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.