If someone used the word “perspicacious,” would you know what they were talking about? What about an even simpler word that you use everyday: “energy?” From turning on the lights to working out at the gym, we use energy every day, but what exactly is energy?
KQED and the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University have partnered to demystify the topic of energy in a new two-part iBooks Textbook series and iTunes U course. As with our other iBooks Textbooks—Earthquake, River Delta and Biotechnology—readers can investigate scientific concepts, new technologies, and connections between science and engineering through embedded video, audio, interactives, animations and more.
The first book, Energy: the Basics, looks at the science of energy, including the transfer and transformation of energy, and the difference between power and energy. Renewable and nonrenewable energy resources are examined, and Career Spotlight videos provide a glimpse into diverse jobs in the renewable energy industry. The second book, Energy: Use and Efficiency, explores how humans use energy—from generating electricity to developing energy-efficient technologies. The accompanying iTunes U course incorporates activities, apps, videos and chapters from the books into “assignments” that give learners an opportunity to examine the role of energy in their own lives.
The Energy iBooks Textbooks and iTunes U course were written by Matthew Inman, a science and math educator from Spokane, Washington. Inman has years of experience working in the field of energy education, including leading the development of the national set of energy education guidelines, “Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education,” with the U.S. Department of Energy. Both the book series and course are aligned with the Energy Literacy Principles and Concepts, and with the Next Generation Science Standards. The iBooks Textbook format allows KQED to serve educators and learners by telling powerful stories while exploring science concepts and topics through multimedia. Teachers can seamlessly integrate digital resources into their teaching practice to bring the most current content to learners and build real-world connections with the topics.
A pilot of the Energy series with a Bay Area ninth-grade integrated science class elicited the following comment from one student, “This book was an amazing treat for me. It was super helpful since I am a visual learner.” Another said, “This book also made me curious about energy. This book made learning about energy easy and fun!”
The Energy iBooks Textbooks are available for iPads and Macs and can be downloaded for free from the iBooks Store. And, you can subscribe to the iTunes U course on your iPad via the iTunes U app. In case you don’t have an iPad, video content from the books can be found on the QUEST website, including the Career Spotlight: Renewable Energy videos. Other content from the books will be available online in the coming months, so keep an eye out for more on energy!