Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Smarthistory interactive art history textbook

The Chronicle recently featured an article about an interactive online art-history textbook that we discussed in a posting last year. The online textbook is called Smarthistory and it is an ongoing effort by Beth Harris, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Steven Zuker, Chairperson of History of Art and Design at the Pratt Institute.

The project began in 2005 and has evolved into an intuitive reference website that features an interactive timeline with images that link to videos. The site also includes links, maps, and photos to engage the users. According to the article, the project has been winning honors and more than 70 universities and colleges either use or recommend Smarthistory. A listing of the institutions can be found here.

In the future, similar websites for other disciplines could be modeled after this idea.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Will the second generation iPad be released early next year?

A recent article from MacNewsWorld discusses the rumors about when the next iPad will be released and the capabilities that it will include.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day

On Saturday, December 4, the first Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day will be held. Blogger and creator of the day, Jenny Milchman, hopes that it will encourage families to bring their children to a bookstore so that they can see all that the physical store has to offer. For more information visit: http://www.takeyourchildtoabookstore.org/.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide to eReaders

eBookNewser has compiled a Holiday Gift Guide to eReaders that you may find helpful. It features a listing of all the e-readers and tablets that are on the market this holiday season. The guide includes a little bit of information about each and the associated price tag.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

e-readers expected to be a top seller this holiday season

E-readers are expected to be a popular gift this holiday season and many e-reader companies have expanded the distribution of their devices to stores like Target, Best Buy, and Walmart. In addition, Amazon, Borders, and Barnes & Noble, have come up with new ways to promote their devices on the web or in the stores.

In an article from The New York Times, Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, says, “This is the tipping-point season for e-readers, there’s no question. A lot more books are going to be sold in e-book format. It also means that a lot fewer people are going to be shopping in bookstores.”

Forrester Research predicts that about nine million e-readers are currently in circulation in the United States and this could increase to 10.3 million after the holidays.

As mentioned previously, according to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association, e-readers rank fifth on the holiday wish lists of adults.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

iPads assist disabled users

Here is an inspiring story and video from The New York Times about a boy with a degenerative disease that has been able to interact with an iPad. His mother says it is the first device that they have had success with and it is far cheaper than other devices they have tried. In addition, because the apps are inexpensive they can experiment to see which ones are the most beneficial.

The article notes that there are studies in progress to determine how effective the iPad is for people with disabilities. In the months since the iPad has been on the market, it has already become a popular device for assisting the disabled but the usefulness of the device depends on the specific disability. In the coming months, we can expect that additional apps will be created and added to the app store to assist disabled users.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Partnership between XanEdu, Barnes & Noble, and Texas A&M

According to a recent press release, XanEdu, Barnes & Noble, and Texas A&M have partnered to conduct a pilot. Students at the university will access XanEdu’s course materials within the NookStudy application and provide feedback on the usability, accessibility, and features of the content and the application.

As mentioned previously, NookStudy is a free application that can be downloaded to PC’s and Mac’s. It enables students to download e-books and e-textbooks, take notes, tag content, search through both the textbook and annotations, and manage all of their digital content.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kindle e-book gifting program

On Friday, Amazon announced that consumers can now give Kindle e-books as gifts to anyone with an e-mail address. Consumers that do not own Kindle devices can download the free Kindle app to their PC, Mac, Apple, Blackberry, or Android devices to read the e-books.

Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Amazon Kindle, noted, "We are thrilled to make it easier than ever for our customers to give their favorite Kindle book to a friend or family member as a gift. We're making this functionality available in time for the holidays to offer an easy, stress free holiday shopping option for anyone - not just Kindle owners."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Delta Electronics to work on 3D e-paper in 2011

According to a posting on E-Reader-info.com, a company called Delta Electronics will soon begin mass producing color e-paper displays. The company says that their screen has a faster refresh rate than E Ink displays. Delta Electronics also says that 3D e-paper is possible and it will be a major focus for the company in 2011.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Using e-readers to assist students with reading disabilities

A recent Education Week article discusses how e-readers may be able to help students with dyslexia and reading disabilities. To date, there is not much research to confirm that e-readers can improve reading skills but the devices are still evolving and many educators believe that there is true potential. Some of the benefits that e-readers on the market today can provide are: text-to-speech functionality, the ability to change the size of the type, and a built-in dictionary that can help students look up words and pronunciations. In addition, children may feel more comfortable using the devices in front of their peers because e-readers were not specifically designed for students with disabilities, students may need less assistance from teachers and parents, and the devices could help reduce the time it takes for students to receive the content they need in the format that they require.

Along with these benefits, there are additional capabilities that could be added to e-readers to make the devices more powerful. David H. Rose, the founder and chief education officer for the Center for Applied Special Technology, says, for now it is imperative to bring together the manufacturers of e-readers, as well as educators, policymakers, and experts in educational technology, to determine what features e-readers could and should include.

Lotta Larson, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Kansas State University, pointed out that professional development will also be required. "I don't think the e-reader in itself is going to make a difference, but if it's used with effective instruction, then it can make a huge difference.”

As the devices evolve and more experiments are implemented, we can expect that additional research will be conducted to determine if e-readers can improve reading skills and assist those with reading disabilities.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Resource for iPad Pilot info

Jim Siegl, a Technology Architect from Fairfax County Public Schools, and Eric Lai, a blogger for ZDNET, have put together a website to keep track of all the iPad pilots that are occurring at Higher Ed institutions and K-12 schools. This website is a great resource and it includes details about the pilots, the number of devices in the pilots, and links to associated articles. The website also features information for other industries that are experimenting with iPads.

You can view the website here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Publishers see growth in digital content sales

Recent press releases from Wiley and McGraw-Hill provide information about their digital content sales in higher education and e-book sales.

In a press release from Wiley, William J. Pesce, President and CEO, commented, “In all of our businesses, we are experiencing growth in sales of digital content. We recently added Google to the extensive list of eBook channel partners. Margins in our Higher Education business continue to improve with the growth of WileyPLUS, digital content sales to institutions, customized offerings, and low-cost print products.”

For the Higher Education business, revenue from e-books, digital content sold directly to institutions, binder editions, and custom publishing grew by 33% and represented 21% of the global Higher Education business during the quarter. In addition, Wiley’s e-book sales doubled for the quarter and nearly doubled over the prior year.

In a press release from McGraw-Hill, it says that one of the contributors to a strong third quarter performance was the “double-digit increases in the sales of digital products and services in higher education and professional markets.” In addition, the number of registrations for McGraw-Hill Connect and other online homework management, assessment, and tutoring products grew to 1.9 million which is a 26% increase over the same period last year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New York Times to begin publishing e-book best seller lists

The New York Times has announced that it will begin publishing e-book best-seller lists in fiction and non-fiction early next year. According to an article on their website, the lists will be compiled from data from publishers, chain bookstores, independent booksellers, online retailers, and other sources. The New York Times has been publishing best seller lists since 1935.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

September 2010 e-book sales statistics

E-book sales statistics for September 2010 have been released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) via IDPF. Trade e-book sales were $39.9 million for September 2010, a 158.1% increase over September 2009. IDPF reports calendar year to date revenue is up 188%. Note: These figures represent the 12 to 15 trade book publishers who have been willing to supply their data to IDPF.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Results from NACS’ OnCampus Research study about e-books and e-readers

NACS’ research division, OnCampus Research, recently conducted an e-book and e-reader survey to find out how much college students are accessing e-books and the devices that they are using. Highlights from the report can be found here.

The study produced many interesting findings. In regards to e-book purchases, 13 percent of college students said that they purchased an e-book within the past three months. Of the 13 percent, 56 percent said that the primary reason for their purchase was that it was a required course material for class.

