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iPad -- the Textbook of the Future?

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February 03, 2010

iPad -- the Textbook of the Future?

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Will the iPad, or other similar, digital devices, become the standard textbooks of the future?

The industry thinks so. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “Major textbook publishers have struck deals with software company ScrollMotion to adapt their textbooks for the electronic page.”
The features of its iPad deal with publishers, the Journal said, “include applications to let students play video” -- sure to improve attention during lectures -- “highlight text, record lectures, take printed notes, search the text and participate in interactive quizzes to test how much they’ve learned and where they may need more work.

Rik Kranenburg, group president of higher education for the education unit of McGraw-Hill Cos. and one of the publishers involved in the project, told the Journal, “People have been talking about the impact of technology on education for 25 years. It feels like it is really going to happen in 2010.”
However, universities considering promoting the iPad or the Kindle e-book reader -- or any such electronic book reader -- for students will probably have to wait until it’s more accessible to blind students.

According to the Associated Press (News - Alert), the U.S. Justice Department has struck deals with three universities “not to promote Amazon’s Kindle or other electronic book readers unless the devices are fully accessible to blind students.”

“Advancing technology is systematically changing the way universities approach education, but we must be sure that emerging technologies offer individuals with disabilities the same opportunities as other students,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a statement. “These agreements underscore the importance of full and equal educational opportunities for everyone.”

Compass (News - Alert) Intelligence, a market research firm in Scottsdale, Ariz., estimates that technology spending in the U.S. educational market could grow to $61.9 billion in 2013, from $47.6 billion in 2008, the Journal reports:

“Maureen McMahon, president of Kaplan Publishing, said a recent Kaplan study showed that students remain big fans of printed books but that they would be more receptive to e-textbooks on portable digital devices.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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