Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Electronic textbooks - not a sure thing just yet.

We'd previously reported that the Kindle DX is likely to be the next big thing in academic technology.  However, the Chronicle of Higher Ed reminds us that even seemingly great ideas must still find acceptance among the ever fickle public.  In the case of electronic textbooks, there's been some resistance among both students and professors who are having trouble figuring out how the darn things work:

Students and professors have to learn how to use the newfangled textbooks. 'I mean, you can easily read it, but if you want to highlight or enlarge the text or share your notes with other people,'you have to learn to do that, said Tania Brobst, a junior at the university. Initially skeptical, she now says she prefers the electronic version in part because of its search feature and the ability to paste passages into a Microsoft Word document for note taking. 

Other students apparently still prefer print rather than the electronic format. 

The CHE invites you to leave your own thoughts about the future of electronic textbooks here.

I am the scholarship dude.



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Ebooks can be very effective for interactivity, feedback, and engaging the students in the classroom. I have been using one, TeachingLaw.com (published by Aspen) for over 4 years at Georgetown to teach LRW. To be candid, I'm the author, but it is now being used by over 20 law schools across the country - and internationally. Amy Sloan's Basic Legal Research is also now available in TeachingLaw.com format.

The students like the convenience, the immediate feedback of quizzes and assessments, and the interactivity; innovative professors are using it to engage the students in the classroom. While some students might prefer to highlight and write notes or add comments, they now can with a new app they can download for free off the web at diigo.com. So, I think the future of the ebook is now, but not with a kindle. I know I"m not alone when I say that I can't imagine using a traditional textbook anymore.

Posted by: D. Donahoe | Jun 18, 2009 9:10:55 AM

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