Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reference Tree > eTextbooks By The Chapter

Reference Tree launches exciting new content platform

Innovative new resource allows students to purchase eTextbooks by the chapter.

London, UK: New UK based eTextbook Aggregator, Reference Tree, today announced the launch of its new content platform to all UK higher education.


Innovative in approach, Reference Tree is an exciting new resource that delivers electronic textbooks by the chapter. Designed to address the changing dynamics of study and learning in today's digital climate, the service allows students to purchase just the portions of the textbook they require to efficiently complete their coursework. Not only are the most up-to-date sources of information available for learning and study, but the by-chapter approach enables students to spread the investment in course materials throughout the academic year. In addition, the service further enhances the learning experience with key features such as the ability to highlight and annotate text and, coming soon, the ability to collaborate with trusted peers through sharing of notes and comments.


Reference Tree is already supported by world renowned publishers such as Elsevier, Taylor + Francis, Sage, Hodder Education, McGraw Hill, Cambridge University Press and many others who will deliver content through the service. [snip].

About Reference Tree

Reference Tree is a new eTextbook Aggregator focussed on the UK Higher Education market. Launched in November 2010 with titles from leading academic Publishers, Reference Tree's per-chapter model enables students to spread their investment in their textbooks over the year and provides a new digital revenue model for Publishers.





Friday, February 4, 2011

Education World > E-readers Bring E-xcitement And E-ase to Reading

Education World / E-readers Bring E-xcitement And E-ase To Reading / Cara Bafile

"There are many advantages to using the Kindle," shares Kathy Parker. "When students come across a word they’re not familiar with, they automatically use the dictionary feature to look up what the word means. Using that feature has become second nature to our students."

As a librarian at Seneca (Illinois) Grade School, Parker helps coordinate her middle-school students' use of Amazon Kindle e-readers in language arts/literature classes and self-contained classrooms. Students primarily use the e-readers to read titles from their independent reading lists. [snip].

"The book Savvy by Ingrid Law was read together in a seventh-grade literature class at the beginning of the school year to acclimate students to using the Kindle," Parker explains. "Our eighth grade students will be reading Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl later this year when they begin their Holocaust unit and research papers."


"The ability to change font size has impacted many of our readers, especially those who struggle. Since they’re not seeing as many words on the screen at one time, they’re better able to comprehend what they’re reading," reports Parker.

Another plus of the Kindle is its "text to speech" feature. Students who are strong auditory learners can use the feature to listen to higher-level novels than are typically in their reading range. [snip].

"Many students find they’re reading books at a faster pace, which enables them to read more books in the same amount of time," Parker observed.[snip].

Will DeLamater, an expert and the creator of the online resource EduKindle, has been instrumental in the development of Parker’s program. And Parker and her colleagues report that, to date, they’ve encountered no issues with the e-readers. [snip].



"E-readers are the next logical step for schools to take in keeping up with educational technological advancements," explains Patrick Mish, CEO and founder of M-Edge. "Most young people spend the majority of their day using some kind of electronic device, whether it’s a gaming device, a laptop, or a cell phone. E-readers bring something familiar and make reading more accessible to these young people. They are a tool to get students excited about books, reading, and learning."


Grants are available to assist with implementation of e-reader technology in the classroom, Mish advises, and M-Edge is currently collaborating with eReadia to host webinars that will give teachers and administrators advice about establishing an e-reader program. Beyond convenience, Mish sees money-saving opportunities for schools that implement e-readers: fewer new hardcopy textbooks will need to be purchased on a yearly basis and fewer handouts will need to be printed.



Reasons To E-Read

As CEO of M-Edge, Patrick Mish believes there are several advantages to using e-reader technology in schools.

* Accessibility: Required reading materials can be loaded onto a single compact device. Many classic novels no longer under copyright are free and easy to download, giving teachers and students access to books in a matter of minutes.
* Customization: E-readers enable users to resize fonts, and offer a text-to-speech function that’s been shown to help children with learning disabilities, especially dyslexia, improve their reading skills and comprehension.
* Quality: On-the-fly updates to electronic content deliver a much more accurate educational experience to students.
* Excitement: Empirical data suggests students who read with an e-reader read more books and read them faster.



In Pennsylvania, librarians in the Chambersburg Area School District are introducing e-readers in an effort to boost interest in, and facilitate, reading. Initial data suggests the project is working.


