Julian O’Loughlin reviews this interactive revision guide

GCSE science revision guide
Julian O’Loughlin
iBook/iPad app|version 1.0 2012 | Pp577 pages | £5.99 | 
Reviewed by Julian O’Loughlin

Using a tablet

This interactive revision guide is pitched at GCSE students studying specifically for Science ‘A’ Unit 1 for AQA, OCR (21st Century Science) and Edexcel. Presented through Apple’s iBooks application, it is easy to navigate and scroll through and jump from chapter to chapter. As an interactive book, the question I was looking to answer is whether this is a significant step forward from the traditional paper book.

There are several useful features, for example being able to make your own bookmarks, or highlight particular paragraphs. Adding your own notes is also possible and touching a technical term brings up a suitably pitched explanation. Being able to expand pictures to fill the screen makes the process of reading the book much more visually appealing. One nice feature is that all the highlighted sections can be brought together to make study cards of key concepts. The end of each chapter features a selection of past paper questions and by following a link to a later part of the book, the answers are all included.

Where I think the software is lacking is that it feels as if it is a paper book that has been digitised, rather than being designed as an interactive resource from the ground up. Most of the good points above are built in to the iBooks platform rather than being specific to this resource. When I clicked on a diagram of some apparatus, I hoped for an applet to let me run the experiment, or at least a video of the experiment in progress, but the image was simply expanded. When the practice questions are multiple choice, there is an obvious opportunity to have the answers marked automatically and to build in a quiz based structure, which again is lacking. It is certainly a step in the right direction and a good replacement for a paper textbook, but to really make a significant step forward the content needs to be much more interactive.

Related Links

 GCSE science revision guide 

Julian O’Loughlin

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