In regards to devices, eight percent of college students currently own an e-reader or an Apple iPad. Of the 92 percent that do not own a device, five percent plan to make a purchase in the near future and another 36 percent are unsure if they will buy one. The primary reason that 42 percent of students gave for not wanting to purchase a device was that they prefer print books. An additional one-third of the students said that they were not sure how an e-reader device would benefit them and 18 percent said that the device was too expensive or they were waiting for prices to drop.

These stats show that interest in e-books and e-readers is growing but the majority of students still prefer print or do not yet see the need for a device. This is likely to change as the technology progresses, the prices for e-readers come down, and the benefits are realized. In addition, the students in college today tend to have a lower preference for digital than the students a few years younger. As these students enter college in the next few years, we will likely see a significant change in preferences.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

HP in-store POD pilots at three universities

As mentioned in a previous posting, this semester Hewlett Packard (HP) is conducting print-on-demand (POD) pilots at three universities: Portland State University, The University of Kansas, and Arizona State University. Below you can find a list of links to articles and videos that provide more information about each of the pilots.

Portland State University:

  • An article from OregonLive.com discusses the pilot and says that the university has also partnered with Lulu self-publishing service. The partnership with Lulu allows authors to format their books online and then print the books at the PSU Bookstore.
  • The PSU Bookstore has created a video with more information and a demo of the technology.
  • Here is a link to a news story and video from Fox12 Oregon.
  • Here is a video that features Glen Hopkins, vice president of Hewlett Packard, discussing how the technology is changing the publishing industry.
  • Here is an article from the Portland Business Journal with more information about the pilot.

The University of Kansas

  • Here are some links to articles from Kansan.com and The Oread KU Employee Newsletter that discuss the pilot at KU.
  • Here is a video demo of the technology at KU’s bookstore.

Arizona State University

  • An article from ASU News features information about the pilot at ASU.
  • Here is a video demo of the technology at the ASU Bookstore. This posting also includes the goals of the pilot and information about their partnership with Lulu.
  • Another video featured on ASU’s The State Press discusses the capabilities of the technology.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Color E Ink e-reader to be released in China

Earlier this week, Hanvon Technology announced that it will be the first to sell an e-reader with a color E Ink display. The device will be available in March 2011 in China and it may be available in the U.S. in the future.

It is important to note that the screen will feature muted colors and not vibrant colors like a LCD screen. Color E Ink is created by placing a color filter over the black and white display. Like the black and white version, color E Ink will not be able to handle full-motion video because of the slow refresh rate. However, the device will still include a long battery life and the ability to read in the bright sunlight.

According to an article in The New York Times, Amazon and Sony plan to wait until the color E Ink technology matures before adding it to their devices. Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading business division, noted, “On a list of things that people want in e-readers, color always comes up. There’s no question that color is extremely logical. But it has to be vibrant color. We’re not willing to give up the true black-and-white reading experience.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kno announces pricing for tablets and begins accepting preorders

Earlier today, Kno announced the pricing for its single and dual-screen tablet devices and said that a limited number of devices will ship before the end of the year. As a reminder, the Kno Tablets were designed for higher education and include: 14-inch LCD screens to display full textbook pages; the ability to highlight and annotate; multitasking capabilities; support for stylus, touch, and keyboard input; and data backup in the cloud.

A posting on the All Things Digital website says that company will work with some college bookstores and the device will be aimed at 10 college campuses initially. This semester beta testing occurred at several campuses and Cengage Learning, McGraw Hill, Pearson, and Wiley provided select digital resources for the testing. The Kno website includes videos of a few students describing their experiences with the device and the company says that the student responses have been “overwhelmingly positive for both the single and dual screen devices.”

Students will be able to purchase textbooks through the Kno bookstore that will be accessible on the tablet. The store includes thousands of titles and the list can be viewed on Kno’s website. Currently the device has built in apps for reading, taking notes, and the web but additional apps are in development. A page on Kno’s website invites developers to help them design their development platform and build their app store. Apps for collaboration, specific subjects, educational games, and productivity tools will be available.