E-readers -- Kindles, Nooks, and even iPads -- are popping up in Chambersburg's elementary, middle, and junior high schools as well. Students are permitted to download free samples of books to determine if they might like to read the selections in their entirety, but the kids are not allowed to make purchases. They must fill out a "request slip" and ask a librarian to obtain a desired e-book. [snip].


"Gaining more e-readers is very much in our plans," Hammond explained. "We currently have several grant applications submitted which, if funded, will provide Kindles for the English Language Learners throughout the district and will bring iPads to the middle school library department. Wi-Fi Kindles already have been purchased for use in some of our elementary libraries, and they will be utilized as soon as the special Wi-Fi networks are set up at those schools."

E-readers Worth A Look

Before making a purchase, Patrick Mish recommends investigating a variety of devices to find one that will work best for students and the classroom environment. Special consideration must be given to the interface, which should be easy to teach with and simple for students to use. [snip].




Thursday, February 3, 2011

Could iPads Or E-Readers Become The Future Of Education ... ?

SchoolSpring / February 2 2011

Anthony Jackson, Superintendent of the Henry County Public Schools, VA, said “From what I’ve seen, the iPad is going to be a transformational platform for textbooks”. Jackson said that the school system was so impressed when the first iPads arrive last summer that it used federal stimulus funds to expand the initial Pearson pilot program from 20 devices to 1,700. [snip]. (Dennis, 2011)

Just think about the millions of trees it takes to produce all the textbooks provided to students around the country. What if all those textbooks were on-line? Each student would only have to carry one small 8×10 lightweight ‘electronic textbook’ instead of up to 50 lbs of textbooks ... .

IPads are part of Pilot Programs in at least two areas of the country; Virginia and California.

“The iPads are part of an ambitious pilot program by the state of Virginia, targeted to a generation that has grown up surrounded by computer screens and digital gadgets. The devices offer a digital platform for longtime print textbook publishers like Pearson Education Inc., the British publishing firm with large divisions in Boston. [snip].

“Kathy Mickey, an analyst with Simba, said that the iPad has “a wow factor right now that’s attractive to everybody: students, teachers, and publishers. In addition, Mickey said, [snip].

Do you think the iPad program would work in your district?



CT > Blackboard And McGraw-Hill Test New Course System In 20 Pilots

Campus Technology / 01-27-11 / Dian Schaffhauser

A slew of schools are testing out a blend of course management functionality and textbook content that could make for a simpler transition for institutions to the use of more digital curriculum. Blackboard and McGraw-Hill Higher Education have put together an integrated digital course system that combines a single point of access, learning tools, and class content, along with multiple other features.

Currently, 20 colleges and universities are running pilots tests, and an additional 100 instructors are expected to participate. The offering combines the latest version of Blackboard Learn, a learning management system, with McGraw-Hill's Connect and Create. Connect is an application to help faculty create digital course content and assignments and do automatic grading; Create lets faculty compile textbooks that use their own materials as well as content from the company's publishing portfolio.

[snip]. Faculty can build their own textbooks by compiling chapters from the McGraw-Hill catalog and then selling them to students through a link on the course site. Other tools enable instructors to provide students with textual content and recorded lectures, also from within the course site.

The product is expected to be widely available in summer 2011 and will run on Blackboard Learn version 9.1.

"As instructors, we have limited time with our students in the classroom, and have found that digital programs allow us to continually engage with them on their schedule and in an online environment that they are comfortable in," said Kayla Christensen, a lecturer of accounting at Iowa State University, one of the schools that will pilot the new platform. "This solution will give us more time with our students and facilitate on-going learning and assessment through streamlined access to course materials.


Ray Henderson, Blackboard Learn president, believes the new offering will lead to "faster and deeper adoption of digital products" in higher education. "This is the industry's first solution that effectively pairs a top-flight learning platform with high quality, cloud-based publisher content and tools," he said. [snip].

The companies have provided a video that explains the integrated system online.



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Converge > E-readers, E-books Represent Future For [Houston[ Community College [Southwest]

Converge Magazine / January 20 2011 / Tanya Roscorla

After piloting e-readers and e-books in the classroom, Houston Community College Southwest decided the digital tools were ready for prime time this semester. And in the future, they're the way to go for this campus.

