Saturday, March 31, 2012

UNC@C-H > Electronic Textbooks Influence Pedagogy

Is this the year of the electronic textbook?

In general, no, said Bob Henshaw, instructional technology consultant in the Center for Faculty Excellence, as he opened the March 16 Faculty Council discussion on the changing landscape of textbooks.

Henshaw, who moderated the five-person panel discussion, kicked off the conversation with two seemingly contradictory statements. Overall, there is no significant movement toward electronic textbooks at Carolina; however, students interact with content visually and bring more electronic devices to campus each semester.

Panelist Jean DeSaix, senior lecturer in biology and an e-textbook user for several years, said the most pressing issue was figuring out the challenges and opportunities e-textbooks present.

An e-textbook resembles a print textbook, but resides on the publisher’s website and requires users to purchase a time-limited access code. Unlike its hard-copy counterpart, there is nothing to sell back at semester’s end. And unlike a scanned PDF that’s posted online, an e-textbook is dynamic.

DeSaix said she liked the e-book’s annotation possibilities, the search function, the way that students can see additional information online and the opportunity to interact with students. But the tricky part is helping students know what works best for them. “E-books are not the be all, end all for everyone,” she said.

Kelly Hanner, course materials manager for Student Stores, said Carolina’s bookstore was one of the first university student stores to make e-textbooks available. Sales have increased since 2008, but there still is not a tremendous interest from the students, she said.

Zealan Hoover, student body vice president, presented the student perspective. “Affordability often trumps pedagogy when it comes to something like this,” he said.

He pointed out several issues that make students reluctant to embrace e-textbooks, including problems with transferability, permanence, retrieving specific material and making notes directly in the book.

Hidden costs are also an issue, he said. For example, some students prefer to read information on paper and are paying to print the material in addition to accessing it online.

“Students here are conservative when it comes to change, which surprises some people,” Hoover said.

In terms of learning, a digital version of what’s in print is least effective, said Sandi Kirshner from Pearson Publishing. But she stressed that technology can be effective in enhancing learning, and she believes that widespread adoption of devices like the tablet and smart phone will propel the use of e-books. In fact, current K–12 students, with their dependence on devices, are likely to be more comfortable with e-books than current college students are, Kirshner said.

Luke Swindler, coordinator of general collections for the University Libraries, said that e-books still are a relatively small niche. As the University community prepares for a transition to electronic textbooks, he advised faculty members to become involved in the issues and remain informed.

For additional information about issues surrounding electronic textbooks, see




Lightening The Backpack Of Education: E-Readers And E-Textbooks

Anecdotal evidence among educators and the 76 million American students alike shows a resounding "yes" to the question of whether education should transition from traditional textbooks to those in e-reader formats. This technology is also clearly shifting economics of media.  [snip].  Book bags weighted down with heavy textbooks seem costly, cumbersome, antiquated and perhaps even a barrier to learning in the style in which this generation of laptop and smartphone users have come to pioneer. While the e-reader concept seems automatic to many, the logistics have posed some questions. While not all of those answers have been trouble shot, the promise of the technology will likely make investing in an e-reader both personally and in the market a potential win-win.

The New College Try …

College is an ideal environment for e-reader implementation. The independence, technology and responsibility factor lessen the issues concerning adopting this tool educationally at younger ages. Tangible college textbooks can cost upwards of $1100 per academic year according to a recent CollegeBoard study. Unlike K-12 education, textbook costs are footed by the student.


Today's K-12 Textbook Market

Publishers, e-readers and educators see the writing on the wall and want to be positioned for the transition to digital textbooks. Unlike some emerging technologies, this revolution will not necessarily increase market demand for the product. The high cost of the academic development of the published product will remain, but the physical production costs of paper, binding and shipping will all but disappear. The fight for market share will be fierce. Publishers will strategize to partner directly with one e-reader exclusively or offer its product across a range of e-readers for download.

Like the college market, the e-reader competitors must establish themselves. With the controlled market of K-12 education, students do not have the choice factor of course materials or formats necessarily. Will the future see e-reader manufactures courting school systems with partnered textbooks offered on only their product?  [snip].

Who Wins, Who Loses in an E-Textbook Atmosphere?

Non-affiliated online textbook stores offering an array of digital and tangible texts may see a boost from the big e-reader manufacturers' competition. Already in the digital game are competitors including and CourseSmart, launched in 2007, which has 90% of textbooks used in core courses which can be read on a variety of e-readers.


