Digitizing Education: A Primer on eBooks.A student makes the traditional pilgrimage to the campus bookstore with a new class schedule in hand. In previous semesters, she would have snaked through long, winding lines to buy used, highlighted, dog-eared textbooks.
This time, however, she logs on at one of a dozen computer kiosks, enters her authorization number, slides a debit card debit card, card that allows the cost of goods or services that are purchased to be deducted directly from the purchaser's checking account. They can also be used at automated teller machines for withdrawing cash from the user's checking account. through a machine, and leaves the bookstore with a very different set of readings.
Besides one traditional textbook (priced at $65), she also leaves with two customized printed books. One consists of a few chapters from several standard textbooks The book smells "fresh" because it was printed the night before, and it cost only $27. The other customized book comprises a chapter from a traditional textbook, two case studies from various professors, and a white paper written by the professor teaching the course. This book costs about $20.
Back in her dorm room, the student connects to the Internet and finds an e-mail from the bookstore waiting for her. Following links within the e-mail, she downloads the electronic version of the physical textbook that she just bought for $65. She sees that electronic versions of her two new customized books are available for just $2.50 and $10 respectively; she downloads these to her laptop as well.
Finally, while she is organizing her new digital textbooks The Digital Textbook program was announced by the Education Ministry of South Korea on March 8th 2007, the program intends to provide for all Korean schools by 2011.
History using software on her laptop, the student receives another e-mail. This time, the message contains an attachment from her chemistry professor, who, with one mouse click, has sent a sixty-five-page digital course pack and supplemental reading materials to a class of 150 students.
The total cost of all these paper and electronic materials is roughly 30 percent less than what she would have paid for the same course materials a semester se·mes·ter
One of two divisions of 15 to 18 weeks each of an academic year.
[German, from Latin (cursus) s before. Almost all are accessible both electronically and in print, and she now has room in her backpack for something besides books and study guides.
This is not a scene from a futuristic fu·tur·is·tic
1. Of or relating to the future.
a. Of, characterized by, or expressing a vision of the future: futuristic decor.
b. novel. Electronic reading materials -- eBooks -- are real today. Digital learning content is about to overtake o·ver·take
tr.v. o·ver·took , o·ver·tak·en , o·ver·tak·ing, o·ver·takes
a. To catch up with; draw even or level with.
b. To pass after catching up with.
2. the education marketplace and change the way we distribute and interact with information and, ultimately, the way we learn.
Gadgets and security
What exactly is an "eBook"? Depending on whom you ask, an eBook either is a device specialized for displaying electronic reading material, is software designed to display such material, or is the material itself. We've been reading digital content on "glass" for years, of course.
The recent surge in attention to eBooks relates to the fact that digital rights management (DRM (1) (Digital Radio Mondiale) A digital audio broadcasting (DAB) system for AM radio in Europe. See HD Radio.
(2) (Digital Rights M ) software tied to electronic commerce is now available. By enabling the protection of intellectual property in electronic formats, DRM software is revolutionizing the availability of digital content.
Admittedly, we're a long way from replacing the aesthetic feel of a printed book. However, for readers who read for information and who are mobile, the benefits so outweigh the disadvantages as to ensure that the era of the eBook has begun.
Dedicated eBook devices -- including the Franklin eBookMan The Franklin eBookMan is a discontinued handheld device specifically made to read ebooks. This gadget, made from 1999 until 2002, also has standard PDA functions and can play and record sounds. , Gemstar eBook, goReader, and others- - are gadgets that you hold in your hand while reading digital content. These devices cost between $125 and $600 and include dictionaries, backlit An LCD screen that has its own light source from the back of the screen, making the background brighter and characters appear sharper. screens, and friendly user interfaces that make for a near-paper reading experience.
They are limited in certain ways. For example, the user may be unable to print parts of the eBook conveniently or to share or lend the digital files even if the eBook publisher agrees to it. In addition to these dedicated reading devices, multifunctional "tablet PCs (1) A tablet computer environment from Microsoft that is based on an enhanced version of Windows XP. Designed to function more like a portable writing tablet than previous tablet-based computers, it includes handwriting recognition as well as the ability to retain handwritten words " and other lightweight, high-resolution devices are being made or designed.
In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile , tens of millions of PCs, but especially Windows and Macintosh laptops, make excellent eBook devices through the use of free, downloadable software featuring tools for individualizing text-resolution preferences.
The current eBook readers for PCs provide a means for literally every faculty member and student with a PC to explore this new way of accessing both protected and unprotected electronic content. Adobe Systems Adobe Systems Incorporated (pronounced a-DOE-bee IPA: /əˈdoʊbiː/) (NASDAQ: ADBE) (LSE: ABS) is an American computer software company headquartered in San Jose, California, USA. Inc. and Microsoft have both introduced software for reading eBooks on desktop computers and laptops. Another version of the Microsoft Reader Microsoft Reader is a Microsoft program for reading of e-books. The current version for desktops is 2.6.1 (Build), copyright 2000-2007, and requires Windows Vista Ultimate or Windows XP Tablet Edition - UMPC only. Version 2.1. product runs on handheld pocket PC devices It may never be fully completed or, depending on its its nature, it may be that it can never be completed. However, new and revised entries in the list are always welcome. This is a list of Pocket PC and Windows CE devices, and companies that make, or have made, them. manufactured by Hewlett-Packard, Casio, and Compaq. Likewise, Adobe, Palm Computing and Handspring hand·spring
A gymnastic feat in which the body is flipped completely forward or backward from an upright position, landing first on the hands and then on the feet. offer software for reading eBooks on handheld devices that use the Palm operating system operating system (OS)
Software that controls the operation of a computer, directs the input and output of data, keeps track of files, and controls the processing of computer programs. . Current eBook software has many advantages over dedicated eBook devices. If the publisher or author allows it, eBooks accessed by eBook reader software may be printed, loaned, or given away to friends or colleagues. Materials read in this way may also be annotated, bookmarked, digitally searched for words or phrases, and updated via the Internet by the publisher or author.
