Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ebooks make it as School Textbooks

Tablets for School Use

A few years back I predicted that all students would have access to
artist conception of image
on a tablet computer
©Valerie Coskrey
computers. The idea of having rented chapters of textbooks and whole ebooks of textbooks would, to me, have done 2 needed services for kids in junior and senior high schools: reduced the weight of backpacks and given the students a textbook that they would actually take home. Today, the smart phones, netbooks, tablet computers and ereaders are making this idea a reality.

Just yesterday this article was posted to the internet:
Private school’s Chromebook program explains why Google’s laptops have captured nearly 20% of the educational market

I will admit that using an ereader or tablet to read a textbook or magazine has some drawbacks. Not all texts are presented in the same manner as the book. But books cannot easily show videos and photo albums to illustrate the point, either. And there are programs out there that will present a book's page much like the page of a textbook or magazine.

Expense? Well, the books themselves are very expensive. If the tablets were purchased by the schools and rented to students by the year or month, the cost could be recovered. IF textbook publishers do not demand a high price for the ebook, that is.

In public schools, the idea of renting resources might be a problem. Community programs might be asked to supply funds for the poorer kids. Maybe the first tablet could be free with subsequent tablets requiring purchase.

Maybe kids would learn to respect their school supplies if they had to pay for them.

There are many issues to be worked out, but the day of printed textbooks are numbered.