The question remains if the K-12 educational system and student will win. Can e-readers save budget restricted school systems much needed money? Averaging over $460 in texts per student per grade-level in a system could be replaced by an e-reader and book rights at a fraction of the cost. But can young students be trusted with expensive technology? Does having this technology pose threats of theft or misuse? Will offering technology in the classroom actually improve education and spark motivation? These are all interesting questions that will be met with many different answers over the coming years.[snip]

Source and Fulltext Available At


The Ultimate Hack: Re-coding Textbooks and Other Learning Content (Introduction)

Posted on by Rob Reynolds


This is a book about making things. More precisely, it is a book about making things better. In this case, the “things” I want to improve are textbooks and other types of learning content.

I want to re-envision these things because they have outlived their purpose and because their design is based on constructs that are no longer relevant to education or the learning process.

Over the course of this book, I will introduce an entirely new type of coding for learning content, one that can help us revolutionize the learning content industry and, at the same time, greatly reduce the cost of learning materials for students. And, because this is a book about doing as much as it is about thinking, I will actually create a complete example of this new kind of “textbook” over the course of our journey together.

Indeed, this is a book about hacking the code of learning content and re-engineering it into a form that will work for the future. It is about imagining learning content differently. About creating it faster and less completely. Constructing it fluidly and with constant room for change and improvement.

This approach, with an emphasis on granularity rapid iterations, and constant feedback, will strike many as counterintuitive, and is purposely aligned with the hacker culture that has become prevalent in many software companies and most technology startups. For further context, let’s take a look at that culture and begin thinking about how it might apply to learning content.


Source and Fulltext Available At


Thursday, March 29, 2012

FCC Chairman Genachowski to Hosted Leaders From the Digital Education Ecosystem to Drive National Adoption of Digital Textbooks

See Also >

U.S. Officials Tackle National Adoption of Digital Textbooks

LEAD Commission Followed with ED, FCC Support

Leading Education and Technology Advocates Announce the “Leading Education by Advancing Digital” (Lead) Commission, Organized to Advance the Nation’s Transition to Digital Learning

Monday, March 26, 2012

China Education Resources To Provide Digital Textbooks for Guizhou Province Students

VANCOUVER, March 26, 2012 /CNW/ - China Education Resources, Inc. ("CER") (TSXV: CHN) (OTCQX: CHNUF), a leading technology provider of online learning, training courses, social networking and tools for teachers, students and education professionals in China, is pleased to provide an update to shareholders:

CER has been selected by Guizhou education authority to provide digital textbook contents to the students of Guizhou province in 2012. CER is in discussion with other provinces for similar digital textbook programs.

"We are delighted to see progress across a number of our product offerings. China's education digitization program is providing abundant opportunities for CER and other education service providers. Over the past few years, CER has developed the infrastructure to take advantage of this business and it is beginning to bear fruit. This is especially true of CER's portal (CERSP) which has been engaged by 14 provinces for online teacher training programs and has over one million teachers registered. We are also being increasingly approached by publishers and content providers for digital education material development." said Chengfeng Zhou, CEO, China Education Resources Inc..




ETextbooks Widely Used, But Banned In Some Classes

By Stephen Keleher | March 25, 2012

A recent study indicates that students are on board with eTextbooks and welcome them into their courses. CourseSmart surveyed more than 500 college students and found that students are completely dependent on technologies — eReaders, smartphones, laptops and more — to get through their daily college routine. Of the students surveyed, 98 percent own a digital device and 85 percent reported that technology saves them time when studying — an average of two hours per day.
Another study by textbook publisher Pearson showed that tablet ownership among college students and high school seniors has risen drastically in the last year. Ownership has tripled among college students — at 25 percent versus 7 percent in 2011 — and quadrupled among high school seniors, 17 percent versus 4 percent in 2011.

The survey reveals that more students are reading digital books, and that the majority of college students (63 percent) and high school seniors (69 percent) believe that tablets will effectively replace textbooks within the next five years.

But in 2012 at Fresno State, not everybody is necessarily on board. Ignacio Gonzales, a fifth-year Spanish major with a focus on pre-med, has had his Barnes & Noble Nook for two months now, but has not used it for eTextbooks as much as he thought he would.

“I was looking for a cheaper way to get my books,” Gonzales said. “I had assumed that I’d be able to get my books a lot cheaper through the Nook. I was assuming the PDF files would be substantially less expensive than the hard copy but that isn’t always the case.”


There are many instructors who don’t accept or allow electronic media in the classroom at all.

“I have said, ‘OK, I’m not allowing electronic devices,’” said drama instructor Gregg Dion.

