Watch this interesting examination of electronic book technology:
When the dust settles in e-book development, we don’t know if the readers in the video will come out on top or if some generic tool like Apple’s iPad or Amazon’s Kindle will be the winner, but it does seem certain that we are moving in the direction of e-readers that are easier to carry than the large tomes that have our students dragging luggage through the halls today and standing in line at the bookstore to return them. Perhaps electronic books won’t be thrown back, but kept in students’ digital libraries.
The interactive trend in digital textbooks opens up opportunities to engage the text both in and out of the classroom that go beyond what we can do with a print book and a computer. Of course, as teachers, we fear that students will put the book aside, move to related content on the web, and never return to the book. Digital textbooks present text in interactive relation to video, image, and secondary sources, so that it is part of the larger context and not an old relic being dragged along behind.
What would you like to see in electronic texts in your field? In college writing, I’d like to see a digital textbook in which students can write and collaborate as part of the interaction, in addition to all the visual possibilities for representing writing concepts and development.
Electronic textbooks are listed in the most recent Horizon Report in the one year or less time to adoption. You can pick up a copy of the report here: http://www.educause.edu/Resources/2011HorizonReport/223122