Monday, August 20, 2012

Students Produce Ed-Tech E-Text for iPad

Nine graduate students at Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, produced an e-textbook that just might be the starting point for more educational technology, according to this article in eCampus News. The group introduced its free e-textbook for iPads, Using Technology in Education, through the Apple iBookstore last January.

The e-text is full of video and images covering topics ranging from use of social media to advances in assistive technology to e-readers in higher education.

“This movement toward electronic textbooks and tablet computers could revolutionize K-12 and higher education,” said Chris Greer, associate professor of instructional technology at the John H. Lounsbury College of Education at Georgia College and instructor for the students who produced the e-text. “Digital textbooks are inexpensive and can be updated more quickly and easily. Our textbook strives to look at technology and education together.”

Greer added he believes textbooks for iPads will be even more useful once more educators adopt e-readers. That day may be coming, as more than 600 school districts around the country have iPad programs in place, according to Greer, while a recent Student Monitor survey found that six in 10 college students and seven of 10 high school seniors think tablet computers will replace traditional printed textbooks within five years.

Another e-text scheduled to be available for this fall term is Introduction to Sociology from education startup Highlighter and the 20 Million Minds Foundation. This e-book is being described as the “first student-faculty interactive textbook” because it offers social highlighting and commenting features that can be shared.

Highlighter expects the e-text will allow professors to track a student’s progress through its note-taking feature. Plus, the app is HTML5, which makes it compatible for use on all devices.

“I recently wrote that the latest round of textbook-related news was banal at best,” Audrey Watters said in her Inside Higher Education blog. “But the social components (of the Highlighter project), along with the OER materials and the flexibility therein, do offer something a lot more interesting here, I think.”

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