Textbooks Turn Digital

June 22, 2011 - Leave a Response

The days of heading to the local campus bookstore to purchase the books needed for the semester are long gone. It seems that many of the print textbooks are being removed from the book shelves. Welcome to Textbook 2.0 or simply “education keeping up with the real world”.  Over the next five years, digital textbooks are predicted to surpass 18% of combined new textbook sales for the Higher Education market. This will increase the digital textbook revenues to more than $1 billion and also take some of the weight off students carrying heavy books to class.

Growth of sales will be influenced by pricing, availability of content, and increasing online learning.  Digital textbooks are cheaper, saving students up to 60% off the print editions.  There will be a greater availability of content as the long tail of textbooks is fulfilled. Within the coming years publishers plan to increase the availability of digital textbook titles.  Online courses will also to continue to grow over the next five years; publishers will produce more online books to be integrated with those courses.  The books will provide interactivity through tools such as online homework, quizzes, and exercises.  It will also allow teachers to create interactive applications for students; most teachers think this will strongly improve their course content.

A Pearson Foundation survey concluded that students using tablets overwhelmingly prefer digital textbooks over print.  It is expected that about 20% of college students will own a tablet or iPad by 2012.  By 2015, digital textbooks are expected to account for 25% of the textbook market share.

Universities are predicted to drive sales of digital textbooks by requiring the use of a table.  Higher education will see a dramatic increase in digital sales.  Elementary and high school markets will not be far behind as they are also in the process of adopting the digital textbook.

Will you considering purchasing a digital textbook?

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Students’ Writing Assignments “Dumber”?

June 20, 2011 - Leave a Response

Social media makes our messages condensed. Twitter allows up to 140 characters; Facebook allows up to 420 characters.  Many would think this would create clearer messages.  Wrong.  Welcome to the world of grammatical, usage, and spelling errors.  Slang terms such as BTW (by the way) have suddenly become incorporated into student assignments- a major concern for teachers.

According to a recent Pew Internet & American Life survey, 85% of respondents use some form of electronic communication.  While much of the younger generation has become accustomed to the social media slang, the teachers cannot understand what the students are writing.  Teachers understand that text messaging is a large part of young people’s lives; however, this should not excuse the formal writing students are assigned. Many teachers believe there has been a decline in students’ writing abilities due to new media.

Even though teens are heavily embedded in the digital age, most do not believe that communication over the Internet or text messaging is writing.  Teens generally do not believe that social media negatively affects their writing.  However, many do acknowledge that some of the slang does occasionally slip into their assignments for school.  In particular, teen bloggers and social network users have a tendency to use shortcuts and emoticons in their school writing assignments.

Parents have a different view about the effect of social media on students’ writing.  They believe that computers have a positive influence on writing and even make some students better writers.  Reasons a computer makes a positive influence include revising and editing easily, presenting ideas clearly, and the opportunity for creativity. Other parents do not believe that social media has any effect on writing.

Some feel that this is simply an evolution of language while others feel that the social media “is dumbing down” the English language.  The future is unclear as more generations of students grow up in the age of social media.

Have you ever used a shortcut like LOL (laughing out loud) or an emoticon in a school assignment?