“But now we have the Kindle Fire and iPads,” Dion said. “So now, how do I know that somebody is looking at their text in class and not looking at ESPN or email?”

A student at the Madden Library said she had one of her textbooks on her Kindle, but her instructor did not allow tablets like the Kindle in the classroom.

Whether tablets are embraced or banned can also depend on the class topic. Mathematics, engineering and the sciences appear to favor eTextbook use.

English education major José Ruiz bought his iPad two semesters ago primarily to take advantage of eTextbooks.

“I use it for documents so it saves money to not have to print stuff out and to have it right there,” Ruiz said. “I’ve bought four books for this semester. And I plan to buy more next semester. For one, they’re cheaper and you don’t have to carry them around. You have them in one place.”

Ruiz makes use of the advanced features of eTextbooks, especially the cloud features.

“Yes, I use the cloud,” Ruiz added. “Sometimes if I’m not reading it on the iPad I can read it on my iPod Touch. I have a Kindle app so I can save them on the iPod or even on a computer.”



Electronic Texts Pilot for Fall 2012: Prospectus and Invitation

Internet2 and EDUCAUSE invite your institution to participate in a Fall 2012 electronic-textbook pilot. The pilot’s goal is to explore new business models, terms, and conditions that will enable simpler, more efficient access to digital educational materials (etexts) at your institution. Institutions that participate in the pilot will be helping higher education collectively to demonstrate new etexts models. These seek to provide students substantial savings and to provide publishers greater efficiency and reasonable returns on their textbook investments. The pilot centers on delivering etexts to students and faculty via an institutional site license, rather than through individual purchases by students.

If your institution is interested in joining the pilot, you must let us know by April 7, 2012; your expression of interest must be confirmed by a signed Memorandum of Intent by April 15. The pilot will include no more than 50 institutions.

The pilot involves three components: etexts from major textbook publishers (we expect two or three to participate in due course), a multi-platform e-reader that students and faculty use to access etexts (this will be provided by Courseload), and institutions that agree to identify faculty and course sections interested in using etexts.

The pilot works as follows:

  • Publishers provide participating institutions access to etexts within the specific classes or sections involved in the pilot. Students have access to the etexts until the end of the fall 2012 quarter or semester so long as they remain registered in the class. They may print part or all of the etexts themselves directly from the e-reader, or for a modest fee they may obtain copies of the etexts from a third-party print-on-demand service.
  • Courseload provides faculty and students access to the etexts via an e-reader. The e-reader is integrated with the institution’s Learning Management System (LMS), is based on HTML5, and works on just about every device with a browser including most of those that run Windows, MacOS, iOS, or Android. The e-reader allows faculty and students not only to read the etexts, but also to annotate them, to highlight passages, and to share annotations with fellow students and with faculty. The e-reader is available both online and offline, so that students and faculty can access their etexts even when their devices are disconnected from the Internet.
  • Courseload’s e-reader uses the same authentication mechanism the participating institution already uses to associate students with specific classes or sections in the institution’s LMS or student system. That is, the pilot will not require students to have an additional username or password. Only one LMS/authentication mechanism per participating institution can be integrated.
  • Institutions pay a flat fee for these services. Internet2 will receive these fees and disburse funds to the vendors. The flat fee is all inclusive, and covers the e-reader platform, publisher-provided content, external integration to the LMS, and support. The pilot explicitly excludes per-student, per-item, and other à la carte approaches.
This pilot builds on a successful initiative at Indiana University, later extended to several other institutions through a collaboration with Internet2. Details were further specified by an EDUCAUSE/Internet2 design team comprising Debi Allison (Miami-Ohio), Joel Cooper (Carleton), Jerry Grochow (Internet2), Greg Jackson (EDUCAUSE), Pattie Orr (Baylor), Nik Osborne (Indiana), and Shel Waggener (UC-Berkeley). We have invited major higher-education textbook providers to participate, and several have expressed interest. As of March 20, McGraw Hill has agreed to be one of the participating publishers, and we expect one or two others to agree shortly.

One goal of the pilot is to explore ways to address accessibility and the opportunities the shift to digital can provide. Courseload, publishers, and institutions will work together to ensure that students needing accommodation are served appropriately, and that best practices are documented.

