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Showing posts from June, 2011

"Now is the time" ... "go from print to digital"

Karen Cator, the director of educational technology for the DOE talked today about changing from print to digital. She discussed (at ISTE) four ways that the DOE is helping make that shift:
1. Transparency (schools with access)
2. Digital Literacy (
3. Bring your own device advice
4. Clearing house for professional networks

While she was talking tech across the board, I do see aspects related to digital books here, especially in the "bring your own device advice" section. This week Pew Internet released data that 12% of adults have an e-reader device, and that 8% own a tablet (only a 3% overlap). Add that to existing data on smart phones (31%) and we begin to the possibility of using ebooks with your own device in schools. I've always thought that the model would be to have some basic ebook device that could be provided, but if the student wanted they could go outside the school and get their own device. When I started using a calculator in schools th…

Tablets & impact

While some may look at tablets taking away from dedicated ebook readers, I don't really see it that way. Tablets are chosen for their ease of use and acceptability. I know that I often use mine when watching a show, to look up some interesting facts (like when watching The Glades to see what pregnancy lollipops were), checking email during  advertising, or finding out what song was playing during a sequence. But for the most part I use my tablet for short term reading. When I really want to spend some time reading, by ebook device does a better job, it weighs less, lasts longer, and fits in my hand better. At the same time, I'm thinking that for many a tablet would be a gateway device to an ebook reader, once you start finding things to read that you like, you will want more.

Tablets chip away at laptops, e-readers
Survey data from Parks Associates indicate that 10.5 million American households now contain at least one tablet PC -- the equivalent of 13% of all broadband-connecte…

eTextbooks needed

This kind of research doesn't surprise me. Instead it is just a reinforcement of things that I have found, students today are ready for the switch to digital textbooks. To me the hold is because of two factors. First is the paradigm shift necessary in faculty to change from paper based text to digital. This is also been shown in other research that found that students were much more aware of digital options for textbooks than faculty (other research also showed that faculty were unaware of the current pricing of the texts that they used).  Faculty need to start going beyond the book company rep that shows up with sample texts and start looking for themselves if they are also to start incorporating open source texts too. The second issue is systematic, until faculty start experiencing digital textbooks, they won't be using them with their students, and a desktop computer isn't the ideal for such use. We need faculty to start using devices like tablets and ebook readers, so …

Doodle(ing) in Google eBooks

On June 9th Google Books Software Engineers blogged about a new feature for Google Books - Doodle. Doodle will allow uses (using supported browsers - like Chrome), to begin doodling in the book using the book's Doodle Mode - which gives you access to a virtual color changing crayon. The nice thing here is that this kind of annotation is another interactive feature that allows users to interact with their book, the downside is that it isn't saved - so if you want to keep your notation or artwork you have to do a screen shot. What this does though is open a whole new set of books for digital interaction; puzzle books, connect the dots, mazes, etc. although only for web reading now, we should expect that after a while that all ebook readers should have this level of intractability.

Loading... Doodle in the Google eBooks Web ReaderAs the young (and young at heart) know, books aren't simply meant to be read - sometimes they're meant to be marked up, colored in and scribbled…

FL to go eBook by 2015

Florida is one of the first states stepping forward to shift their educational texts to a digital format. Governor Rick Scott signed SB 2120 on May 23, 2011 which starts the move to have Florida schools adopt digital textbooks by the 2015-2016 school year. Right now the public schools are to be working on pilot programs to identify the devices, books, services, etc that will work best.  Of course a big question will be how can schools afford this? But if you start to consider the open source options now available, using digital textbooks can actually be a cost savings. Consider the case of just math and science texts, the average textbook can cost close to $100, but the CK12 (, makes a number of open source textbooks in all areas of high school math and science, meaning that with just two subjects, a Kindle as an interactive text purchased in bulk at an estimated $100, would actually be a savings of $100 per student. Then too there are other costs with textbooks that may …