Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Open Education Matters < Submitted by Flat World Knowledge

Issues in OER: Panel Presentation


  • McGreal, Rory
  • Olcott, Don
  • Conole, Grainne
  • Bossu, Carina
  • Anderson, Terry

Keywords: Open Educational Resources OER

Issue Date: 21-Mar-2011


Open Educational Resources (OERs) are becoming increasingly popular in educational institutions. OERs include all educational resources - normally digital in nature such as learning objects, open courseware, etc. that can be freely accessed (with no cost to users) via the Internet with minimal or no restrictions. UNESCO (2002, Paragraph 3) has defined OERs as the OERs are normally accessed freely using the World Wide Web either on institutional sites or in organizational repositories. Course developers, teachers and instructors are principal users of OERs, but there is a growing number of students who are accessing them directly to augment their learning. OERs include learning objects such as modularized lessons, video and audio lectures (podcasts), references, workbooks and textbooks, multimedia simulations, experiments and demonstrations, as well as syllabi, curricula and lesson plans. This panel will lead a discussion on major issues associated with the creation, adaptation, localization, dissemination and reuse of OERs.

Description: A panel of five experts from four different countries introducing their issues about OER.


Source Available At 

Student eBook Use Accelerating in Schools

Thousands of K-12 schools engage students on tablets, smartphones and eReaders

(San Diego, Calif.) - June 25, 2012 -

Schools across the United States and around the world are reaping the benefits of lending eBooks and audiobooks, with usage taking off in school libraries, media centers and classrooms.  OverDrive, a leading supplier of school eBooks and audiobooks, is supporting reading programs and literacy campaigns in more than 3,000 schools for millions of students worldwide. [snip].

OverDrive supplements existing school library collections with digital content available to students anytime, anywhere, on all major eReading devices, computers, tablets and smartphones, including Kindle (U.S. only). The OverDrive children's and young adult catalog encompasses more than 300,000 popular and educational titles—including the Harry Potter series—from publishers like Scholastic Audio, Lerner Publishing Group, Capstone Press, ABDO, Disney Digital Books, Encyclopedia Britannica, Crabtree Publishing, Saddleback Educational Publishing, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Random House. Currently, OverDrive supplies schools in 41 states and 16 countries.


Building on the success of its eBook platform also in place at more than 18,000 public libraries, OverDrive's Next Generation service enhancements will extend the value for schools during the 2012-'13 school year. The browser-based eReading experience OverDrive Read™ will give readers instant access to eBooks, both online and offline. Similarly, Streaming Audiobooks will enable on-demand access via the OverDrive Media Console apps for Windows®, Mac®, iPhone®, iPad®, Android™, Windows® Phone and BlackBerry®. School librarians will find powerful tools in the all-new Content Reserve collection development portal, which will integrate Lexile scores, Renaissance Learning's Accelerated Reader program, and the Fountas & Pinnell assessment system.

Source and Fulltext Available At 


McGraw-Hill Higher Education Collaborates with Desire2Learn to Enable Seamless Access to Resources via the McGraw-Hill Campus Digital Educational Service

New York and Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, June 19, 2012

McGraw-Hill Higher Education and Desire2Learn Incorporated ("Desire2Learn") today announced an expansion of their collaborative relationship. This relationship will enable a deeper integration of McGraw-Hill Campus, McGraw-Hill's groundbreaking content and course integration service, within Desire2Learn Learning Environment. [snip]

McGraw-Hill Campus grants faculty and students universal access to McGraw-Hill's world-class course solutions and online resources through Desire2Learn Learning Environment - whether or not they use a McGraw-Hill title. The service is available at no additional cost to the institution, and is part of Desire2Learn's commitment to delivering an extensible and flexible platform. McGraw-Hill Campus provides users with single sign-on access to all of McGraw-Hill Education's digital content, streamlining, simplifying and enriching the user experience. With one click, instructors and students can instantly browse, search and access the entire library of McGraw-Hill instructional resources and services including e-books, test banks, PowerPoint slides, animations and learning objects.[snip].


The number one reason professors and students reach out for technical support is due to issues with login and registration. By reducing technical issues for students, faculty and IT administrators, Desire2Learn and McGraw-Hill Education are reducing the amount of time that schools and instructors spend dealing with IT problems and with the integration, the companies will further enhance the learner experience. This underscores Desire2Learn's focus on allowing educators to concentrate on what matters most - teaching and learning - and enabling students to succeed by eliminating obstacles to accessing engaging digital learning.

Nearly 255 higher education institutions have already implemented McGraw-Hill Campus, which is expected to expand further in the coming months. With a future release planned for summer 2012 that integrates grade books, the Desire2Learn/McGraw-Hill collaboration will enable faculty to spend more time teaching and less time on administration. [snip]


Source and Fulltext Available At



Partner Series: McGraw-Hill Campus - Discover What's Possible / June 26 2012 / 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET

Too often, faculty members become bogged down by day-to-day record keeping and assignment grading. With little time left for planning, it’s a real challenge to bring innovative instruction and compelling educational materials into the classroom. The McGraw-Hill suite of Campus products helps instructors redirect their energy back into providing productive, effective and valued instruction. Discover what is possible from McGraw-Hill and Desire2Learn and how their partnership provides teaching and learning solutions for faculty, IT administrators and academic administrators.

Source Available Via


A/V > Open Access Week > Open Educational Resources: Research, Opportunities, and Strategies

Duration: ~ 60 Minutes (Total)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A/V > Jonathan Zittrain: Hack the Casebook - Great Teachers

A/V > Cathy Casserly on a Review of the OER Ecosystem, Hewlett OER Grantees Meeting 2012

A/V > Jonathan Zittrain on Textbooks, Casebooks, and H20, Hewlett OER Grantees Meeting 2012

Duration:  ~ 35 Minutes

A/V > Rich Baraniuk on OER for Scale, Hewlett OER Grantees Meeting 2012

Open Access eBooks

World OER Congress

California Senate Passes Digital Textbook Legislation

The California State Senate approved two bills on May 30 aimed at lowering textbook costs in order to make college more affordable for students.

The bills, introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would allow students free access to digital textbooks for the top 50 college courses and print copies for $20 each. A California Open Source Digital Library would also be created to house the books.

According to Steinberg, his two bills are needed because on average a student will spend about $1,000 in textbooks per year.


The first measure, Senate Bill 1052, passed by a vote of 32-2. The bill will create a council with representatives from Cal State University, University of California, and California Community Colleges to decide which textbooks will be added to the digital library and who will oversee the library.

Senate Bill 1053, the second measure of the bill, will use the decisions from the council to create a digital library for the open-source materials.

According to Southern California Public Radio, the textbook industry is concerned about state government funding digital textbooks and potentially dictating to faculty that they must use the textbook materials chosen by the council.

If the legislation is passed, it will go into effect in January. It would cost about $25 million dollars to implement.

The bills have now been passed on to the State Assembly for a final vote.

Source and Fulltext Available At


The Cost of College: Open Access Textbooks Cutting the Bookstore Bill by 80%

Alex Wukman / June 20, 2012

The national conversation may have turned away from the cost of college, but for millions of families and students it’s something that is never too far out of mind. Scraping together the money for tuition, room, and board is hard enough. And it always seems that financial aid doesn’t go far enough, especially when it comes to books.


When SPIRG first started working on textbook affordability the organization was primarily focused on ensuring that college and university campuses had programs in place—textbook rental or textbook reserve—designed to ameliorate the cost of textbooks. However, since 2007 Allen and her team have been working on raising awareness about open access textbooks.