Now, a few more specifics

  • To participate in the pilot, an institution must be a member of EDUCAUSE and/or Internet2.
  • The pilot will comprise no more than 50 individual institutions.
  • Each institution must use a single LMS or SIS for the classes or sections that participate in the pilot.
  • Each institution chooses between two levels of participation. Tier 1 is limited to 20 sections and/or 800 students (whichever limit applies first) for a $20,000 fee. Tier 2 is limited to 40 sections and/or 1600 students (whichever limit applies first) for a $35,000 fee.
  • Participating institutions may also use the Courseload e-reader in additional sections to deliver Open Educational Resources, faculty-authored, or other non-copyrighted digital content as part of the pilot. These additional sections do not count against the total number of sections defined in the tiers, and are provided via Courseload at no additional cost.
  • Publishers and Courseload may not use data on student identity, attributes, usage, or similar information for any purpose not directly relevant to the pilot or any related research project, and must purge all student data at the conclusion of the pilot.
  • Participating institutions will be offered the opportunity to participate in a coordinated research study regarding the effectiveness of the pilot on their campuses.
  • Institutions must express interest by April 7, and are expected to participate in an interactive webinar to make sure they understand the pilot terms and conditions before formally committing to the pilot.
  • Interested institutions must file a formal Memorandum of Intent with Internet2 by April 15 committing to the pilot’s terms and conditions and confirming that they have no contractual conflicts, such as exclusivity clauses with current content providers and/or bookstores.
  • We expect the first 50 institutions to file a Memorandum of Intent to be admitted to the pilot. However, EDUCAUSE and Internet2 may modify the participant list if necessary to ensure a diverse set of participating institutions.

This pilot is an initial proof-of-concept activity under a partnership between Internet2 and EDUCAUSE. It may expand over time to include additional components (such as additional publishers or e-readers). We anticipate it will lay the foundation for further collaboration among the two organizations and outside entities. If you have questions about the pilot, please write to and we will respond as quickly as possible. 22 March 2012 (d)  

Source And Links Available At

Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Beyond the Textbook: A Future Peek NSTA Event > Saturday | Mar 31, 2012 | 8:30AM - 3:30 PM

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High Shool 418 / 1140 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street / Indianapolis, IN


8:30-9:30  > Registration and Breakfast

9:00-9:30  > Opening Session: Don't Look at the Duck / Lance Rougeux, Discovery Educator Network

9:45-12:00  > Morning Sessions:
  • Classroom View of the Digital Textbook / presented by Patti Duncan
  • Effective Instructional Strategies Using the Science Techbook / presented by Lance Rougeux
  • Field Reports: Best Practices from Around the Country / Mike Bryant
12:00-1:00  > Lunch
1:15-2:15  > Afternoon Sessions:
  • Classroom View of the Digital Textbook / Patti Duncan
  • Effective Instructional Strategies Using the Science Techbook / Lance Rougeux
  • Field Reports: Best Practices from Around the Country / Mike Bryant
2:30-3:30  > Closing Session: Moving Beyond the Textbook

Questions? Contact
Source and Links (Including Registration) Available At


In South Korean Classrooms, Digital Textbook Revolution Meets Some Resistance

By Chico Harlan, Published: March 24

SEOUL — Five years ago, South Korea mapped out a plan to transform its education system into the world’s most cutting-edge. The country would turn itself into a “knowledge powerhouse,” one government report declared, breeding students “equipped for the future.” These students would have little use for the bulky textbooks familiar to their parents. Their textbooks would be digital, accessible on any screen of their choosing. Their backpacks would be much lighter.

By setting out to swap traditional textbooks for digital ones, the chief element of its plan for transformation, South Korea tried to anticipate the future — and its vision has largely taken shape with the global surge of tablets, smartphones and e-book readers.

But South Korea, among the world’s most wired nations, has also seen its plan to digitize elementary, middle and high school classrooms by 2015 collide with a trend it didn’t anticipate: Education leaders here worry that digital devices are too pervasive and that this young generation of tablet-carrying, smartphone-obsessed students might benefit from less exposure to gadgets, not more.

Those concerns have caused South Korea to pin back the ambition of the project, which is in a trial stage at about 50 schools. Now, the full rollout won’t be a revolution: Classes will use digital textbooks alongside paper textbooks, not instead of them. First- and second-graders, government officials say, probably won’t use the gadgets at all.


Other countries are watching closely, because no other nation, according to government officials here, has a similarly ambitious digital plan. The nearest comparison might be in Florida, where officials last year proposed phasing out traditional textbooks by 2015.


Education officials here fear that if tablets and laptops become mandatory in the classroom, students could become even more device-dependent. They might also suffer from vision problems. Some parents, officials say, have expressed the concern that their kids will struggle to keep their focus on studying when using an Internet-connected device.

