Saturday, May 7, 2011

Does Digital Text Create a Cognitive Gap?

This article highlights studies regarding digital text and learning:
Ereaders are changing the face of reading across the board, and experiments in creating more economic-friendly textbooks for students are increasing. The results, however, are not all positive.
As students attempt to incorporate electronic text into their studies, issues with e-textbooks are starting to emerge — and the problems go beyond poor annotation and sharing tools.
A study at the University of Washington and six other universities in the US involving the use of the larger-format Kindle DX indicated a disconnect between digital text and the way students learn.
Read more:

Early Results of the HMH Fuse Algebra App Pilot

This report from "The Unofficial Apple Weblog" details the progress of the California schools pilot of the HMH Fuse Algebra curriculum. The app is a digital version of the new Houghton Mifflin Algebra 1 book, and includes interactive components such as a scratch pad (for sketches, text and audio notes) and graphing calculator, as well as a number of annotated videos that can address multiple learning styles. You can freely download the "preview" app....  which includes a video on "how to use this book" when you launch the app. The free app provides access to the graphing tool, scratchpad, and a few pdf worksheets, but to actually learn algebra, it's $59.99 to download the chapter contents (compared to $71 for the paper textbook).

This may be among the first efforts of any textbook publishers specifically targeting the high school level. Also available now is a sneak peak to HMH Fuse Geometry, which includes the a free sample chapter of content.

Read more at:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a major publisher of textbooks with an abiding interest in technology, embarked upon a large scale pilot project in digital education.
As soon as their new Holt McDougal Algebra 1 textbook was finished, it was decided to re-imagine it as an iPad app named HMH Fuse Algebra 1. The app would include exactly the same content as the 950-page book, but it would also contain over 400 videos, animations, a graphing calculator, multiple presentation methods and numerous other features. John Sipe, the general sales manager of HMH, blueprinted what he wanted the app to be and worked with developers to bring it to fruition.
The free app, which weighs in at 141 MB, only gives you a taste of how it all works, but it doesn't include any course content. Seeing that requires a US$59.95 in-app purchase. Loading all the content takes up a whopping 4-6 GB of space, but chapters and videos can be downloaded, erased and reloaded at any time.
HMH took this quite seriously and poured some major money into a full-year pilot project; four California school districts were chosen, and teachers were asked to volunteer to teach a number of classes using the textbook and other classes using the app for the entire school year. HMH wanted to measure if students tested better using the app over the textbook and explore attitudinal changes in both teachers and students. ... Sipe and HMH wanted to see if delivery methods affected learning, and if so, how?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More about "Our Choice"

I am a huge fan of TED Talks! Matas stated that Push Pop Press engineers are building a tool to make it easy for publishers to create similar "apps." Let's hope it's one that educators can use too!  Learn more about Mike Matas at:

Join the conversation at TED... what is this "ebook" missing? What do you want in this future book?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Adaptable... "Our Choice" eBook "App" from Push Pop Press

This App from "Push Pop Press" is more than just digitized text.

Amy Lee from the Huffington Post reports:
The Our Choice app is a digital reading experience that matches a book for ease and outdoes it in ways that Gutenberg surely never imagined. With just your fingers, and the screen, the 400-page book becomes a portal to video, photo, and infographic content that demonstrates just how powerful an aid technology can be to the cause of knowledge.

Al Gore explains:

Read the full article: