I’ll start with ibooks.
It is a great way to distribute class sets of novels. For example , a current digital book by Morris Gleitzman would cost about $10 a copy. If you were distributing a class set of the novel - with VPP the cost would be even less ( probably less than $6) The ability to make notes, highlight text, built in dictionary and bookmarking is fantastic. Off course this can also occur in Kindle versions.
Where iBooks really shines is in the books designed for iBooks. They are media rich - incorporating video, audio, pictorial, 3D shapes. This has not been replicated in any of the rival ebook formats. Have a look at the ibooks designed by the Fields of Mars - a fantastic resource designed for primary aged science studies. Or The Life On Earth series (7 in the series) All free. These are just examples of the media rich material available.
Probably the biggest criticism of iBooks is the “limited”availability of material for primary aged students. Why not make your own ?
There are a number of programs or apps where you can make your own ebooks but none of them beats apple’s own iBook Author. This is a free program you can download on your mac (must be a mac - doesn’t work on Windows) where you can construct media rich books utilising the full capabilities of iBooks. The staff of Fields of Mars used iBook Author to construct their fabulous resources.
There is nothing stopping a classroom teacher constructing their own iBook for their class to use. A teacher could take a HSIE topic (say “Gold” for example ) and construct a class text incorporating text, maps, quizzes, video and pictures - with precisely the outcomes, information and activities they wish their students to address. This could be pushed out to the class set of ipads when they are studying that topic. Why wait for a commercially manufactured resource ?
The other resource that is under utilised is iTunes U. A place where you can design courses for your students. Universities and many secondary schools are utilising this but not many Primary Schools. With the push for BYOD and many schools opting for class sets of ipads this resource is often overlooked. There are some great examples in the “Educators” section of iTunes U. Have a look at the posting in “Admin Apps” section of this site.
A teacher is able to design their own course - linking to the apps you want your students to use, activities you want them to complete and incorporate any type of file you wish. Any teacher apply for their school and multiple teachers can design various courses. It is more straight forward than it sounds and is a great way of pushing out courses to students using either their own or school issued iPads.
Two major aspects that iPads have over the opposition but often under-utilised. iBooks (and iBook Author) and iTunes U. Have a look at them and you may find they can add another dimension to your teaching - whether it is a flipped classroom, school issued iPads or bring your own.