Before making a complete transition to digital books, the government should study the “health effects” on students, said Jeong Kwang-hoon, chief of the online learning division at the Korea Education and Research Information Service, a government-sponsored institute that is working with private companies to create digital textbooks.

Scaled-down ambitions

South Korea’s education ministry never said explicitly that paper textbooks would disappear. But the 2007 plan spoke in sweeping terms about “overcoming the limit” of traditional learning, so education experts here assumed as much.

Only last summer did the government unveil the specifics. South Korea said it would introduce the first set of e-textbooks nationwide by 2015 at the latest. The content would be accessible on any device — on tablets or laptops, in classrooms or at home, on Apples or Samsungs, the homegrown electronics company whose rise corresponds with Korea’s economic emergence. But the plan was scaled back, too, with officials saying paper textbooks still need a prime place in classrooms.


At least 10 South Korean publishing companies are building digital textbooks. The crudest versions are much like copied pages of a traditional textbook; the pages are digital, but you can’t play around with them. The more advanced versions, though, are packed with 3-D animation and video clips. There’s also the possibility that the textbooks can be updated in real-time — although textbooks here are government-approved, and any changes would require a bureaucratic review.


A Changing Classroom

Digital textbooks do, though, change the very nature of the classroom. Teachers who embrace the digital textbooks, education experts say, become more like “companions” in the education process, not just lecturing, but also helping students to conduct their own Google searches and to make sense of simulations featured in the e-textbooks.


Source and Links Available At


Discovery Education Leads K-12 Digital Textbook Growth ...

-- Discovery Education Science and Social Studies Techbooks engage students beyond the walls of the classroom through dynamic, interactive learning experiences --

Silver Spring, Md. (March 23, 2012) – Leading the movement to transform classrooms through engaging digital content and deep professional development, Discovery Education is announcing an expansion of its digital textbook series to now include middle school social studies and high school science subjects. A complete digital solution that replaces traditional textbooks, the Discovery Education Middle School Social Studies Techbooks and the High School Science Techbooks inspire students’ curiosity and promote critical thinking through differentiated digital resources including interactive explorations and uniquely compelling video, images and informational text.


Launching in classrooms for the 2012-2013 school year, the Discovery Education Social Studies and Science Techbooks provide dynamic and engaging resources that meet the unique needs of individual learning styles. Through the inquiry-based 5E model of instruction (engage, explore, explain, extend and evaluate) used across the Techbooks’ platform, students develop a deeper understanding of the content and concepts. Updated in real-time, the Techbooks provide teachers the opportunity to incorporate cutting-edge thinking and current issues into their curriculum. The Techbooks also include an assessment component that measures students’ progress and recommends individualized resources that reinforce classroom instruction.


The Discovery Education High School Science Techbooks feature interactive glossaries, explorations, informational text, and hands-on and virtual labs and include the following subjects:
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Physics
The Discovery Education Middle School Social Studies Techbooks feature dynamic, multimedia reference libraries; interactive maps, explorations and activities; primary source documents; informational text; and model lessons for every concept and include the following subjects:
  • United States History
  • World History
  • World Geography and Cultures
Discovery Education launched its revolutionary digital textbook series in the fall of 2011 with Techbooks for K-8 Science. The K-8 Science Techbooks are currently available in 36 states and provinces and have been adopted for use in classrooms across Texas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana and Oregon. In the first year of implementation, it has positively impacted more than 200,000 students and teachers nationwide.


Source and Links Available At

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Podcast > Beyond the Textbook Forum > March 18-19 2012

Dutch Committee Proposes to Build Steve Jobs' iPad-Equipped Classroom

In his biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson shared a story of Jobs' meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. Along with sharing his displeasure at the difficulty in building a factory in the United States, he also disassembled America's education system.

It was absurd, he added that American classrooms were still based on teachers standing at a board and using textbooks. All books, learning materials, and assessments should be digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time.

Jobs wanted to hire great textbook writers to create digital versions, and make them a feature of the iPad. He wanted to make textbooks free and bundled with the iPad, and believed such a system would give states the opportunity to save money.

A panel of four Dutch educators and politicians is proposing to fulfill Steve Jobs' vision and create a school where students are taught with iPads. The proposal will be presented on Monday [Google Translate] in Amsterdam. The plan, called Education for a New Era, is designed to help students learn "21st century skills" and push the limits of what can be done in a classroom.

It is just a proposal for the time being, but the promoters wish to test existing educational apps and encourage more to be developed. The so-called "Steve Jobs schools" would open their doors in August 2013.

