Textbooks have come a long way in the last decade. No longer are the days when having the heaviest backpack signified the students with the greatest amount of course work. Physical textbooks are becoming less and less popular as we propel into the age of the e-book. Teachers and students, alike, favor the ease-of-use of the e-book, as well as the books’ capability to interact on new, exciting levels. The price helps its standing in the minds of students, as well. Soon, every classroom will incorporate some sort of classroom technology and have access to e-textbooks and there will be no looking back on the dated, heavy books of late.
If you’ve never seen or used an e-textbook, you should definitely check it out (follow the link to *Chegg.com’s new eTextbook reader, so you can see for yourself how awesome this technology is). Using the e-book, you can:
- Add notes
- Bookmark pages
- Search the entire body of the textbook for keywords
- Easily navigate through the book’s contents
E-books can be accessed on computers and mobile devices, so this makes the e-textbook the most portable of all classroom tools. A student can be taking 5 classes, each of which require a different textbook, and have access to all 5 of those textbooks on their tablet, e-reader, Smartphone, or laptop.
Colleges are jumping on board the e-textbook ship, also. Schools like Indiana University negotiate with major e-book publishing companies to expand the vast library of books that are able to be accessed and, also, to the lower the cost of the books for students. Brad Wheeler, of Indiana University, was a key player in the university’s initial decision to embrace tablets and e-books; he, like many other school administrators, thinks that the technology is a great idea that needs to be embraced. The university calls its e-book program eTexts. In a story written for Information Week, the university sites the success of the program: “Now in its third full semester, some 10,000 IU students are part of its e-text initiative, which has doubled to 250 course sections in just the past year. From a cost standpoint, IU believes it has saved $200,000 in total over next-best options.”
There are even multi-faceted companies that integrate e-textbooks into an interactive platform that allows students and teachers to collaborate within the courses structure. Courseload is one of those companies. Using Courseload, a teacher can highlight text that is important to a future exam, students can post questions, citing specific examples within the text, and all of this information can be posted so that all of the teacher’s students may see. In my mind, it’s like Blackboard on crack; you have the capabilities of collaboration and accessing content, with the added feature of citing examples in the actual text and having access to it over a number of devices.
E-textbooks are the wave of the future. Soon students will need only a mobile device in their classes to take notes and to access their textbooks. If only more universities saw the potential and greatness that is the e-book.
*Chegg is an online retailer that allows students to find their textbooks required for their classes and rent them from Chegg. You can even find used and new books to buy. With the new eTextbook reader, students can now rent digital versions of their textbooks.
Image: Found on flickrcc.net