Open access textbooks, and their sister program open education resources, are alternative publishing models that some advocates believe might be the silver bullet of textbook affordability. While the roots of the Open Access (OA) textbook movement can be traced back to online scholastic journals and peer-reviewed articles that were free of charge and free of most copyright restrictions; the ethos that informs the idea of allowing students legal access to textbooks without having to pay hundreds of dollars goes all the way back to the early days of the web and the open source software movement.


Allen stated that, when SPIRG launched an effort in 2008 to get faculty members to sign a letter of intent pledging to use an OA textbook in their courses if, and when, one was available the organization “received 3,000 signatures from professors all across the country.” She went on to say that SPIRG’s research found that the adoption of an OA textbook by a professor could save students up to 80% of the cost of a traditional textbook.

Moving Beyond the Textbook

OA textbook’s money saving potential is something Monica Metz-Wiseman is intimately familiar with. Metz-Wiseman, Coordinator of Electronic Collections for the University of South Florida (USF) Libraries, works with USF’s Textbook Affordability Project (TAP) and has been working to “get the faculty to eliminate the textbook.”


The integration of the coursework into the CMS allows students and faculty multi-platform access. Metz-Wiseman said that the increasing usage of the CMS by USF faculty has been a boon to the university’s students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college and have to struggle to afford the cost of books every year.


Even though Metz-Wiseman is a university librarian, her efforts at increasing textbook affordability often run into the same issue that Allen and SPIRG’s efforts have faced, professor choice. A 2010 survey of USF faculty found that, while 78% of them were aware that the cost of textbooks was an issue for students, only 35% of the professors surveyed considered cost when selecting a book.


The Economics of Textbooks

The disconnect between the faculty and the students isn’t just metaphorical; it’s an inherent abnormality in the textbook marketplace. In a 2006 presentation to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance—an independent, bipartisan committee appointed by Congress and the Secretary of Education to provide advice and counsel on student financial matters—James V. Koch, professor of Economics and President Emeritus of Old Dominion University, stated that the separation between the people choosing the product, professors, and the people paying for it, the students, contributes to price escalation.


The market share dominance enjoyed by publishers was one of the factors that contributed to the cost of textbooks in the U.S. rising 184% between 1986 and 2004, according to the GAO, or triple the rate of domestic inflation. Comparatively, the cost of the international editions of U.S. produced textbooks remained relatively flat over the same period. [snip]


Start-Ups Try Shaking Things Up

“I think that, eventually, the big publishers will have to change the way they do business. And [open access textbooks] might be one of the tools to do it. It may take the death of one of those publishers, but it will change,” said Thomas Buus Madsen, chief operating officer of London based open access textbook publisher BookBoon.

In the world of open access textbooks BookBoon is a rarity. The company is a commercial for-profit entity in a field dominated by non-profits, and even among the commercial for-profits BookBoon’s business model—free ad supported textbooks—is a novelty.[snip].


Currently BookBoon texts have been adopted by professors at 500 universities and colleges in the U.S. and Canada—including UC Berkeley, Georgetown University, New York University, Columbia University, and Cornell University—and more than 1,500 universities in Northern Europe. However, the main interest in BookBoon’s free-to-download textbooks has come from the developing world.

Buss Madsen explained that more than 50% of the company’s 10 million downloads have come from countries like India and South Africa, which can pose problems when selling ads. [snip]..

Like other OA publishers, Buss Madsen has no illusions that some faculty members and administrators are opposed to the idea of open access.


While BookBoon’s adoption rate is impressive for a company that has only been in business since 2005, it still lags behind industry leader Flat World Knowledge. According to Flat World CEO Jeff Shelstad, the company’s open access textbooks will be used in 3,500 classrooms in 44 countries this fall.

Part of Flat World’s success comes from the fact that they offer a unique approach to the text. The textbooks offered by the company are comparable in quality to a text offered by a traditional publisher, like McGraw-Hill or Houghton-Mifflin. However, professors who adopt Flat World books have the ability to interact with the text in a completely different way.

Since Flat World’s texts come with an open license agreement professors are able to make changes to the text after downloading. “They can add in content that they own the copyright to and can reorder the textbook’s sections,” said Shelstad.


Textbooks and DRM

Like BookBoon, Flat World also offers free texts to students. However, Flat World generates revenue by selling both digital and print books and by offering an access code that allows students to interact with the text. While digital access codes are fairly common across academia, Flat World’s $34.95 price point and lack of digital rights management (DRM) software is not.Flat World’s “all access pass” provides students with an online book reader, the ability to download the book to a third party mobile device–like a Kindle or a NOOK, and a printable PDF version of the book. Even though Flat World doesn’t utilize DRM, Shelstad he understands why companies do.


Buus Madsen stated that BookBoon, which is also DRM free, has not been seriously affected by DRM. [snip]

For John Opper of the Florida Distance Learning Consortium’s (FLDC) Open Access Textbook Project, DRM and the way publishers implement it is a very real concern. The FLDC is using a U.S. Department of Education grant to create clearinghouse of open access textbooks and open education resources for Florida educators ... ..

The DRM can range from limiting the amount of time students have access to the textbook file—typically for about 180 days—to requiring students to access the content through a dedicated, locked-down browser based application, or only allowing students to print out a certain number of pages at a time.


Source and Fulltext Available At 


Faculty Perceptions of OER and Transforming Your Teaching > Free CCCOER Webinar > June 26 > 1 PM EDT

Please join us June 26, 1:00 pm Eastern for a webinar on faculty perceptions of open educational resources (OER) and how to transform your teaching with open educational practices.  Our featured speakers include an instructional designer and a community college dean who developed and taught Health Ed without a textbook.

Featured speakers are:
  • Steve Beining, Instructional designer and chair of the distance learning department at Clackamas Community College and co-chair of the Oregon Community College Distance Learning Association (OCCDLA)
  • Dr. Judy Baker, Dean of Technology and Innovation at Foothill Community College manages the distance learning program. She also developed and taught Heath Education online without a textbook using open and interactive educational resources.

Source and Link to Webinar Log-in Available At 


IT Horizon > eTexts at Iowa State University > Fall 2012 Pilot

Jim Tweeten / June 1 2012

It may be the hottest thing since Christian Grey hit the Kindle. And it could go a long way to reduce the load in students' backpacks, let alone save a few trees. ISU is one of 50 universities in the nation to pilot an eText program for fall semester, in a program sponsored by Internet2 and EDUCAUSE. IT Services is funding the program, which began at the University of Indiana three years ago and is now being piloted by the University of California, Berkeley; Cornell University; University of Minnesota; University of Virginia; and the University of Wisconsin

Every student taking a course in this pilot will receive an e-reader at no cost. The university paid a participation fee to cover the cost to students. The e-reader, Courseload, is integrated with Iowa State's Blackboard learning management system. The program is based on HTML5 and works on most devices with browser capability.

There's more to eTexts than reading. Students can annotate text, highlight passages and share annotations with other students and with faculty. Students may print part or all of the eTexts from the e-reader, or may obtain copies from a print-on-demand service for a small fee. Texts are being provided for the pilot schools by McGraw Hill.

"But eTexts are not just an electronic version of the text," said Jim Twetten, Director of Academic Technologies. It's the textbook material plus many additional instructor resources, class activities, and student practice materials." A lot of those things don't exist in a normal textbook," he added. "The eText reaches out and ties you in; it spiders out to all this different content which makes it much more powerful than a text alone." For example, many texts list websites as references, but the user still has to key in the url. In an eText, the url is hyperlinked to the other references. "It's way more than just an Acrobat file," Twetten emphasized.

There are advantages to piloting this program, Twetten added. "This will help us understand how eTexts impact our institution; the obvious thing is how faculty will teach and that is certainly the case, but broader than that, we will be looking at how this impacts university processes, what it means for copyright and intellectual property, and what digital rights management issues arise."

Source Available at


[University of Iowa] ITS Seeks Courses for e-Textbook Pilot Project

NICOLE RIEHL | 2012.06.21 | 10:01 AM

This fall, University of Iowa students in participating courses will have a chance to try out electronic textbooks free of charge as part of a pilot project to examine the effectiveness of e-texts.

Information Technology Services (ITS)-Instructional Services is teaming up with vendors Courseload and McGraw-Hill on the e-text pilot project. The Courseload electronic reader and McGraw-Hill textbooks will be made available to students in participating courses at no charge during the fall semester. Students also have the option to purchase a print-on-demand version of the e-textbook.

ITS-Instructional Services, in collaboration with the College of Education, will investigate the relationships between e-text usage and student learning, as well as whether e-texts are more convenient and economical for students. The team was awarded a $20,000 CCUMC Donald A. Rieck Research Grant in support of the study.

The UI is one of 50 institutions participating in the pilot, which is sponsored by two higher education technology consortiums, Internet2 and EDUCAUSE.

The benefits of the project include:

  • Free e-text access for all students enrolled in the course
  • Full text available through print on demand (additional fee required if ordered from the vendor)
  • Easy access to the e-text through ICON
  • Online or offline access to the e-text
  • Availability of the content on most browsers
  • Ability for faculty and students to annotate or take notes within the textbook and to share with others in the course
  • Opportunity for the UI to assess use of e-texts on campus and help set direction for future use of e-texts

Participation in this pilot is limited. Instructors interested in having their courses participate should contact Maggie Jesse, senior director of ITS-Instructional Services, at by July 1.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Internet2 and EDUCAUSE Partner To Deliver eText Pilot at Colleges and Universities Nationwide, Fall 2012

EDUCAUSE and Internet2 are implementing a new series of pilot efforts to evaluate technologies and business models in the fast evolving migration from traditional textbooks to electronic content. For the fall 2012 term, the pilot is being conducted in partnership with McGraw-Hill Education and Courseload, through which more than 25 colleges and universities will provide etexts to their students.

Including educational institutions across the spectrum from major research institutions to community colleges, this pilot aims to advance a new model for the purchase, distribution, and use of electronic textbooks and digital course materials. Participating colleges and universities are listed at the end of this announcement.

The pilot departs from current etext practices in three key ways: it replaces individual purchases by students with site licenses negotiated and funded by campuses, it replaces paper textbooks owned by students with electronic materials licensed for use in specific classes, and it uses an ereader not associated with a specific publisher.

Based on the pilot, EDUCAUSE, Internet2, and the participating institutions will assess the appeal and scalability of the new model, and especially how the model supports lowering the cost of educational materials. The pilot will help higher education progress toward adoption of more cost-effective procurement of electronic class materials, which are in turn much less expensive than their print predecessors.

Students and faculty in participating courses will use McGraw-Hill Education eBooks and digital learning material, as well as the Courseload reader and annotation software, which allows content to be delivered directly through their school's learning management system.

Students will have automatic access to etexts without any additional payment to a bookstore or the institution. The ereader will enable students and instructors to access, highlight, and annotate their etexts and learning materials on almost any Internet-enabled device, even when they are not connected to the Internet. Students who want a printed copy may print portions of their etext directly, or may order a print-on-demand version of the etext for a fee.

The fall 2012 pilot expands upon a more limited experiment involving the University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Virginia, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a successful earlier effort at Indiana University. These initial efforts both demonstrated the appeal of the new model—more than 100,000 online pages read, with almost none printed.

As a faculty participant at the University of Virginia said, "The main benefits have been for the students, who don't have to pay outrageous amounts for required texts, and can have their texts on the various machines they carry around with them all the time." The initial efforts also underscored important goals for future efforts, such as ensuring that etexts are accessible to blind students and others requiring special accommodation.

The fall 2012 pilot is now closed for additional participants. We plan to hold an additional pilot for the spring 2013 term.

Partial List of Fall 2012 Participants

  • Baylor University
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Colorado State University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Iowa State University
  • Madison Area Technical College
  • Miami University
  • Middlebury College
  • Michigan State University
  • Northeast State Community College
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  • Stony Brook University
  • University of Alaska
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • Vermont State Colleges
  • Virginia Tech
  • Wichita State University

Additional Information About the Fall 2012 Pilot

Slides from spring 2012 informational webinar (Google Doc)

Recording from spring 2012 informational webinar (Google Doc)

FAQ (Google Doc)

Pilot Prospectus (Google Doc)

Source And Links Available At 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

ISTE 2012 > Textbook Deathwatch: The Evolution of Digital Resources

6/25/2012 > 4:15pm–5:15pm, SDCC 6A

Brian Bridges, California Learning Resource Network with Tom Adams, Neeru Khosla, Paul McFall, Robert Onsi and Kelly Schwirzke

From open source to online and interactive, how are digital textbooks evolving? Experts in publishing, open source, and departments of education share their vision of the textbook revolution.


Purpose & Objectives

  • Short history of the digital textbook revolution
  • States that have implemented digital resources or passed legislation to fuel its growth
  • Three models for digital textbooks and how they're continuing to evolve.
  • Four panel experts sharing their perspectives and participation in the revolution


How has the digital textbook revolution evolved since California Governor asked the California Learning Resource Network to review digital textbooks two years ago?

Four experts will share their perspectives.

  • Dr. Tom Adams, director of the California Department of Education's Curriculum, Frameworks, and Instructional Resources Division will share how California is promoting digital resources.
  • Paul McFall, VP of Pearson, will share how Pearson is disrupting itself to become more competitive
  • Robert Onsi, VP at Discovery Education, will share how Discovery has created an online, interactive digital textbook.
  • Neeru Khosla, founder of CK-12, a non-profit organization that creates open-source digital textbooks for K-12, will share her journey about creating high-quality open-source resources for students and educators.

Supporting Research

Presenter Background

Brian Bridges is the Director of the California Learning Resource Network, a state-funded technology service that reviews electronic learning resources, free web links, data assessment tools, digital textbooks, and online courses for K-12 educators. Previously President of the Computer Using Educators Board of Directors, Brian began his career as a middle school English, drama, and computer teacher, leaving after 20 years to serve as program manager of CTAP Region 6.

Source Available At 


ISTE 2012 > Tech Charge! Third Graders Build Their Own Student Textbooks

6/27/2012 > 11:00am–1:00pm, SDCC Halls DE Lobby , Table: 23

Tina Schneider, LiveBinders with Barbara Tallent

See how LiveBinders inspired a differentiated learning experience instigated and implemented by third graders! Learn how this new responsibility inspired students to learn more.  (Contains Commercial Content)  (Exhibitor-Sponsored)


Purpose & Objectives

Hear about the successful integration of a new web 2.0 tool that helped create a differentiated classroom.

Once they learned about LiveBinders, students discovered that they wanted to collect their own study materials, develop their own study quizzes and put them into LiveBinders - coming up with the idea of a 'student textbook' - each one unique to each student's style of learning. Students even wanted to share their textbooks with the class for additional help editing and eventually as additional review material.

The project demonstrated the common core practices of collaboration, digital citizenry, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. The end result was a classroom filled with confident, vocal participants that wanted to continue to do more.

Teachers who want to take small steps into developing their own differentiated learning environment are invited to interact with the classroom binders, get feedback from the teacher of the class and learn more about the applications through a hands on demo.


