As we wait to hear the unveiling of Apple’s major announcement scheduled for today, several other industry professionals are already weighing in on the aspects of technological applications for education that the industry can provide. Data Conversion Laboratory CEO Mark Gross made some interesting points on these applications.
“Education is the big frontier in computer technology – besides being a huge market, it’s still largely untapped, and new technology is certainly going to have impact over the next three to five years.”
Some of that technology is already well in place, such as tablet PC, enhanced ebooks for textbooks, and dedicated e-readers. Many schools are already using distance learning through various communication platforms like Skype and FaceTime to offer courses that would be unavailable to students, even at the elementary school level.
“We’re working with a number of major educational publishers to transform their content for epub and kindle, and other devices,” continued Gross, “and it sure seems that all major publishers, as well as smaller [ones], have projects in the wings for at least moving some content over. From our perspective, moving the content is technology we already know, and accuracy in transcription is also something we already know. That isn’t where the problem will be.”
“The missing link is better technology to support the complexities of education publishing, which is much more complex than epublishing a novel. Ebook standards are not quite up to supporting all the complexities, and what’s also needed is technology to better support how people actually use these products to learn. The traditional things people do with print books—take notes, write marginalia, put stickies, yellow highlight—all those things are still very cumbersome, and that where the opportunity lies.”