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.
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.
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?