1. Introduce challenges of differentiated learning and how technology can help
2. Present Michael Thorton's 3rd Grade individual student texbooks and quiz binders created by and for students.
3. Let teachers explore the different binders
4. Questions and answer time

Supporting Research

Presenter Background

I have been a corporate researcher designing software for 15 years working with educators and students in the middle and high school grades. I am an experienced presenter to both the classroom and conference setting. My co-presenter is also a frequent speaker and presenter at forums and other conference settings. We have been invited speakers at various online conferences and EdCamps. In addition we host, along with Dean Mantz, a monthly webinar featuring teachers using 21st Century teaching practices

Source Available At 


ISTE 2012 > iPad Student Cost-Benefit Analysis

6/26/2012 >  4:00pm–6:00pm, SDCC Halls DE Lobby , Table: 3

Nikola Kolev, iSchool Initiative with Travis Allen, Paola Caballero, Ken Cavallo, Will Mansfield, Dolly Narshi, Sunny Narshi, Arvin Ross, Jason Soni, Shashi Tiwari and Zach Tucker

iSchool Initiative have evaluated comprehensive expense research on the implementation of the iPad in learning, and are excited to share our findings. This study compares the cumulative cost of conventional textbooks and course materials to the cost of using an iPad to accomplish the same or similar tasks.


Presenter Background

Nikola Kolev is a senior at Kennesaw State University studying International Business Management and Entrepreneurship, and Spanish. Nikola is passionate about technology and the power of its applications in business, the classroom, and beyond. During his time at Kennesaw State University, he served as Treasurer for registered student organization Global Society, as well as the International Business Student Association. He has gained a deeper understanding of International Affairs by representing KSU at several Model United Nations competitions.

Nikola leads the iSchool Initiative Finance Team and also enjoys presenting and developing digital integration strategies for educational institutions on the verge of evolution. He is excited to hone his leadership and vision with iSchool Initiative, focusing on sustainable growth and advancement of the social enterprise. Nikola strongly believes that “the most promising way to bring about meaningful and sustainable change in the world is by unleashing the power of instant information through comprehensive reform in education - iSchool Initiative is that and much more.”

Source Available At 


ISTE 2012 > Interactive, Customizable, Free: Using Open Source FlexBooks

6/25/2012 > 4:15pm–5:15pm, SDCC 30CD

Brooke Turner, CK-12 Foundation

Learn about CK-12 Foundation’s free, open source STEM content. Find out how to create and share custom FlexBook digital textbooks.  (Exhibitor-Sponsored)

 Purpose & Objectives

This presentation will introduce participants to the high-quality, standards-aligned digital resources provided at no-cost by CK-12 Foundation. The interactive demonstration will cover creating FlexBooks® digital textbooks. These digital textbooks can be customized by subject, language and level of difficulty, giving teachers the flexibility to create tailored content. Participants will learn how to navigate the content library, edit content, incorporate multi-media elements and, finally, how to share the digital textbook online and on various e-reader devices.

The session will also introduce FlexConcepts®, an interactive platform that uses multimedia simulations and adaptive exercises to help students learn individual concepts.


Presentation outline:

  • 10 minute introduction to CK-12 Foundation and the resources available to educator and students.
  • 10 minutes for getting participants registered and exploring materials (registration is free and will require an internet browser on a laptop).
  • 20 minutes creating custom FlexBooks (for those who are progressing quickly, they will be given links to videos which discuss more advanced editing options and will be to try those.)
  • 10 minutes exploring FlexConcepts and how to use with studnets.
  • 10 minutes for questions.

Supporting Research

Leadership Public Schools case study (using FlexBooks)

Presenter Background

Brooke Turner started her career in education as a High School Science teacher in California. After four years of teaching she joined CK-12 Foundation. In her role with the foundation she has presented at a number of schools as well as at NCTM 2011.

Source Available At 


ISTE 2012 > Algebra 24 X 7 Through the Use of iPads

Tuesday > 6/26/2012, 1:00pm–3:00pm, SDCC Halls DE Lobby , Table: 17

Loretta Asay, Clark County School District with Jennifer Andricopulos and Sherwood Jones

Give algebra students iPads to replace textbooks? Learn how algebra becomes engaging with digital age technology and an app that replaces the traditional textbook.  (Contains Commercial Content)


Purpose & Objectives

Participants will become familiar with the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt algebra app, FUSE, and leave with lessons learned from implementing its use by 1150 students, each with their own iPad. We will also share how we remotely manage the District-owned iPads and configure them. As part of the presentation, participants will remotely join an algebra class using this technology.


Clark County School District has the largest deployment of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt algebra app, FUSE, which is used on iPads. This interactive, video-rich app more than replaces a traditional textbook. It contains all of the pieces in a traditional textbook, but also includes simulations, interactive practice, over 400 videos, and other multimedia features. The app is licensed for six years, about the length of time we can typically use a traditional textbook. Built in to the program is online access for teachers to follow student time and progress in the various components.

 We use a 1:1 model. In this initiative, we provided an iPad and the HMH app for each algebra student in three comprehensive schools and one alternative school, nearly 1200 iPads. We manage the iPads remotely through a software solution, JAMF. Students keep the iPads for personal use for the entire school year and are expected to use them extensively in algebra class and may use them in other classes. Participants in this session will be introduced to the FUSE app and how it is used in classes. In addition, they will learn about how we overcame challenges related to infrastructure, classroom management, professional development, and deployment.

Through desktop video conferencing, we will visit a classroom to watch how the FUSE app is used in instruction. Because of time restrictions, we will virtually visit while the teacher is introducing a topic and having the students work through it.

We have found that students are surprisingly careful and respectful of the equipment. We believe this is a result of the students being encouraged to use the iPads personally beyond the algebra app. Students report that they actually enjoy the instruction. Records show that they access the video components frequently, and often more than once. This could not happen in a traditional classroom, where teenagers are reluctant to admit they need repetition. Less classroom time is being spent on whole group instruction, and teachers are learning to differentiate. We are looking forward to the results from an outside evaluation of this project and will have results from the first semester in time for the ISTE conference.


I.  Introduction to the FUSE app – 10 minutes
a. Features
b. Licensing (briefly)
c. Professional development
II. Deploying iPads and management – 10 minutes
a. Parent/student agreements
b. Managing iPads remotely
c. Infrastructure needs and solutions
III. Virtual visit to algebra classroom – 20 minutes
IV. Preliminary results and Q & A – 10 minutes
a. Student attitudes
b. Teacher behaviors
c. Student achievement

Supporting Research

There are few studies yet of the efficacy of either electronic textbooks or handhelds. Much of the literature describes the impact of electronic texbooks or eBooks. (See for example, Tees, T. (2010). Ereaders in academic libraries: A literature review. Australian Library Journal, 59(4), 180-186.) One study of electronic textbooks, conducted in a higher education setting, found that students enjoyed using the electronic versions more than the traditional textbooks, but no impact on learning was found [Weisberg, M. (2011). Student attitudes and behaviors towards digital textbooks. Publishing Research Quarterly, 27(2), 188-196.] One study, again on electronic text but with younger children, found that adults preferred traditional books, while children were evenly split in their preference [Maynard, S. (2010). The impact of e-Books on young children’s reading habits. Publishing Research Quarterly, 26(4), 236-248.].

Empirical Education, Inc., as of the submission deadline, has not yet released publicly the results of its year-long study of the use of the FUSE app by 400 students in five California school districts. Preliminary discussions with the researchers have led us to believe that student attitudes towards math improved and their algebra achievement increased dramatically. Empirical Education will continue their research with our initiative. Thus we hope to contribute robust empirical research on a specific iPad app and electronic textbook.

Presenter Background

Loretta Asay

Coordinator, Instructional Technology and Innovative Programs
Curriculum and Professional Development Division
Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV
Currently working on dissertation for PhD in Educational Psychology, UNLV

Led several successful technology integration initiatives, including deployment and ongoing professional development, with tools such as SMART Boards, tablets, laptops, iPods, and classroom response systems. One project, specifically, provided ongoing training for algebra teachers on the use of their interactive whiteboards.

