second deciding factor was the ebooks’ design. The winning ebooks had the best designs in terms of clarity and attractiveness.”
The judges were very pleased with the results, and with the initiatives many of the contestants took to create such incredible contents. It was especially impressive that most of the contestants had no experience creating interactive ebooks before and ventured out of their comfort zones for this occasion.
Kotobee is an award-winning digital publishing platform to create interactive ebooks, export them in multiple formats, and deliver them securely to users.
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