Saturday, November 17, 2012

College Students Boost Digital Adoption

Connected: According to this Coursesmart survey, the average college student uses 3 devices daily, although the majority (51%) report bringing a laptop rather than a print textbook.

Reposted from Coursesmart (

-- Research Shows That Majority of Students Are More Likely To Bring a Laptop Than a Print Textbook to Class with 53% Of Device Owners Reading eTextbooks Frequently -- 
SAN MATEO, Calif., May 23, 2012 –CourseSmart®, the world's largest provider of eTextbooks and digital course materials, today announced the results of a survey revealing college students' growing reliance on technology. The survey of more than 500 currently enrolled college students found that nearly all college students (98%) who own a device have used it for school and a majority of these students (53%) read eTextbooks frequently. Further, 90% of college students say they save time studying with technology -- including mobile devices, digital textbooks, eReaders and tablets. 
Fielded by Wakefield Research, an independent research consultancy, the survey revealed that technology has become a significant part of students' everyday lives with the average using three devices daily. A majority (67%) can't go more than one hour without using some sort of digital technology, with 40% not lasting more than 10 minutes. "The survey underscores the undeniable influence technology has on today's college experience. As technology continues to evolve and digital devices become integral to the evolution of higher education, it's encouraging to see the positive impact on learning outcomes as students utilize advanced devices and digital course materials to streamline and improve their learning environment," said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart. 
The Digital Backpack 
Once the backpack staple, print textbooks are losing their reputation of being indispensable. Only 5% of students say textbooks are the most important item in their bag and a majority of students say they are more likely to bring a laptop (51%) than a print textbook (39%) to class. Digital devices also allow for on-the-go reference to information with 79% of college students reporting they have done a quick search on a mobile device or tablet to verify something right before a test or a quiz.
According to the survey, technology is also streamlining students' studies. The study found that 68% of college students who save time using technology report saving two hours or more each day and nearly one in six students (14%) saving five hours or more. Further, nearly 3 in 5 students (58%) report that they frequently are unable to complete required reading in time for class and of those, a majority (51%) said they would be more likely to do so if they had digital textbooks that could be accessed on a mobile device, eReader, laptop or tablet.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The move to digital textbooks still a long way off

Oct. 1, 2012: Adoption Rates of New Styles of K-12 Teaching, by Robert Nillson
In this blog post, digital textbooks are included in Enterasys Networks' survey of "new styles" of teaching. Infrastructure is cited as a major factor in supporting digital learning.

Of those not currently using digital textbooks, 37% are planning to use within 3-12 months, while 43%  indicated no plans to move to digital textbooks. What needs to be done so that all students have access to digital textbooks?

Quoted from:
Migration to new styles of teaching and the digital classroom is speeding up at the K-12 level, but could be held back by the lack of a capable network infrastructure. Enterasys Networks conducted a survey to better understand how rapidly K-12 schools are adopting digital textbooks, video content, the flipped classroom, online assessment, social media, and customizing student access to the Internet. The results of the 255 responses are presented in a new Infographic. 
The survey found that more than half of K-12 schools are using digital text books or plan to use them within 12 months. In fact, about 38% of schools plan to use only digital text books within 5 years. However, only 26% of schools have a network infrastructure that can easily accommodate this move. Similarly, less than half of schools say their network infrastructure is adequate to handle the demands of video content in the classroom.
Infographic authored by Enterasys Networks. To view the original post, see the original K-12 Survey Infographic.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Boundless Freedon with Open Source Textbooks

This from
Although it looks like the priority is at the university level for now, you can sign up for the public beta of Boundless at

The world of digital textbooks is more than heating up. It’s on fire. Amazon just launched a digital rental option for textbooks. Companies like Chegg are becoming academic hubs that can improve your education experience through more than just textbook rentals.
But all of the options to use digital textbooks have cost money. And teachers as well as students simply don’t have much.
Until now.
Boundless just launched the public beta version of its brand new site. What is Boundless? It’s a way to easily turn all of the open source information that exists in the world into a simple easy-to-use digital textbook. And it’s free.
This is one of the most exciting announcements that came across my inbox over the past few weeks. Boundless is shaping up to truly disrupt the digital textbook industry and the newly launched tools are robust enough to do just that. But enough hyperbole and hot air, here’s what you should know:

How It Works

  • Boundless taps into the world of free & open access information and turns it into a beautiful yet functional digital textbook.
  • It’s iPad-friendly, works on laptops, and issimple enough for teachers of any aptitude to use.
  • The system generates digital resources for you based on the textbook you would normally have used in the course.
  • You can still use the printed textbook and use Boundless as a free digital supplement.
  • There’s an instant search feature built into the new Boundless UI.
  • You can digitally highlight and add notes to all of the content. I could see this being a big help to anyone nervous about deploying technology that could replace printed textbooks.
  • Boundless has a fun new feature called SmartNotes Premium which boils down all the content into easily digested factoids, summaries, and roundups. It’s like having a customized ‘Top 10′ list for each topic you’re reading about. This feature is $20/course just FYI.
  • The digital textbooks have no expiration date. They’re not rentals or anything that would cost you money since it’s all open source.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

StoryNory: Free Audio Stories for Kids

Randy Damewood presented an online PD session for "The State of Tech PD in your PJs" conference via "Google+ Hangout" technology, titled the "Future of Textbooks Here and Now" (look for the recorded session on YouTube soon). Randy shared a variety of strategies and resources for student learning beyond the "ink-on-paper" world. One resource of note is the StoryNory website, providing free audio stories for kids since 2005.

