“It’s a slow-moving pharmaceutical market,” says Matt MacInnis, the CEO of Inkling, a startup working on digital textbooks. “The professor writes a prescription, and the student goes to fill it.”
The quote is from a Newsweek story called “Textbooks’ Digital Future,” which describes the the tug-of-war between not just print-versus-digital, but static-digital versus interactive-digital publishing — and whether any of it actually enables better learning.
Inkling, is a new start-up that offers interactive versions of textbooks for the iPad, iPhone, among other devices.
Interesting quote by a prescient analyst about the future of textbooks, in this article in ABC News about the growth of iPad in classrooms.
“Long term, the biggest threat to publishers will be if there’s some kind of major adoption of open access (free course material), meaning there is a change in how college instructors and professors view content,” said Simba analyst Kathy Mickey.
Flickr: Chirantan Patnaik
It’s still far too expensive for the iPad to be distributed to every K-12 student in every school across the country. At a minimum of $500 per gadget, its affordability factor for the public education system is not its biggest seller.
Even so, the glossy tablet is changing the way the education community approaches the learning process — especially for higher education.
In her article for Online Colleges Laura Milligan cites all the ways the iPad will “forever change education.” What makes it so appealing for the general population — its ease of use, mobility, and multitasking abilities — also makes it a natural tool for learning.
Colleges and universities that can afford it are jumping on the Apple bandwagon and offering them to students like, well, apples. Just a few instances:
What are schools actually doing with the iPad? Macworld lists the many roles it plays:
- Recruiting tool for George Fox University
- Instant quizzing and results at Abilene Christian
- Tuning out distractions of the Internet by using just apps at Hawaii Preparatory Academy
- E- textbooks at various K-12 schools and colleges
And so on. Whether it’s the iPad, the Kindle, or the Nook, it’s obvious that school administrations and the education community at large are viewing these devices as the inevitable next stage in incorporating technology in the learning process. There will certainly be hurdles along the way as educators figure out the most efficient and creative ways to use the tools. But the proverbial genie is out of the bottle, and it will be fun to see how the digital revolution evolves.
The primary rules of photography have not changed much in the digital age. The Rule of Thirds still stands, as do traditional perspective, balancing, and framing guidelines.
But advances in technology now used in this medium have made it possible for anyone to take truly creative photos, with or without following those rules. In fact, you don’t even need a camera to take great shots. Anyone with a smartphone can do it.
As an avid film photographer, I was one of the last holdouts of the traditional camera with my trusty Canon AE-1 strapped to my side at all times. But on my vacation last month, I didn’t even take a camera with me — just my iPhone. With all the fancy camera apps, I figured I wouldn’t miss my heavy SLR, and I was right. I had a great time manipulating my images and was delighted with the results.
Flickr: Mike Licht
It comes as no surprise to me that 40% of e-reader users said they now read more than they did with print books in the recent survey published in the Wall Street Journal.
Since my iPad arrived in the mail two months ago, I’ve managed to blow through three novels — a record-breaking pace for a slow reader like myself. Typically, it takes me a couple of months to get through just one book, depending on the height of the stack of magazines piling up on the nightstand, workload, and school and family obligations.
But since joining the ranks of the “11 million Americans who are expected to own at least one digital reading gadget by the end of September” (an estimate from Forrester Research, according to the article), I’ve become an e-reader convert.
What’s the appeal? Novelty, to be sure. The experience of “turning the page” is still fun, even after the third book. It’s light and easy to carry, the fonts are clear and legible, and reading is easy on both the Kindle app for the iPad and the iBook app. I can relax and descend into the world the author has created just as easily as with a print version — if I choose to.
This might sound strange, but I think what I like about it best is that it gives me immediate access to my one-stop media shop. For better or for worse (and some argue that it’s definitely for the worse), the fact that I have access to my email and the Internet right there actually frees me from those distractions and allows me to focus on my book even better. If I didn’t have those tools handy, I might be more tempted to put the book down and go in search of a tangent idea that I have to Google, never to return to my book.
I’m curious to see if my 7-year-old daughter will be more interested in reading books on the iPad than her beloved paperbacks. Although, truth be told, I’m hesitant in adding another feature that would make us compete for time on the gadget.
Enterprising educators are getting into the app-making game with the creation of an app that helps kids learn how to read.
ABC on the Go includes interactive ways for kids to recognize letters and sounds.
Here’s a quick description from MacWorld:
Classic mode showcases each letter in a slideshow format, with simple voice prompts to move through the alphabet. Hear It Hit It—beyond sounding like a good strategy for blind boxers—tasks kids with determining which letter sounds they hear. And See It Say It uses visual and auditory cues to firm up the letter/sound relationships.