The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday published a patent application by Apple for a method of enhancing ebooks through a unique group reading environment.
The patent application, one of twelve discovered today by Apple Toolbox, entitled “DEVICE, METHOD, AND GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE FOR A GROUP READING ENVIRONMENT”, describes a unique method for collaborative group reading, which appears to be focused on the education market in particular.
Collaborative group reading and ebooks
The authors note that “…collaborative or group reading may be more beneficial to a reader than solo reading by the reader alone. For example, in a classroom environment, a group of children may participate in collaborative reading of a single story, with each child reading only a portion of the whole story. In another example, in a home, a parent may read part of a story to a child, while allowing the child to participate in reading the remainder of the story. Existing electronic reading devices are inadequate in providing an easy, intuitive, fun, interactive, versatile, and/or educational way of organizing the group or collaborative reading of multiple readers in the same group reading session.”
The application goes on to state:
There is a need for electronic devices with faster, more intuitive, and more efficient methods and interfaces for facilitating collaborative reading in a group reading environment. Such methods and interfaces may complement or replace conventional methods for displaying electronic reading materials on user devices. Such devices, methods, and interfaces increase the efficiencies, organization, and interactivity of the group reading session, and enhance the learning experience and enjoyment of the users during group reading
The invention is unique in that, upon receiving the text, the application will automatically and without user invention generate a reading plan for all the participants, based on their respective reading ability.
Apple capitalises on its lead in the education market
Apple has always enjoyed a lead in the education market in terms of tablet sales, and also a traditionally strong presence in schools and universities with its Mac line of computers and notebooks. Ebooks are also an area that Apple has consistently displayed interest in improving and adding features to, giving users powerful tools to create interactive books and classroom materials.
The Apple patent application filed today credits Michael I. Ingrassia, JR of San Jose, CA, Richard M. Powell of Mountain View, CA, David Shoemaker of Redwood City, CA, Casey M. Dougherty of San Francisco, CA and Gregory S. Robbin of Mountain View, CA as the inventors of U.S. Patent Application No. 20140349259.
To find out how to download ebooks from the iBook store, you can find more details in our related how-to article. If you are interested in using the iPad as an effective teaching tool, this article has more information.
Roland Banks has been passionate about Apple for more than a decade. He started his career at British Telecom’s research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world’s first mobile video services.
Roland moved to Asia 4 years ago, where he writes about his passion for all things Apple.