Skip to content ↓

innovative digital book project

Innovative digital book project with Initial Teacher Training students

During the week of 9th to 13th May 2016, The de Ferrers Academy in Burton-On-Trent, UK, hosted 25 Secondary PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) students from The University of Nottingham Faculty of Education.


As part of their flexible learning week at the end of the course, these student teachers got to spend 5 days at de Ferrers learning how to design, build and use multitouch books using Apple technology and the incredible iBook Author tools, with books being published the following week.


The general aim was to work together to mentor/support Secondary PGCE students from English-Baccalaureate subjects (English, Maths, Science, History, MFL) in the production of interactive digital books for publication on iTunes and iBook Stores. Although these books would be of enormous and immediate benefit to students at The de Ferrers Academy taking their GCSE exams, they would be generic enough to allow students and teachers across the globe to use them as well.


Specific aims were: 

  • To provide PGCE students with a range of skills and experiences not currently covered in Initial Teacher Training, including digital instructional design and creation/use of multimedia publication
  • To produce a series of quality, multitouch books that addressed areas of difficulty/misconceptions in a range of GCSE subjects (most topics would be relevant to typical curricula for 13-16 year olds across the world)
  • To enable PGCE students to become published authors within a week of the project
  • To investigate the possibility of a sustainable partnership, that was both repeatable and scalable 
  • To use the resources as a long-term research area into the effectiveness of digital books


The week-long project was jointly organised by Academy Vice Principals Greg Hughes (Learning Technologies & Curriculum) and Dave Lovell (Teaching & Learning and ITT), along with Stefanie Sullivan (PGCE course leader from The University of Nottingham. Supporting the event were other PGCE tutors acting as mentors, designer Hugh Schermuly and ITT course leader Dr Sean O’Graidagh - an expert in instructional design and effective use of digital media - from the University of Galway, Ireland. Both Greg and Sean are Apple Distinguished Educators - a network of over 2000 worldwide advocates in using Apple technologies to produce amazing experiences for learners. The students worked individually or in groups, using Apple MacBooks, iPad and iBooks Author.


The project was an incredible success. “The quality of the final books and the ease with which these student teachers picked up how to use Apple technologies and tools were impressive.” said Greg Hughes. “Many of them will spend the next 40 years in education in an increasingly digital and mobile world, so it is vital that they start their careers with knowledge of how to embrace these changes in teaching & learning. We’re glad they had such a fantastic week and proud of the books they produced. We look forward to future collaborations”.


You can download the published books for Maths, Science, English, History and French below:


GCSE Maths:





GCSE French:



GCSE English Literature:

Power & Conflict poetry: 


GCSE Science (Physics):

Static Electricity:

Electromagnetic Spectrum:   

Forces & Motion: 


GCSE History:

Nazi Germany - The Weimar Republic:

Nazi Germany - Hitler's Rise to Power: