One of the exciting new advancements in education technology is the shift from hard copy textbooks to digital textbooks. There are a number of advantages to digital textbooks. First, publishers are offering the ability for schools to customize the content and cost structure of the digital textbook based on their needs. For example, a school may only be interested in purchasing certain chapters of a textbook relevant to their instruction.
Second, students no longer have to carry multiple, heavy books. All the digital textbooks can be loaded onto one mobile computing device. Students are more organized and less likely to forget one device.
Third, digital textbooks can be updated in real time, rather than having to wait for a supplementary or new edition at an added cost.
Recently, publishers and electronic manufacturers have also added highlighting and note taking capabilities, as well as included interactive elements in the digital textbook, such as streaming videos. One example is Inkling, a textbook company that offers education textbooks with interactive movies, diagrams, quizzes, and commentary. Schools can purchase these digital texts on a chapter-by-chapter basis, and many are free. For more information, visit http://www.inkling.com/.
Today, Apple announced they have developed a free app—iBooks 2— for viewing interactive digital textbooks on the iPad. In addition, they announced partnerships with three of the largest textbook publishers—McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt—to offer interactive digital textbooks priced at $14.99 or less and another free app—iBooks Author—that allows teachers to create digital textbooks from their existing presentation and digital content. For more information, please visit http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120119-710157.html.