[snip] Apple presumably wants to expand the project to include all grade levels, and eventually fulfill Jobs' vision of a digital classroom.    

Source and Links Available Via


Friday, March 23, 2012

College Open Textbooks Blog

About College Open Textbooks

The Community College Open Textbooks Collaborative is funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This collection of sixteen educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. This includes providing training for instructors adopting open resources, peer reviews of open textbooks, and mentoring online professional networks that support for authors opening their resources, and other services.
The initiatives and leadership of College Open Textbooks are driven by member organizations including Benetech Bookshare, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Carnegie Mellon University, Community College for Open Educational Resources, Foothill De Anza Community College District, Flat World Knowledge, Florida Distance Learning Consortium, Happy About, Inc., Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), League of Innovation, Macmillan Dynamic Books, MERLOT, Open Education Resources Center for California, Rice University Connexions, Textbook Media, Virtual Ability, and Words & Numbers.

The formation of the College Open Textbooks coincides with the growing international interest in open educational resources and the need to move to open digital textbooks as a way to help financially distressed states such as California reduce the cost of public education.

The focus of these efforts could save students millions of dollars by increasing the number of open high-quality textbooks available online as alternatives to expensive printed textbooks sold by publishers.

Key highlights of the initiative include:
  • A campaign to raise the awareness about open textbooks among community college instructors, students and authors as well as to state legislators.
  • Increasing the role of advocacy by providing online and peer communities that will provide Train the Trainer programs and a repository of reusable training and marketing materials for them to use in their roles as evangelists and advocates at their colleges.
  • Increase the use of open textbook adoptions in key disciplines such as math.
  • Create an easy-to-use central repository for toolsets that can be shared amongst the peer communities and initiatives created to promote and support open textbook adoption.
College Open Textbooks has peer-reviewed more than 100 open textbooks for use in community college courses and identified more than 550: College Open Textbooks has already peer-reviewed several new open textbooks for use in community college courses and identified more than 250 others for consideration. Open textbooks are freely available for use without restriction and can be downloaded or printed from web sites and repositories.

The College Open Textbooks program is led by Jacky Hood, Director; Una Daly, Associate Director; Judy Baker, Administrative Director, Monica Sain, Administrative/Web Assistant, and Barbara Illowsky, Director Emeritus. Other key individuals are Alice Krueger, Bill Buxton, Clare Middleton-Detzner, Jim Huether, Kathi Fletcher, Micheline Isaac, Liz Yata, Mitchell Levy, Randy Fisher, and Sharyn Fitzpatrick.

To join the Ning Communities supported by this initiative, go to: and



Blog Available At


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Podcast > Open Source Comes to Textbooks

College professors are ready to reinvent the textbook. The new price: $0


One of the most serious efforts is a project called OpenStax College  based out of Rice University. Later this month, it will release two textbooks: College Physics and Introduction to Sociology. The textbooks will run on an “open education platform” called Connexions spelled with an x—that already draws a million visitors a month. OpenStax College may well give the standard texts in those two fields a real run for their money.

Richard Baraniuk is the founder and director of the Connexions platform. He is the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. He joins us from Houston, Texas.

Source and Links Available At


Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm Going #BeyondTheTextbook By ...

CourseSmart Launches Enhanced Reading Platform

CourseSmart, a provider of etextbooks and digital course materials, announced the launch of the New CourseSmart eTextbook Reader, an enhanced reading platform providing a greater overall user experience, new tools and viewing options. [snip].

The New CourseSmart Reader is available now and can be used with any browser that supports Adobe Flash Player. The New CourseSmart Reader has faster page loading times, streamlined navigation, and multi-level zooming capabilities. In addition to a new look and feel, users will have access to new tools and functionality to enhance the learning experience, including the following:
  • Notes Management: Ability to view all notes, highlights and annotations in a single location through the My Notes tab, turning annotations made in the margins into a streamlined study guide which can be printed or reviewed on a mobile device for a quick review before a test or exam
  • Highlighting: Capability to activate highlighting function with a single click and add notes to highlighted text
  • Bookmarking: Navigate to bookmark location with a single click and create bookmarks for specific pages
  • Search: Navigate between search results and book contents as well as view page content alongside the search results through the Search-In-Book function.
With the addition of the New CourseSmart Reader, CourseSmart now offers three reading experiences to ensure students have superior access to their digital course materials on any device they are using. The Classic CourseSmart Reader will continue to provide the reading experience that students and faculty have grown accustom to and the Accessible CourseSmart Reader remains the industry's most accessible platform, providing a reading experience specifically designed for use with screen readers.



