January 27, 2016

It’s been four years now since Apple made their “iBooks textbooks” announcement:

NEW YORK—January 19, 2012—Apple® today announced iBooks® 2 for iPad®, featuring iBooks textbooks, an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. iBooks textbooks offer iPad users gorgeous, fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more. iBooks textbooks can be kept up to date, don’t weigh down a backpack and never have to be returned.

In these four intervening years, the E-Textbook business has seen many innovations by both Apple and other education book publishers. And the future is even brighter:

“The digital textbook of tomorrow probably doesn’t look like a book at all. Imagine, instead, an online service that remixes itself on the fly for consumption via any device, with concepts tailored to a specific student’s knowledge gaps and learning style — and examples and problems updated to immerse the learner in timely, compelling content.

Nobody is delivering that particular experience yet. In fact, most digital textbooks look just like their printed brethren with extra features tacked on, such as the ability to highlight text, insert sticky notes, look up the meaning of a word and bookmark pages. “Glorified PDFs,” as Boundless CEO Ariel Diaz called them.

Still, the technology is out there to move the e-textbook beyond the “digital with extras” model. As David Anderson, executive director of higher education at the Association of American Publishers, described, learning platforms from his members incorporate text content, adaptive learning materials, quizzes, tests and games. Artificial intelligence can determine where a student is strong and weak, and “drill the student until the student performs better,” he noted. The data generated through those mechanisms is sent back to the professor, “who can monitor it as the class is going along and adjust his or her instructional priorities.” Those same platforms, he said, allow the faculty member to choose individual chapters from a textbook and add his or her own “extraneous materials in as part of the coursework.” (excerpted from “What’s Next for E-Textbooks?” by Dian Schaffhauser in CampusTechnology)

For more than two decades, education has lagged behind business and industry in its commitment to technology learning. And now the many positive results technology training has delivered to the nation’s workforce is about to be enjoyed by our student-learners.

Why did it take so long?!? Why were so many of our educators so blind to the seismic changes that have taken place in the dominant learning culture of our country?

Business knew! America’s manufacturing and process industries knew! The American military knew!

It was no surprise to those entities that today the majority of our news and information is being delivered by smartphones, tablets, computers and television.

They also saw clearly that retention rates were skyrocketing for those individuals who were enjoying interactive technology instruction along with the newer learning technologies invading the gaming/simulations world.

Creating textbooks in the learning culture that our students find most familiar will continue to be a big win!

More on Monday – – –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Mondays & Wednesdays)

(This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner, jhbillwalton@gmail.com, an independent consultant. They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)