"Faculty want these devices, students are intrigued by them and are using them, and generally the response is positive to the device," said Doug Rowlett, instructional design coordinator for the Southwest campus.

With the Chancellor's Innovation Grant, Rowlett placed more than 200 e-readers in students' hands. Between fall 2009 and 2010, faculty members and about 350 students tested the Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad and enTourage eDGe. They also tested e-books to see how they would work in the classroom.


Faculty Members In Different Subject Areas Prefer Different e-Readers

In the humanities, faculty said the Kindle worked the best. In the sciences, iPads fit the bill. And in developmental classes, faculty preferred the eDGe.

Rowlett thought the English teachers would be all over the iPad, but they actually preferred the Kindle. In their classes, students primarily read books, and with the iPads, they didn't stay on task. [snip].

But science demands full color, interactivity and video to bring images and concepts to life. And that's where the iPad shines.

In developmental classes, instructors like the eDGe because it allows English language learners to improve their speaking by listening to audio files.They also use a stylus to take notes on the touchscreen, write a journal, watch movies, surf the web and read on the e-ink reading screen.


"None of the devices are perfect, but they all work well at what they’ve been designed to do. And so we’re finding that this is going to be the future as far as we’re concerned.”

E-books, e-Readers Represent The Future

But that future won't be device specific.

Rowlett submit[ted] a list of the devices that the college has tested and proven to work well in the classroom to the board. Then he'll leave it up to instructors to decide which devices they want students to use. As new devices come out, the college will test them and add them to the list if they work well.


Students Score Higher With e-Books, e-Readers

In the biology classes, students take standard entrance and exit exams, and the college compared classes that scored the same on the entrance exams. In the class with e-books and e-readers, students scored 15 to 17 points better than students in the traditional textbook class. And that's significant because those numbers could represent the difference between a C and B or a B and A.


E-readers Hold Up Over Time

During the study, the college also wanted to see whether the devices were robust enough to withstand use in the classroom. Out of the 200 devices, only five were damaged enough to be replaced, and that damage mostly came from being dropped. [snip].

E-books Save Students Money

One of the hurdles the college will have to overcome is getting financial aid to pay for the cost of the devices. This semester, faculty members signed up on waiting lists to check out sets of devices. [snip].

Rowlett encourages faculty members to use e-books and content freely available in the public domain as much as possible because of the traditional textbook prices. [snip].


If students bought a device the first semester, and their e-books cost 50 percent or less than the paper version, they would break even the first semester. The second semester, they would start saving money, and that's what students are excited about.

Texas A&M University-San Antonio > VitalSource® For Integrated e-Textbook Delivery

Texas A&M University-San Antonio is excited to announce our cutting edge e-book program using VitalSource, one of the most advanced e-book software systems in the world.

Beginning with the Fall 2010 semester, select courses will be “e-book classes,” where all students will only use e-books, resulting in a savings of money and paper.

Save Money. Use Your Financial Aid.

Using e-books instead of traditional NEW printed textbooks results in a savings of money and resources to both the student and the University. Students enrolled in courses using e-books will typically see a textbook cost savings of about 60% as compared to new textbooks. [snip].

Conveniently Green.

The e-book shelf, VitalSource, allows highlighting, note-taking, and note-sharing among you and your classmates. Professors can also make notes in the e-books and make them available by download to the class. Students will be able to download the e-book to two personal computers AND books are accessible online from any computer that has internet access ... .

[snip]. VitalSource also has apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch,, so the books go where you go.

Same Quality. More Options.

VitalSource allows for custom e-books built from multiple textbook publishers, so faculty pick and choose chapters from a base textbook and can even add chapters from another textbook, building a resource of unique classroom materials. Faculty can also add case studies and an assortment of other material available from the publisher, including interactive exercises, high quality videos, multimedia links and rich graphics.

Miss The Paper?

Students and faculty also have the option of printing the e-book through an agreement with a local printer. Students will pay about $0.02 per page for a printed e-book. This means that the typical printed price of the e-book will be about $10-$12, depending on the number of pages. [snip],


Student flyer and detailed information

Instructions on VitalSource integration within Blackboard

Spring 2011 printed e-book price list




Texas A&M University-San Antonio Chooses Ingram’s VitalSource® for Integrated e-Textbook Delivery