Storynory is available on iTunes in the Kids and Family Podcast section. If you subscribe (for free) to the iTunes feed, you can easily download and transfer the latest stories onto your iPod. Many classic  fairy tale stories are available, including the complete Alice In Wonderland. Have a listen!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The conversation continues... Beyond the Textbook

Several ed-tech bloggers have been sharing news of an upcoming "Beyond the Textbook Forum" that is being hosted by Discovery Education this week. A search of the #beyondthetextbook hashtag in twitter will reveal the conversations that are occurring, such as those prompted from Angela Maier's blog post:
I want to invite you to participate virtually and share your ideas with the team  as it relates to the future of textbooks or the future of reference materials.
Here are some questions to consider posting or tweeting about at using the #BeyondtheTextbook Hashtag
  • What materials are you currently using?
  • Are they adequate and representative of the knowledge and expereince you want to enagage your students in?
  • What are your thoughts about open source courseware and materials?
  • Where is your number one place to turn, when you seek information that is beyond the scope of your textbook and curriculum materials? 
Join the conversation!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Textbooks of Tomorrow: Infographic

Infographics are great for summarizing information ... they're just a bit long on the page.

Textbooks of Tomorrow

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Future of the Book ... Chapter 2

So many developments in a year's time! Are we moving in the right direction? What are some important components to consider for future textbooks?

Please add your voice to this conversation: 

Hall Davidson (from Discovery Education) presented a session at the Feb. 2012 TCEA conference titled "Take a Page from the Perfect Digital Textbook." You can view/download his presentation slides at

If you have more specific ideas, enter your thoughts on Hall Davidson's open Google spreadsheet:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

From NPR: Discussion on the Digital Future of Textbooks

On Tuesday 1/24/12, the NPR program OnPoint (hosted by Tom Ashbrook) hosted a discussion about the Digital Future of Textbooks ( with guests John Bailey, Katie Ash and yours truly. Here is the show description:
The revolution brewing in your child’s backpack. One little computer tablet may soon replace all those big old textbooks.
Apple employees demonstrate interactive features of iBooks 2 for iPad, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 in New York. IBooks 2 will be able to display books with videos and other interactive features. (AP)
It hits in middle school.  The twenty-pound school backpack.  Loaded with notepads and pencils and gear and – above all – textbooks.  Big old heavy paper-and-ink textbooks loaded with math lessons and history and diagrams of frog intestines.  It sounds so 20th Century.
Now, there’s a push on to throw out the textbooks and load everything a young student needs onto one little nifty tablet computer.  Weighs just a pound.  Carries the world.  As many digital textbooks as you like.  Ready to dazzle.  Will they work?
This hour, On Point:  when textbooks go digital, go tablet.

The OnPoint podcast will be available for the next 2 weeks, however the stream will always be available via the OnPoint website. If you happen to listen, please consider leaving a comment with your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Future of the book is closer

Apple's new iBooks2 app, the availability of low-cost textbooks from some of the major textbook publishers, and iBooksAuthor for content creating content, might cause school districts implementing a 1:1 environment with iPads to rethink their plans for providing content on mobile devices for students. 

Take a look at the textbook titles in the iBookstore ( iPad owners with iOS5 can download the free book called "Life on Earth" from E.O. Wilson, to get a sense of the features available in this new format.

See more at:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chegg -- Connected!

Here's an eTextbook reader that provides the ability to collaborate with peers. Chegg advertises:
  • Anytime, anywhere access across all connected devices
  • Search, highlight, take notes & see key highlights from other students
  • Instant access to Chegg's network of students and experts for 24/7 math & science help

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pressbooks for ePublishing: Connected!

Reprinted from:

Pressbooks (now in public beta) is "a simple online book production tool, exporting books as: EPUB (for Kindle, iBooks, etc), typeset PDF (for print), and web (public or private). PressBooks is powerful enough for publishers, and simple enough for authors. It sits atop WordPress, but it’s a complete reworking, tailored for making and distributing a book."

Connected! Since the tool is built on WordPress MultiUser (each book is a “blog,” and each chapter is a “post”), this might be a great way to have students (or teams of teachers) collaborate on the creation of an eBook. There are plans in the works to also enable importing from an existing WordPress blog, as well as integrate social media and marketing tools.

Reported as the future focus of Pressbooks:

1. We want to help make it really easy and really cheap for all kinds of publishers (from single authors to huge companies) to make beautiful books in many formats
2. We want to really explore what it means to have “books” online as structured web objects…

Check out their demo slides, visit the PressBooks website and sign up to get started.