eBooks / Education / Higher Education / Instructional Design

Interactive Textbooks: Predictions about Use in Higher Education and Learning

iBooks Author logo

I’m predicting a big push towards using electronic textbooks in higher education at the end of summer 2012.  Teachers will likely be integrating electronic textbooks (iBooks, ePub/hPub) into their instruction at a much higher rate then we’ve seen before.  A recent report shows that the number of U.S. students who own tablets has tripled in the last year.  This month’s iPad 3 release will free up a surplus of iPad 1 and 2’s, making iPads (and other tablets) even more affordable.  The Android-side of tablets has some great offerings, including the Asus Transformer Prime, which UH’s College of Education just received.  More students will have tablets while walking into the first day of their college education this coming August/September than ever before, by a lot.

iBooks Templates

iBooks Templates (cover choices)

Combine the tablets in student hands with an easy-to-make-beautiful-books authoring tool: iBooks Author.

You’re going to see the tech-savvy instructors at prominent universities begin to author their own books for the courses they teach.  If an instructor has good command of the content and can put together a good PowerPoint presentation, any one of them can make an iBook.  And if it proves to increase student achievement, you’ll have a huge call for instructional designers to author the books.  It’s that simple.

The interactive features that are so easily built into a iBook make it the most attractive option thus far.  Apple did it right, and it will be a short while til a competitor comes along to build their own electronic textbook authoring tool with all the same features.

Interactive Image & Gallery Widgets for iBook

Interactive Image & Gallery Widgets for iBook

With this in mind, other industries should pay attention to this swing for electronic textbooks when it comes.  Any company with a tool to teach or a new product to describe is going to benefit from simple, effective, interactive books.  Good content development + interactive features = engagement and learning.  What do you want your target group to learn?

I’ve had this conversation a dozen times in the last few weeks, all leading to similar conclusions.  If you’re an instructor who would like to create an iBook with the content you already have, you should try it.  Starting the development process sooner will allow time for proper revision and approval from your department to use your electronic textbook (if needed).

If anyone is interested, I’m part of a group building an interactive iBook that teaches how to select and place visuals for instructional media like web pages, presentations, and yes…iBooks.  Will be posting about the process as we go along, in case an insider’s perspective can help someone on the fence about creating their own iBook.

Thanks to Laureen Kodani for the link to the student’s tablet use article.

Any thoughts or comments?

4 thoughts on “Interactive Textbooks: Predictions about Use in Higher Education and Learning

  1. I agree that electronic books will become a more prevalent component of higher education. Its mobile nature fits the digital native’s lifestyle and library databases are significantly increasing the amount of electronic resources available for students.

    • Right on, I’m with you Laureen. Proper design is needed to make use of those databases and the advanced computing power we have, but it’s on the move. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I think you are right that higher education institutions will move more quickly on this than K-12 institutions. However, once the economics of saving overcomes the fear of new, which I think will be soon, eBooks will catch on across the spectrum. I feel like I barely use the textbook in my classroom as is, because there are much more dynamic options available on the web. When I do use the textbook, I use the electronic version which came with our print issue.

    • Great point! I’ve seen more and more textbooks coming with electronic versions and/or electronic media to supplement the print books. At a certain point, they will be used interchangeably depending on the technology available in schools. Thanks for your first-hand reflection on eMedia used in the classroom!

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