Led a statewide, two-year online professional development project for the State of Nevada
Variety of publications in both lay and research journals

Experience presenting to a variety of technical and lay audiences

Jennifer Andricopulos

Coordinator, Technology and Information Systems Service Division
Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV
Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems, UNLV

14 years experience in the technology field, she has worked on a help desk, supported Windows and Apple desktops, server administration and support, and software licensing. She has served as project lead on many technology initiatives. One project involved the deployment of a districtwide parent communication system.

Sherwood Jones

Project Facilitator, Curriculum and Professional Development Division
Clark County School District
Led two-year formative assessment project with classroom response systems
Currently working on doctorate in educational technology
Supports the classroom teachers and technologists in the iPads in Algebra project
Has presented to a variety of audience, including virtual audiences

Source Available At 


ISTE 2012 > Beyond Textbooks: Strategies for Improving Student Literacy with Mobile Devices

6/25/2012 > 4:30pm–7:30pm, SDCC 28B

Ebony Schoon, NYCDOE with Shelia Graham and Crystal Lindsay

Learn how to use mobile devices for increasing student engagement in literacy to meet the demands of the Common Core Standards.  (Contains Commercial Content)

Session Objectives:

Participants will gain an understanding of:

  • utilizing eReader features of mobile devices (i.e. iPad, iTouch, Sony Digital Reader, Kindle etc.) such as accessing the dictionary, bookmarking, highlighting, and note-taking to teach active and guided reading strategies.
  • grade appropriate instructional strategies (i.e. Socratic discussions, literature circles, developing leveled eLibraries, author studies etc.) and assessments to promote student engagement and deepen student understanding through conversation with peers around various content area texts.
  • utilizing eReader technology to differentiate instruction in order to meet the diverse needs of all learners including English Language Learners.

Outcomes/ Deliverables:

Participants will leave the session with:

  • practical strategies for utilizing the features of mobile devices to engage students and improve vocabulary and comprehension.
  • concrete examples of how schools are currently using mobile devices and digital texts to engage students in literacy.
  • instructional/assessment strategies, free templates and other resources educators can use to organize and implement the use of mobile devices for reading in the K-12 classroom.


Getting Started with Integrating Mobile Technology in the Classroom (20 Minutes)

  • Introduction to Utilizing Mobile Devices as eReaders
  • A New Twist on Basic Reading Strategies

 Building a Digital Library to Support Exposure to Complex Texts (40 Minutes)

  • Accessing Digital Texts
  • Developing Leveled eLibraries
  • Reading Across the Curriculum

Practical Instructional Strategies for Promoting Student Engagement (20 Minutes)

  • Socratic discussions and Writing extensions
  • Facilitating literature circles in the classroom
  • Author Studies and Lit Trips

 Meeting the Needs of Special Populations (20 Minutes)

  • Using Digital Text to Address Accommodation
  • Strategies & Resources for English Language Learner

Voices from the Field (20 Minutes)

  • Middle School eReader Pilot , Bronx, NY- Principal, Teacher, Student Testimonials
  • Elementary Digital Reader Pilot, Bronx, NY - Teacher, Student Testimonials

Supporting Research

  • Bauerlein, M. Too Dumb for Complex Texts? Educational Leadership, 68(5).
  • Cavanaugh, T. The Digital Reader: Using E-Books in K-12 Education. ISTE, Washington D.C., 2006.
  • Cavanaugh, T. Literature Circles through Technology. Linworth Books, 2006.
  • Keane, N. & T. Cavanaugh. The Tech-Savvy Book Talker: A Guide for 21st Century Educators. Libraries Unlimited, 2009.
  • Schoenbach, R., C. Greenleaf, & G. Hale. Framework fuels the need to read: Strategies boost literacy of students in content-area classes. Learning Forward, JSD, 31(5), October 2010.
  • Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. Council of Chief State School Officers. 2010.
  • Murray, C.Imagine Mobile Learning in Your Pocket. Mobile Technologies and Handheld Devices for Ubiquitous Learning: Research and Pedagogy. Delphian eLearning Australia, 2010

Presenter Background

Ebony Schoon currently serves NYC public school educators as an Instructional Technology Specialist and bring with her experience as a Technology Integration Coordinator, curriculum writer, coordinator of out-of-school-time activities, a leader in fostering school-corporate partnerships and a career in the construction industry. Most recently she has procured funding, planned and implemented an eReader Pilot Program focused on increasing student engagement and improving student literacy through the lens of collaborative inquiry.

She has taught Electronics and Pre-Engineering for several years at a Career and Technical Education High School and was recognized as a United Federation of Teachers Outstanding Vocational & Technical Education Teacher in 2004. She has also organized and guided a student-lead robotics team that was recognized for exceptional performance with the "Judges' Award" and "Regional Finalist" in the 2003 FIRST NYC Regional Robotics Competition. As an educator, she believes she can fully realize her personal mission to "make a positive difference through service to others."

Crystal Lindsay is currently the Technology Innovations Manager for the Bronx in New York City. During her career, Mrs. Lindsay has worked in an Administrative Leadership role in instructional technology for 12 years, serving as the Instructional Technology Director of former New York City Districts 9, 5, and the Chancellors District. Recognized for her leadership ability, was selected by a former Superintendent and former Chancellor Levy to participate in the Chancellor’s Executive Leadership Academy. This opportunity led her to demonstrate her expertise as the Chief Technology Officer in a struggling Long Island School District for three years. There, she collaborated closely with the State Education Department to transform their instructional and information technology program.

She has presented at National, State and local conferences throughout her career. In the beginning of her career, Ms. Lindsay was the lead Teacher for the IBM Corridor Program with a group of educators who wrote a 5 million dollar grant to create and implement the first network computers in an Elementary and Middle school. Her philosophy that “all children can learn given differentiated learning experiences” matched with her passion for instructional technology allows her to continually develop innovative instructional technology programs that empower educators, equips every learner for the 21st Century and posits to improve academic achievement for all students.possesses nearly 20 years of teaching, Directing and Managing Technology Innovations in NYS and NYC Department of Education.

Shelia Graham has 23 years of teaching, professional development and technology integration experience with the NYC Department of Education. Ms. Graham worked as a Computer Education and Early Childhood Teacher for twelve years. She has spent the past ten years of her career serving as a Technology Instructional Specialist. Ms. Graham has a Bachelors of Science in Computing and Management, a Master of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Professional Diploma in District Leadership and Technology.

In her current role as Instructional Technology Specialist, she provides professional development services to School Technology Liaisons throughout the Bronx with emphasis on Title IID “Enhancing Education Through Technology” Districts Seven, Nine, Ten and Eleven.

Source and Fulltext Available At 


ISTE 2012 > iAuthorship: Click, Drag-n-Drop, and Create Interactive Books for iPads

6/27/2012 > 8:30am–11:30am, SDCC 29D

Burt Lo, Santa Clara County Office of Education with Joe Wood

With iBooks Author, you and your students can create interactive textbooks, including embedded images, movies, audio clips, and links to the internet for the iPad.  (Contains Commercial Content)


Hour 1 > Agenda

  • Introduction to interactive iBooks
  • Download and explore interactive textbooks from the iTunes bookstore
  • Practice highlighting and notetaking in an iBook
  • Create and use study cards
  • Creating an iBook
  • Create and format an iBook
  • Add text
  • Add information to the iBook from other sources, eg. Word documents, PowerPoint presentations

Hour 2 > Agenda

  • Adding multimedia to an iBook
  • Add images
  • Add audio clips
  • Add video clips
  • Add links to online resources
  • Enhancing Student interaction to an iBook
  • Add a glossary
  • Add review activities

Hour 3 > Agenda

  • Sharing an iBook
  • Save and publish an iBook to iPads
  • Share iBooks amongst attendees
  • Workshop wrap-up
  • Final questions and answers
  • Provide online resources for follow-up

Supporting Research

"I launched the nation's first digital textbook initiative to provide California's students and teachers with free, high-quality open educational resources. We now have more than 30 free digital text available for use in the classroom that can provide a more interactive experience for students and cost districts less – a win-win that can allow educators to engage a new generation of techsavvy students.”
- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger


While educational institutions are looking for sources for free digital books, iBooks Author provides every teacher and student with the resources for creating their own interactive, digital books to accompany any lesson or topic. Books created by iBooks Author can be freely distributed among staff and students.

