Earlier this year we released two of our textbooks into the Apple iBookstore: Jesus Christ: God’s Revelation to the World and Jesus Christ: Source of Our Salvation. These eTextbooks are specifically designed for the iPad using the incredible tools offered by the iBooks iPad App. One of the most exciting features about this app is the Study Cards. We’ve all used or asked students to use note cards and flash cards to study for tests or review material. Well, Study Cards in iBooks elevates that learning tactic to a whole new level.

We hope this brief tutorial on using Study Cards in iBooks Textbooks for the iPad will make an impact on the way you and your students use the iPad in class this year. Download a free sample copy of one of our books to your iPad to test out these features:

How Study Cards are Created

Here are the default settings for iBooks Study Cards:

  • Glossary Terms (vocabulary terms) and definitions
  • All highlights (displayed on one side)
  • All notes and highlights (highlights on one side, notes on the other)

These settings can be adjusted. You can remove Glossary Terms or specify only certain colors of highlights to be Study Cards. We’ll come back to this feature later.

At the top of each card you will see the Section title and page number. For example, here is a highlight of the vocabulary term “religion” as it appears in the running text of Jesus Christ: God’s Revelation to the World:

iPad Study Cards Sample

How iBooks Study Cards Work

To open the Study Cards, you need to open the My Notes section of your book. To do this click on the Notes icon in the top ribbon of the app.

Once you are there, you can click on the “Study Cards” button from the My Notes page.

The Study Cards are organized by chapter or you can view all of them at once by selecting “All Chapters.” 

Each Study Card resembles a 3x5 note card. On one side is a Glossary Term or highlighted text. On the other side is the definition of the Glossary Term or the note that was attached to the highlighted text.

Tap the card to flip it or tap on the circular arrows in the bottom right corner of each card. To see the next card, you can swipe up, down, left, right, or diagonally to advance to the next card.

To go back to the previous card, click on the card that appears to be in the back of the stack.

Previous Study Card in iBooks

Using iPad Study Cards to Complete Review Questions

One of the most practical uses of Study Cards is to create answers to the Review Questions. Here is how to do this:

1) First, designate a certain highlight color for all section review questions.

2) We’ve chosen purple as the color for review questions. So, I’ll highlight the question in purple and then answer it in a note. Here is how it will look:

Review Questions in Study Cards

3) Open the Study Cards feature. Click on the gear icon in the upper left corner to open “Study Options.” Uncheck Glossary Terms and click on the blue arrow to expand the Highlights and Notes options. Check only the purple color.

4) Since we’re only highlighting review questions in purple, Study Cards will only display these questions and answers. Here is how our answers to Chapter 1 Section 1 of Jesus Christ: God’s Revelation to the World will look in Study Cards:

Side One:

Side Two:

Using iPad Study Cards to Review Reading

While students are reading, have them highlight parts of the text that are important or need to be remembered. Designate a highlight color for general highlighting and note-taking (the default is yellow).

Model the kind of highlights that students should make before they do the reading on their own. You don’t want them to just highlight everything they read and as teachers we can’t expect our students to automatically know the most effective way to highlight and take notes while they read.

Here are a few suggestions for highlighting while reading:

  • Highlight the main idea of each section.
  • Highlight important quotes.
  • Highlight sentences where vocabulary words appear.
  • Highlight sentences with bold words.
  • Highlight the first sentence of a numbered or bulleted list.
  • Highlight italicized sentences that were meant to stand out.

Once the students have read a section and made the highlights, encourage them to get in the habit of reviewing these highlights using the Study Cards immediately after reading, a few hours later, the next day, and then a week later. Reviewing the highlights will be the most effective thing they do to remember what they read and learned. This makes Study Cards an excellent tool for reading comprehension.

There are so many more ways you can teach with the iBooks Textbook Study Cards on the iPad. This tutorial is really just scratching the surface. Do some experimenting with your students and see what works best.

Ave Maria Press has eTextbooks available in the Apple iBookstore, as a PDF Site License, and through Direct Digital.