Monday, April 05, 2010

K12 digital textbooks? Yes, no or maybe?

Check out the recent Education Week article discussing digital textbooks.  With the release of the Apple iPad now, how much closer are we to seeing the development of K12 digital textbooks?  The article says, "They're Coming", but really, are they?

In an ideal world, I'd love to see digital textbooks available and used.  I am a strong proponent of being on the leading edge, but . . .

In the 80's, they said word processing and email would end the use of paper as a medium for communications.  And while it has certainly decreased the amount of correspondence that gets put on paper, it has also increased the amount of correspondence/communications.  I wonder if we counted the number of printed communications then and now would we see and increase or a decrease.  I think it would be an increase.

Saw my first iPad today and I love it!  But, it really seems like, if dropped, it would be "DOA".  Every iPod that I see owned by a "kid", has cracks in them.  To Apple's credit, even with a shattered screen, those iPods still work and the "kids" still use them.

I truly wish that the textbook vendors could just at least make the textbooks available online digitally and some have, but they are not scaled enough yet to be really feasible in all classrooms even in high school.  Guess I just need to be patient, perhaps.

I am one who loves reading fiction for pleasure on electronic devices.  Have done so on my Blackberry and G1, when I had them and continue to do so on my iPhone, but mostly only when I am waiting in an office for an appointment, on a bus, in a car (and not driving).  Those are also about the only times that I have time to read these days.  (Heavy sigh!)  Getting students and teachers using e-texts in classrooms and outside of the classrooms for homework and research is going to take a long, long time, I believe.  The best use I think is for students away from their classrooms doing research and homework and perhaps in classrooms through a projector as a reference while learning.

So, what do you think?

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