"Coming to a Tablet Near You"


University faculty are using eBook publishing platforms to quickly develop up-to-date content for their classes. This educational practice is now within the reach of all teachers and students.

Presenter Background

Burt Lo has been a middle school teacher, district instructional technology director, and a county office professional development coordinator. Currently, he is the manager of instructional technology and online learning for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. He was also an instructor for the University of San Diego’s Continuing Education department from 1997 to 2009.

Burt has presented iBooks Author workshops for state organizations, such as Computer Using Educators.

Joe Wood has been an educator for a decade and is currently an Instructional Technology Integration Specialist with San Juan Unified School District. In this role, Joe provides coaching support to teachers in all grade levels in the areas of technology integration and digital literacy. He also leads the deployment of iPad and Chromebook pilot projects throughout the district. Prior to working in Technology Services, Joe was a technology coach and middle school science teacher in San Juan Unified and Sylvan Union school districts.

Joe also works with the National Writing Project and Area 3 Writing Project at UC Davis as a teacher consultant and staff developer. His areas of interest are content-area writing, multimedia text, and the links between digital writing and the Common Core State Standards. His work has appeared on NWP’s Digital Is,, as well as on his own blog, JoeWoodOnline.

Source Available At 


ISTE 2012 > Instructional Delivery in a Digital Age Learning Environment

6/26/2012 > 10:30am–11:30am, SDCC 5

Cliff Rudnick, California Department Of Education with Brian Bridges, Steve Clemons, Greg Ottinger and Kelly Schwirzke 

This panel discussion will explore the future of instructional delivery and access to materials and other resources, including the use of cloud computing, digital textbooks, online courses, and other instructional technologies.


Purpose & Objectives

Instructional Delivery in a 21st Century Learning Environment

This panel discussion will explore the future of instructional delivery and access to materials and other resources, including the use of cloud computing, digital textbooks, online courses and other instructional technologies. Panelists will engage audience members in these critical discussions impacting the future of California's students.


Content to be presented is the ELA Common Core State Standards for grades K-5.
Approximately two hours will be necessary for presentations, discussions, activities for participants and audience questions. Approximately one hour is presentation interspersed with 3-5 activities and time for questions and discussion.

Supporting Research
  • iNACOL Online Learning Definitions Project (October 2011)
  • Authorizing Online Learning (VanderArk and Patrick, published by NACSA, August 2011)
  • The rise of K-12 blended learning: Profiles of emerging models (Innosight Institute, 2011)
Presenter Background
  • Tom Adams, Director, CDE Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources
  • Cliff Rudnick, Administrator, Instructional Resources Unit - will facilitate the panel.
  • Steve Clemons, San Diego COE
  • Greg Ottinger, San Diego COE
  • Brian Bridges, CLRN

Source Available At 800+ Open Access Textbooks

Kathrin Tschiesche / May 22, 2012

As we know, it is difficult for students to get quality textbooks at a low cost. Five years ago, decided to take a stand and found a way to fulfill their mission: all students should be able to go through university without paying for textbooks.

To reach this goal, already provides a range of over 800 free accessible textbooks, a number which is constantly growing, and is now the largest publisher of open source textbooks – with textbooks in 7 languages.

Concept and mission

The concept and mission is clear – only publishes free and openly available textbooks and ebooks which can be downloaded in PDF without registration.

Our mission is that students should be able to go through university without having to pay for textbooks. We finance our textbooks with a low number of employer branding adverts: in essence, we are getting the future employers to pay for the student textbooks.

We have set a 15% advertising limit per book with a number of professors and student organizations in order to ensure our books’ academic quality. It is impossible to buy anything on our website – every single book we offer is freely available to anyone anywhere.

About our open textbooks

What makes our textbooks special is that they are available for free in an effort to give everyone the opportunity to study without being charged.

Our textbooks might not be open for customization, but they are open for studying, printing, sharing, embedding on your website, which makes them “open access”.

We are also proud to be listed on

What is an open access textbook

By definition, an open access textbook allows users to:

  • use the textbook without compensating the author,
  • copy the textbook, with appropriate credit to the author,
  • distribute the textbook non-commercially.

50% of our downloads in the third world


Source and Fulltext Available At 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beyond the Textbook

Probably none of us have gone through high school or college without some relationship to that 20th century artifact of learning called the textbook. While I remember in high school not being allowed to write in my textbook, I also remember being delighted in college when I realized that because I bought my own textbooks I could scribble notes in them and highlight with abandon. For those of us who liked to read, purchasing (mostly used) textbooks each semester was exciting because they were chock full of the promise of things we were about to learn. My nostalgia about textbooks of yore, however, directly contradicts my firm belief that textbooks are being superseded by far better forms of learning.


These days the technology exists to create open textbooks at a fraction of the cost and offers content for free, assuming the student has Internet access. The textbook publishing industry has been challenged as new open textbook publishers hired authors (often educators) to create textbooks with content that was openly licensed and free. It is not insignificant that a textbook in almost every field of study is now accessible online and free of cost. [snip]

Ironically, because teachers today can create and distribute their own textbooks, they also have the power to destroy the very notion of the textbook. Using the Internet, educators can easily co-create and share learning content. They can alter lessons on the fly. They can cut and paste and customize content for each student. They can, in other words, eliminate the textbook altogether.

Creating content -- as the act of reading once spread rapidly centuries ago -- has become a possibility for all. The Internet has disrupted many of our traditional institutions, from newspaper publishers to recording companies, and now textbook publishers. A great wave of disintermediation has done away with the notion of publisher's profits and author's royalties. Online, teachers can collaborate and create learning content that can be remixed to suit a student's particular needs. [snip].

Perhaps not surprising is that those who create or want to use open content are often asked to show proof that it works. You have to ask though, how many times has someone "tested" the learning outcomes correlated with the use of conventional textbooks. Yet we have seen that teachers who create their own materials are more engaged with their students. [snip].

The narrow focus on the open textbook is distracting us from what is potentially most important in education: the conversations about new approaches to learning that are taking place in all corners of the world, thanks to the Internet and greater access to digital resources. Once it is shown that textbooks may not be the most effective way to learn, there will be no going back. The question will no longer be open textbooks versus limited access textbooks, but instead about the ways in which education content can be created, shared, and distributed by those directly engaged in the teaching and learning process itself.

Source and Fulltext Available At 


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nine Factors Digital Textbooks Really Are A Excellent Concept

April 30, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Did you skip the large news  > The launch of iPad iBooks two, that Apple is attempting to "reinvent" the book. There is a lot discussion over whether this specific application would be the “killer app" that finally does along with the heavy outdated paper books, but there is no doubt the period of digital books is coming, 1 way or another.


Portablility. Probabilities are you are currently hauling around a laptop computer and perhaps some papers, A heap of troublesome paper books and workbooks is uncomfortable for a working man or woman to drag about.