In addition, according to the New York Times, Kno plans to make its software available for laptops and potentially other tablets in the future.

These developments will certainly be ones to watch in the month’s ahead.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Study finds digital books could make up 25% of book sales by 2015

An article from The Bookseller.com discusses a new digital study that was conducted by Bain & Company. The study included 3,000 people from the U.S., France, Germany, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom. The study found that up to 25% of books will be sold in digital format by 2015 and 15-20% of consumers will own e-reader devices. The study also showed that the switch to digital will occur more rapidly in the U.S. and Korea.

In terms of profit, the study found that digital could represent 20-28% of book industry profits. However, this will be dependent on innovation of the content and operating methods. The study noted, “Experimenting with new formats - non-linear, hybrid, interactive or social - is where opportunity lies.”

Sunday, November 7, 2010

E-readers rank fifth on holiday gift wish list

According to a study by the Consumer Electronics Association, this holiday season spending on consumer electronics gifts will reach historic highs despite an overall decline in gift spending. In fact, three of the top five items on holiday gift wish lists of adults are for consumer electronics. E-readers made the list at number 5. The full list includes:

1- Peace/Happiness
2- Notebook/Laptop
3- iPad
4- Clothes
5- E-reader

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Best Kindle e-books of 2010

Amazon recently posted a list of its 100 bestselling e-book titles for 2010. They also have a second list that shows the top 100 editors’ picks.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Digital coursepacks

Inside Higher Ed’s Technology and Learning blog has an interesting posting about the evolution of the digital coursepack. The posting points out that the iPad could be a platform for developing coursepack apps that include: articles, web content, assignments, video, tutorials, leaning outcomes, and more. Much of this content is only available through learning management systems (LMS) currently. If the content was moved to an app, it would allow the LMS systems to be used for interaction and collaboration and evolve to include authoring and sharing of content.

For more information, the full post can be found here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Project Tomorrow’s Learning in the 21st Century: Taking it Mobile! report

Project Tomorrow has released a new report that includes key mobile related findings from its Speak Up 2009 survey.

According to the report, student access to mobile devices has more than tripled in the past few years. In 2006, 9 percent of high school students said that they owned a smartphone with internet access and now 31 percent say that they do. In addition, 24 percent of 6-8th graders say that they own smartphones. This increase in smartphone ownership has led to a change in student opinion about the primary barrier to using technology at school. In the 2008 study, the majority of students said that their school’s internet filters were the primary barrier to using technology but now 78 percent of 6-12th graders with smartphones say that the biggest barrier is the policies that prevent them from using their own devices. In addition, when students were asked how schools could make it easier for them to do their school work, 64 percent of high school students and 60 percent of middle school students said that they want to use their own devices.

When students were asked to design their “ultimate school,” 56 percent of middle and high school students said “mobile computers for every student” (examples include: laptops, mini-notebooks, or tablet PC’s). In addition, 52 percent of middle and high school students said that mobile devices would have the greatest positive impact on learning. More surprisingly, 52 percent of students in kindergarten through second grade said that their “ultimate school” would include laptops for every student.

The study also found that 62 percent of parents said that if their child’s school allowed mobile devices to be used for educational purposes, they would likely purchase a device for their child.

For more information, you can download the full report here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free e-books and textbooks on iTunes U

Apple’s iTunes U currently offers free lectures and courses, and now it will also offer free digital textbooks and e-books. According to an article from Wired Campus, The Open University has added 100 interactive e-books to iTunes U and plans to add an additional 200 e-books before the end of the year. Rice University has also added 18 free textbooks from its open education project called Connexions. Joel Thierstein, executive director of Connexions, pointed out that adding the textbooks to iTunes U could help institutions become more familiar with open-education content.