The Textbook Era is Ending
As technology advances and tablet computers continue to grow in popularity, it is only a matter of time before textbooks become obsolete. We have already seen this transition for several news periodicals, and now the textbook industry is likely to follow suit.
The company, Kno, has announced the beta release of its digital textbook application available for the iPad. The free app currently has 70,000 exact digital copies of text and library books available at a fraction of the cost.
The app has one touch highlighting, double tap zoom and digital post it notes which can be attached anywhere the student is reading. It also has a built in search feature to facilitate studying a particular topic or term. The best feature, in my opinion, is the social aspect. This will allow for discussion boards, study buddies, extra help, etc. amongst students in the same class.
I have mixed feelings about all digital textbooks. On one hand, this can have a positive impact on students and education. There’s no denying kids love technology and gadgets, having everything on an iPad could get them excited about their schooling… Or it could be a distraction if they have the ability to download Angry Birds. Also, since younger students wouldn’t have to carry heavy books around anymore, we would probably see youth cases of scoliosis fall.
On the other hand, you have to think about the publishing companies. As much as I hated having to buy a ninth edition instead of a significantly cheaper eighth edition due to three words being changed, they still give jobs to real people. Going digital with textbooks would put more people out of work and with unemployment being at 9.1% as of the end of May, I find it difficult to get excited about iPads for education.