Saturday, May 28, 2011

Students Show a Tablet/Textbook Disconnect

A recent Pearson Foundation survey of college students and college-bound high school seniors contained good news for tablet-makers. Even though only about 7% of college students queried own a tablet, 60% of them envision owning one in the future (15% within the next year), and nearly 70% said they believe the devices will transform higher education.

The survey results were less rosy for e-textbook publishers. According to this Inside Higher Ed article, students’ belief that tablets such as the Apple iPad and Barnes & Noble Nook will revolutionize learning isn’t matched by any enthusiasm for digital textbooks. While almost 70% of those who said they wanted a tablet claimed they would read e-textbooks on it, only 39% of students who own a tablet actually use it to access such content.

That statistic, coupled with the mixed results from tablet pilot projects on various campuses, suggests that firsthand experience with the current crop of tablets may curb students’ enthusiasm for leaving print textbooks behind.

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