Muscle tissue. Let’s face it, you aren’t as youthful as you utilized to be. It’s 1 element for a 16-yr-outdated to hold his weight in books on his back, but you are liable to place your self out of fee attempting to manoeuvre that fat, especially as you become off and on public transit or train to and from function. [snip] Dr. Stefanie Haugen, a chiropractic specialist with Fremont Spine and Wellness, reviews that, “Transporting a large back pack improperly a lot more than time can certainly outcome in long-expression challenges to some kid’s backbone, ... .

Searchability. You do not have enough time to invest hrs flipping via pages searching for info. With the capacity to research digital books, you’ll invest less time searching for any specific reference ... .

Updatable. The now traditional paper textbook is often out of day time just before it even arrives to print. Electronic books could be up-to-date in real time having a simple obtain as changes are made.

Inexpensive. Even though tablets might still be a bit expensive, the expenses of digital books are so a lot reduce than paper. Apple’s iBookstore books usually price $14.99 or much less. Following purchasing a couple of books, the cost of the tablet is compensated for. [snip]

Eco-friendly. A digital book needs no paper, ink, or perhaps a publishing push. Not only are electronic textbooks environmental in the manner that trees and shrubs will not have to become reduce right down to produce them, ... .

Fun. A electronic book might have workouts constructed correct in. Just like a book and workbook all in 1, [snip].

Collaborative. In some programs, group projects are component from the programs. This is often challenging for hectic career people with inconsistent schedules. By no means worry, each can add towards the endeavor on his personal program, and they do not require to even physically meet. Digital textbooks can be connected to the Web.

There are so numerous advantages to replacing the outdated cumbersome document books with digital books. The long term is ushering inside a new paradigm in learning.

Source and Fulltext Available At 


Gale Announces CLiC > Classroom in Context

CLiC is the newest digital curriculum resource from Cengage Learning. Delivered in a format that exceeds the expectations and needs of 21st century learners, CLiC specifically:

  • Provides award winning content aligned directly to national curriculum frameworks in aweb-based, ‘portal’ environment
  • Extends the life of textbooks  by supplementing them with dynamic up-to-date content
  • Promotes critical thinking and allows teachers to customize learning tools for all types of digital-based learning initiatives
  • Presents a path to robust content with a wealth of multimedia
  • Aligns award winning content to curriculum in a web-based, ‘portal’ environment
  • Supports 1-to-1 and/or mobile learning initiatives

The benefits of CLiC for:

  • Media Specialists: CLiC supports media specialists' curriculum partnerships with teachers and administrators, while providing Gale’s authoritative content in a safe, online environment
  • Teachers: CLiC saves teachers time by providing an instructional path to robust, current content with a wealth of multimedia 
  • Administrators: CLiC helps speed the transition to digital curriculum resources, saves money by supplementing textbook material with dynamic, up-to-date content, and engages students with a variety of content
  • Students: CLiC broadens students’ horizons and makes learning more interesting and engaging by providing relevant, timely information in a format they’re accustomed to experiencing  
  • What's Available

Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, and World History resources are currently offered. When you subscribe to one of these digital curriculum resources from Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, you provide your students and teachers with essentially two classroom assets.

  • A web portal with multi-media content that’s aligned directly to national curriculum standards and that can host content from other digital resources
  • The corresponding In Context product, which serves as the content basis for the digital curriculum portals including featured articles, videos, podcasts, and more. This open Web-like experience also includes tools that allow students to share the content via email, social networking, and the like.


Source and Fulltext Available At 


iPad Only No More: Inkling Debuts HTML5-Powered E-Book App For The Web

COLLEEN TAYLOR / May 30 2012

Inkling, the San Francisco-based startup that’s known for making super slick interactive digital versions of college textbooks and other educational titles for the iPad, has debuted its first ever platform for the web browser.

‘Inkling for Web’ requires no Flash or other plug-ins, and is powered entirely by technologies such as HTML5, CSS and Javascript, Inkling CEO Matt McInnis said in an interview this week. This means that Inkling titles, which had previously been viewable only through Inkling’s native iPad app, can now be viewed on any up-to-date webkit-based browser such as Chrome or Safari by anyone with an Inkling account.


Increasing Its Potential Market By 10X — In A Snap


For Inkling, a web application of some sorts was always in the cards, McInniss tells me, as students have always wanted to access their textbook content on the web in some way or another. But the company only recently realized that it just might be possible to build a web platform that would be just as fully-featured as its native iPad app.


The Open Web: Pros Outweigh The Cons

Now, being out on the web comes with its own possible drawbacks, and Inkling has implemented some security controls to safeguard against pirating — it will detect if someone is copy and pasting large amounts of text in a very short amount of time, for example. [snip]


Source and Fulltext Available At 


10 Reasons Why Students Aren’t Using eTextbooks

When e-textbooks were first introduced, they were supposed to be the wave of the future, and experts thought we’d see e-reader-toting students littering college campuses, and of course being adopted in droves by online university students. But they haven’t taken off quite as expected: according to market research firm Student Monitor, only about 11% of college students have bought e-textbooks. So what happened? Here, we’ll explore several reasons why students aren’t yet warming up to the idea of e-textbooks today.

The books they need aren’t available in digital format:

For many students, e-book use isn’t about preference or price, but instead, availability. The books that students need for school are often simply not available in a digital format.[snip].

They are not as affordable as you might think:

Cutting out the cost of physically producing and shipping a textbook is a money-saver for sure, but a recent study has found that most of the time, that savings does not get passed on to students. [snip]

You can’t lend or resell most e-textbooks:

Unlike printed material, textbooks that are downloaded to your e-reader stay there and don’t go anywhere else. [snip]

It feels strange to mark up an e-book:

Although most e-books come outfitted with a small army of tools that allow students to bookmark, highlight, take notes, and explore through footnotes, definitions, and more, students just aren’t impressed. [snip].

e-Textbooks are heavy, too:

e-Textbooks were supposed to replace the pounds upon pounds of paper books that college students stuff their backpacks with. But digital books are heavy in a different way: their storage size. Even on a 16GB iPad, there’s simply not enough room to store every single book a student might need. [snip]

There are better digital options available:

When you consider the wealth of media-rich alternatives available to students online, some e-textbooks with just plain print and images seem downright primitive. Video, audio, interactive websites, and activities can often be accessed using iPads and other e-readers with web browsing. [snip].

Today’s students grew up with books:

Part of the reason for the slow adoption of e-textbooks is the simple fact that today’s students just aren’t used to them. [snip].

E-books offer a different experience:

One might think that reading a textbook is basically the same in any format. But some researchers believe that the brain absorbs digital and printed text differently. [snip].

Finding e-textbooks is a scavenger hunt:

Some textbooks are available in one format, and not the other, or available to download through several different stores. That means students not only have to hunt down their textbooks across several different platforms and websites, they also have to remember where they are, learn how to navigate and use each reader, and typically, maintain logins for all of them. [snip].

Students expect more from digital editions:

Students today are used to digital tools that allow them to share everything from pictures of their morning cup of coffee to their notes from class. Put a book on an e-device, and they expect the same. So when they run into restrictions and a lack of social tools when using e-textbooks, they’re understandably disappointed. They’re looking for social reading app integrations, shared highlighting, and the ability to take advantage of web-based tools, not just reading.

Source and Fulltext Available At

CT > The Price Is Right?

Dian Schaffhauser > 04/01/12

Logically, e-textbooks should be much cheaper than the print options available to students--but they're not. CT looks at the rationale behind their pricing, and the market factors at play.

"The cost of textbooks ranks at the top of the list of undergraduate 'gripes.'" --The Cornell Daily Sun
"Doing the required reading will hurt more than ever this year. Textbook prices…have been rising at an alarming rate." --The Harvard Crimson

Such sentiments surface in student newspapers and on social networking sites regularly. And, apparently, they're nothing new. The Cornell University (NY) quote, for instance, was published in 1934; the Harvard University (MA) quote came out 20 years ago.