Beyond the Textbook, Beyond the Tablet, and Back to Basics

The Learning Lot > March 19 2012


I'm reminded of that experience as I read the contributions of various folk leading up to Discovery Education’s Beyond the Textbook Forum. David Warlick asked readers of his blog to make suggestions about the future of the textbook and they responded that it will be:
  • like a quest
  • like a production studio
  • like an extension of our brains
  • like a reality game
  • like a video playlist
  • like swiss army knife
  • like a personal assistant
  • like a platform that provokes conversation
  • like a holodeck
  • like a choose your own adventure story
  • like a Palantir
  • map for a learning journey
  • like an interaction engine
  • like a Matrix up-link
  • like an aggregator that searches and updates content
  • more like a word problem than a calculation problem
Bud Hunt had a few suggestions of his own for the people attending. I really like this thought in particular.
The best textbooks moving forward are likely those that start with small building blocks from publishers, OER repositories, classrooms, websites, movie studios, and pretty much any other source for interesting information, and they become textbooks when they are hung onto a curriculum frame by a local school district. This might be done by a committee of teachers, or a small group of curriculum coordinators in a front office somewhere, but what important is that it’s not done by a salesperson seeking to please a state official in Texas or California.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Discovery Education > Science Techbook

Built from the ground up to address state and Core Standards, Discovery Education SCIENCE TECHBOOK is the new primary instructional resource for elementary and middle schools. Dynamic, interactive resources support the 5E Model of Instruction and capture digitally native students’ attention.

Lively, interactive resources that capture the attention of students
  • Custom, in-person professional development builds capacity to ensure effective implementation
  • Cost-effective and efficient
  • Organized around the teacher-friendly 5E Instructional Model and integrates the nature of science and inquiry into every phase of learning
  • Designed around big ideas and essential questions
  • Customized to your state standards
  • Student resources for ALL learning styles
  • Key teacher resources
  • Up-to-date content
  • Real-time feedback
Source and Links to Sample Content and Demo Video Etc Available At


Beyond The Textbook Forum / 1 Discovery Place, Silver Spring, MD / March 18-19, 2012


Students Use of eTextbooks [Infographic]


Given this shift in behavior towards technological dependence, it's unsurprising that almost three-quarters (73%) of students surveyed claim they would not be able to study without using some form of technology. Additionally, it is clear that laptops and Smartphones are two types of devices that students are using to further their academic potential. Nearly half (48%) of all students who own a tech device frequently read eTextbooks and 63% have read an eTextbook on their device at least once. In fact, of the 91% of students who said they failed to complete required reading before classes, about half (46%) reported they would be more likely to complete their reading if it was in a digital format.

>>> Infographic <<<

According to the survey, eReaders and eTextbooks are some of the emerging technologies helping students save time while still being effective. While 69% said an eTextbook is easier to carry than a traditional textbook, 61% cited that eTextbooks make it far easier to search within a text (thus saving time), 60% mentioned that eTextbooks save them money, and 55% said that they are easier to read "on the go."

Additionally, new media options are increasingly engaging students, who said they use tools such as CourseSmart (39%), videos and podcasts (24%) and iTunes® (12%) to access study materials from a professor — a far cry from the library card catalogues and encyclopedias of previous generations. Students are also spending their time using email (89%) and school Web sites (83%) for gathering course materials from their professors.


Furthermore, outside of everyday reading and studying, students also use digital devices for many of the tasks that previously required a pencil and paper to carry out—writing papers (82%), research (81%), taking class notes (70%) and making class presentations (65%).


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63% of High School Students Want Textbooks that Communicate with Classmates [Infographic]

Today’s students are digital natives, and they are using their devices to connect with each other all the time during school. A new infographic looks at just how many of them are using social networks, and what they are doing on those social networks during school. The infographic also asks how schools can harness this social force for learning.


We’re not just talking about college students, either — children aged 2-11 make up nearly 9.5% of the online universe. 73% of wired teens are using social networking sites and 25% of time spent online by Americans is on social networks and blogs.

For instance, 63% of students grade 6-12 want online textbooks that allow them to communicate with classmates. We really are facing a new generation of students and there is going to be a big market for evolving education systems.



Friday, March 16, 2012

Most U.S. College Students Now Prefer Digital Reading

The majority of U.S. college students now prefer digital formats whether they’re reading textbooks or “fun” books, according to a new survey from the Pearson Foundation.

