Any parent who has witnessed his child struggle under the weight of an oversized school bag has probably wondered when those digital textbooks we keep hearing about are finally going to get here. Moreover, plenty of parents have bought their children the technology needed to run the ebooks–the tablets, the iPads, even the dedicated e-readers–so, where are the books? When will the day come that the backpack only has one tablet in it?
Ruth Jones from Ingram spoke at the FutureBook conference today on a panel dedicated to the transformation of digital textbooks. The standing room-only crowd heard presenters speak on the pros and cons of where e-textbooks as a whole, as well as where those texts need to go in order to enjoy systematic adoption.
Jones noted that in order for the K-12 sector to adopt digital textbooks across every grade and subject, the biggest factor potentially being the streamlining of the books across the publishers. Students in lower education cannot be expected to access ebooks from a wide variety of publishers, as is the case with print editions that are published by several different publishers for each subject.
Jones also spoke to GoodeReader about the possible reasons why digital textbooks have seen a greater adoption at the higher education level than in the public schools, namely that in those arenas that students are accustomed to paying for content, as well as the fact that they see the means to an end in this kind of investment towards their degrees and ultimately their careers.
The most profound statement during the panel today was that the bells and whistles of interactive digital textbooks are amazing and useful, but they are completely pointless without the dynamic learning content to go with it.