There's something about textbook prices that generates outrage in ways that other college expenses, such as housing and technology fees, don't. Maybe it's the shock felt by new students when faced with a $900 bill after getting their textbooks for free in K-12. Maybe it's the awful realization that $40,000 in tuition and board doesn't even cover learning materials.


  • Chattanooga State Community College
  • CourseSmart
  • Daytona State College
  • Inkling
  • Kno
  • Next is Now
  • Student PIRGs' "Exposing the Textbook Industry"

Many educators--as well as the feds and plenty of state governments--believe that the solution to high textbook costs lies with a shift to digital content. [snip].

But if that were true, why hasn't the digital-content pilot at Florida's Daytona State College shown far greater savings? According to a report by the pilot's researchers, "during three of the project's four semesters, students enrolled in some of the e-text pilot sections paid only $1 less for rental of their e-texts than students who bought a printed book, due to publisher pricing decisions." [snip]

Given these conflicting claims and beliefs, CT set out to discover the true cost of e-textbooks, what's driving the pricing, and how these costs compare to those of traditional print products.

Crunching the Numbers

At first glance, e-texts do offer a significant discount over traditional print textbooks. An unscientific review of pricing on CourseSmart, an e-textbook clearinghouse, indicates that e-texts on average sell for 50 to 60 percent of the cost of equivalent new print textbooks. But discounts are dependent on the individual title and the area of study. [snip].

For more articles, case studies, and white papers, please visit the 21st Century Campus Resource Center.

In considering these numbers, though, it's important to understand that a digital textbook is essentially a rental--students cannot sell their copies once they're finished with them. Instead, students pay to license the text for a certain amount of time, usually 180 or 360 days.

So what happens to the cost calculation when you factor in buyback of print textbooks? While a host of variables determines the ultimate resale value, students can probably expect to recoup 25 to 50 percent of the cost of the original new textbook. It's still cheaper to buy the digital edition, but the pricing difference is not nearly as extreme. [snip].


But some universities, including the University of California, Riverside, are eliminating the buyback guesswork by instituting their own textbook-rental programs. According to UCR, its rental program can save students as much as 54 percent off the purchase price of a new book.

Furthermore, print textbooks don't carry any peripheral costs, unlike e-texts. To purchase a suitable e-reader, such as an iPad or a 9.7-inch Kindle, students must part ways with another $380 to $500. Given that the average student spends about $900 per year on textbooks, this extra outlay, even amortized over several years, is nonetheless significant--and further erodes whatever savings students may garner by leasing e-texts.


Can E-Text Prices Be Justified?

What makes the high cost of e-texts even more surprising is that students currently prefer the print product. [snip].

Starting this academic year, for example, Chattanooga State Community College (TN) began an e-text pilot program in conjunction with CourseSmart. Initially, students were given the choice of an e-textbook or a paper-based book for $15 more. Despite the extra cost, students chose the printed textbook, according to Kathy Long, who has been teaching history at the school for 24 years.

In an effort to make the pilot relevant, students were eventually required to use e-texts. When that happened, students complained about two issues, recalls Long. Students with visual disabilities had a hard time because the e-text could be magnified only so much, "and then they had to go to the adaptive computer labs." But the biggest gripe was that most students didn't own portable computing devices.

Problems with e-texts don't just stem from student resistance, however. There is a growing recognition that many schools are simply not ready for the transition. Daytona State's pilot started in 2009 with the intent of testing e-texts and then scaling campuswide.

In the ensuing two years, obstacles surfaced, including cases where instructors had customized their courses so much that the original e-texts were no longer relevant. In another situation, generic netbooks had to be substituted for e-readers because the course textbooks weren't available in the Kindle format. Technical snafus included wireless-access problems due to classroom overload; programming bugs on publisher websites; and sorting out just who--instructors, IT, or the publishing company--was responsible for teaching students how to use the various tools and resources.

In evaluating student adoption of e-texts, it's also important to remember that e-texts are, for the most part, souped-up PDFs. While CourseSmart's Bookshelf platform allows students to annotate and highlight text, and digital publisher Kno's platform provides some basic multimedia, e-texts are essentially the same as the print product. There is no significant step up in functionality.


Prisoners of Print

Given such lukewarm performance, what is keeping e-text pricing so high? In a situation like this, shouldn't publishers drop their prices to make the platform more appealing? Unfortunately, e-textbooks are caught in a kind of industry limbo, and prices are unlikely to change until a variety of market factors shake out. In a nutshell, the pricing of e-textbooks is being held hostage to the print business model.


According to "Exposing the Textbook Industry," a report by Student PIRGs, seven out of 10 professors surveyed said that new editions of textbooks in their field are justified only sometimes or rarely. [snip].

You would think that this inherent flaw in the print model would have textbook publishers flocking to digital in droves. After all, the advantage of the digital model for publishers is that it treats a book like software. "Each time that digital book is sold, the publisher will generate income," Straus points out. "In that model, the publisher no longer needs to price the first sale of that book higher." As a result, Straus predicts that at some point the price for digital versions of these survey-type texts will drop from their current levels.


Even so, Straus believes this year and next will be pivotal for the transition to digital textbooks. "Across the board--publishers, technology companies, the institutions--there's more energy on this than there was two or three years ago," he says. "I think everything is set up for success."

The Paradigm Shift

But is that optimism really justified? As long as e-texts are essentially digital copies of print products, the same economic factors remain in play. It seems more likely that the pricing link between e-texts and print will be broken only when e-texts actually evolve into a completely different product--dynamic, multimedia learning tools that take full advantage of the technical features of the devices on which they operate. [snip].

Inkling is a new breed of publisher that is creating multimedia e-titles that represent a true departure from the old print model. With fewer than 150 e-titles, however, it is not large enough yet to move the market, especially when you consider that Kno claims 150,000 e-titles in its catalog and CourseSmart offers 20,000 digital titles from 30 publishers. [snip].

When the bottom does eventually drop out of the market for print textbooks and their PDF equivalents, what can educators and students expect price-wise from the new style of dynamic e-learning materials? A review of Inkling's current catalog suggests that students shouldn't expect a windfall there, either: Strikingly, the price of Inkling's e-titles is very similar to that of the digitized textbooks on CourseSmart.

Like any e-text publisher, Inkling does not have to contend with costs such as warehousing, shipping, printing, and paper. However, it does have to absorb higher development costs, including programming, video, and other multimedia. Creating such resource-rich materials is not cheap. [snip].


Even if prices don't fall from their current levels, faculty do have one reason to be optimistic. Under the Inkling model at least, students can buy a single chapter of a title (usually $5 to $10), rather than having to shell out for the entire product. [snip].

Regardless of the format, however, publishers are unlikely to lower their prices out of the goodness of their hearts. They are businesses, not nonprofits. Indeed, the biggest brake on the high cost of learning materials might come from outside the publishing world--competition offered by open education resources (OERs).
The OER approach certainly appeals to Long at Chattanooga State. For the last five or six years, she has used no textbooks in her American history courses, preferring to use materials freely available on the web. [snip].

At its core, higher education is powered by faculty and administrators who, like Long, are motivated by teaching and learning, not the money. The internet has now made it possible for these educators to share their work outside the framework of conventional publishers. And the availability of easy-to-use publishing tools makes it possible for them to create educational materials that are as compelling as anything put out by major publishers.


So what does the futures market for course materials look like? Unfortunately, students probably won't pay significantly less. [snip].

Students themselves may push publishers toward this outcome. After all, they have shown quite conclusively they will not spend their money on glorified replicas of their existing textbooks. If publishers want to stop printing, storing, and shipping expensive print books, they are going to have to build digital products that students find truly worth the cost.

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