“Survey on Students and Tablets 2012”  polled 1,206 U.S. college students and 204 college-bound high school seniors. Some findings:

—College students prefer digital over print for “fun” reading (57 percent) and textbook reading (58 percent), “a reversal from last year, when more students preferred print over digital.” Pearson says the trend is also apparent among high-school seniors (though it doesn’t break out which format the majority prefer), “and is mostly driven by an increase in the preference to use tablets for reading.” The study doesn’t ask whether students are using tablets or e-ink e-readers for reading.

—A quarter of college students now own a tablet, compared to just 7 percent last year. Seventeen percent of college-bound high school seniors own a tablet, compared to four percent last year.

—Thirty-five percent of college students who own a tablet also own “an e-book reader or small tablet device.” (Not sure what a “small tablet device” is! Asking Pearson.)

—Among college students who own tablets, the iPad is the most popular (63 percent), followed by the Kindle Fire (26 percent) and Samsung Galaxy Tab (15 percent).

Source and Links Available at


Original Pearson Press Release


Campus Technology Article


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Learning from YouTube > Open Access Video-Book

Learning from YouTube / Alexandra Juhasz / MIT Press / 2010 -

Learning from YouTube, the first video—book published by the MIT Press, investigates these questions with a series of more than 200 texts and videos—"texteos." In scholarly fashion, it has ten "YouTours" composed of sequenced texteos making lengthier arguments. Unlike other books, however, video holds much of its meaning, many authors— students, YouTubers, and other scholars - share its (web) pages, it is written in a relatively informal voice, it cannot be printed and will appear only online, and content can and will be added. YouTube is its subject, form, method, problem, and solution.

The user can navigate the book by following the YouTours, using tags, or searching. Navigating the book, users will encounter Juhasz "pushing around Henry Jenkins"; holding an online off-classroom class ("what a failure! and it’s all YouTube’s fault!"); being interviewed by Fox News; considering "bad video" and the possibilities of effective political video; and much more.

About the Author

Alexandra Juhasz is Professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College, Claremont, California. This video—book is the pilot project of an initiative of the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture funded by the Mellon Foundation. It was selected for publication, peer reviewed, and copy-edited by the MIT Press.

Available at

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Webinar > Digital Course Materials: Successful School-Wide Adoptions

As colleges and universities face a variety of issues—from controlling costs to improving retention—"going digital" becomes a priority to address some of these challenges. Despite years of talk, however, there aren’t many institutions that have successfully achieved their programmatic and financial goals for adopting digital course materials.
Institutions that have been successful share common elements: they’ve developed comprehensive plans that include change management tools; and they’ve actively worked to maximize the digital availability of their booklists in their single, preferred eTextbook platform.
[Learn] how ED MAP partnered with Herzing University and Madison Media Institute as they migrated to eTextbooks to help them:
  •  Determine the best approach for a digital migration and establish a change management plan
  •  Work with publishers on textbook conversions and assist with textbook adoptions, if needed
  •  Assess student and faculty readiness
  •  Provide training to administrators, faculty and students
  •  Plus, much more
  •  Sarah Riddlebarger, Vice President of Client Services, ED MAP, Inc.
  •  Todd Rickel, Vice President of eLearning and President, Herzing University Online
  •  Bret Ammons, Dean of the College, Madison Media Institute
  •  Eric Kuennen, Business Development Manager, Pearson Learning Solutions
Moderated by: Linda Briggs, contributing editor, Campus Technology

Original webinar air date: March 12th, 2012

Note: Free registration required to access.

14- Page White Paper Now Available At ]

Source and Link

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Q & A


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Digital Textbook Playbook

The Digital Textbook Playbook is a guide to help K-12 educators and administrators begin building rich digital learning experiences for students in districts across the country. The playbook offers information about determining broadband infrastructure for schools and classrooms, leveraging home and community broadband to extend the digital learning environment, and understanding necessary device considerations. It also provides lessons learned from school districts that have engaged in successful transitions to digital learning.

The Digital Textbook Playbook was developed by the Digital Textbook Collaborative, a joint effort of industry stakeholders, school officials and nonprofit leaders to encourage collaboration, accelerate the development of digital textbooks and improve the quality and penetration of digital learning in K-12 public education. The collaborative was convened by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Education and builds upon the FCC’s National Broadband Plan and the Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan

Links To

  • Read the Digital Textbook Playbook
  • Download the Digital Textbook Playbook [pdf]
  • Digital Learning Day Event Coverage
  • Chairman Genachowski's Remarks at the Digital Learning Day Event
  • Fact Sheet