Further, text-to-speech and other audio options can be highly valuable for vision-impaired students or for international students with difficulties reading English.
Effective eBook software enables the digital eBook to mirror the printed book, with graphics, equations, photos, charts, and illustrations vividly displayed amid the text in the same format and layout as the eBook's printed counterpart. This is especially important in education, where graphics are invaluable tools for conveying dynamic, abstract concepts such as molecular bonding or the subtleties of tone and shading See Phong shading, Gouraud shading, flat shading and programmable shading. in a work of art
Adding value to education
In the broad sense of electronic content, eBooks are ideal for the academic environment. A number of social and economic factors make eBooks or digital content preferable to paper textbooks and course materials, or at least highly desirable as additions to these materials.
First of all, eBooks provide a means to add texts to non-textbook courses, whether the material is a trade book -- nonfiction, biography, etc. -- or customized content authored by the faculty member. This is particularly appealing for upper-division courses, in which textbooks are used less frequently. In addition, textbooks in eBook format can be made modular. This will allow the faculty member to review a 15-chapter textbook and simply select the three or four chapters that are relevant to a course. This modular selection can be offered electronically and as a POD book in the bookstore, with either option costing considerably less than the price of the complete printed textbook.
Another distinct advantage of eBooks is the equality of access to learning materials they provide to both the campus-based and the distant learner. Students who are literally anywhere in the world will have access to the same content as does the student on campus, whether that access is through the faculty Web site, the college bookstore or the digital library.
Furthermore, with dictionary plug-ins and automated text-to-speech technology, the eBook reader software can greatly benefit students whose primary language is not English. Also, eBooks also open the door to the many precious and rare documents that are under lock and key in collections around the world. Typically inaccessible inaccessible Surgery adjective Unreachable; referring to a lesion that unmanageable by standard surgical techniques–eg, lesions deep in the brain or adjacent to vital structures–ie, not accessible. See Accessible. to the average student, these will become available, as digital representations, to any student in any location.
Keeping current is an additional advantage of eBooks. For courses on cutting-edge technologies or current affairs current affairs npl → (noticias fpl de) actualidad f
current affairs current npl → (questions fpl d')actualité f
, many textbooks are out of date the minute they are printed. The use of eBooks can enable daily, weekly, or monthly updates via the Internet. This would eliminate obsolete textbooks and would help the student and instructor stay on top of developments relevant to their courses.
The digital version also can improve on qualities of traditional printed books. Like a paper book, the eBook will become marked with highlighting, with page corners turned down for quick reference, and with notes made in the margins of the pages. The difference with the eBook is that all of these aids will be the user's own amendments rather than the vestiges of the learning habits of previous owner.
Finally, another factor that may influence the adoption of eBooks and other digital courseware is the financial model used by traditional textbook publishers and the financial burden this model imposes on students.
The average price of a new textbook in 1998 was almost $62, and this price is anticipated to increase anywhere from 4 percent to 6 percent per year. This represents a nearly 500 percent increase since 1965. Contributing factors to this worsening wors·en
tr. & intr.v. wors·ened, wors·en·ing, wors·ens
To make or become worse.
Noun 1. worsening - process of changing to an inferior state
decline in quality, deterioration, declension scenario include the fact that 24 percent of all academic books are returned to publishers from college bookstores and the fact that each purchased book is turned over an average of six times before it is out of circulation.
The acceptance of eBooks by the higher education higher education
Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art. community will be directly proportional (Math.) proportional in the order of the terms; increasing or decreasing together, and with a constant ratio; - opposed to
See also: Directly to ease of access. Textbooks, course books, and other digital learning materials need to be as easy to find, buy, obtain, and use as books bought at a conventional college bookstore or found in the campus library. With a seamless, one-click eBook purchasing or lending experience, students will be excited to switch to digital. Acquiring eBooks needs to be as simple and as attractive as acquiring and managing MP3 files. Campus and public libraries will play a major role in the distribution of digital content, especially as specialized lending services become commonplace.
A great reading experience is the key to the success of eBooks on campus. The burden here lies with the technology used to read the eBook, be it the device or the software. Simple but crucial issues like the weight, size, and general look and feel of an eBook device can make or break its success.
Reading on the desktop PC or laptop also will be affected by Internet access See how to access the Internet. , compatibility with operating systems Operating systems can be categorized by technology, ownership, licensing, working state, usage, and by many other characteristics. In practice, many of these groupings may overlap. , ease of use, and look and feel. By its nature, eBook reading software needs to interact well with the computer on which it is installed, with no crashes or compatibility issues.
The overarching o·ver·arch·ing
1. Forming an arch overhead or above: overarching branches.
2. Extending over or throughout: "I am not sure whether the missing ingredient . . . question will be, does the eBook experience enhance or detract from detract from
verb 1. lessen, reduce, diminish, lower, take away from, derogate, devaluate << OPPOSITE enhance
verb 2. the students' experience and education? If it detracts, it will be a short-lived experiment. If it lives up to its massive potential, learning will change forever.
A longer version of this article was previously published in EDUCAUSEReview 36, no. 4 (July/August 2001): 38-46.
MICHAEL A. LOONEY SENIOR DIRECTOR ADOBE NETWORK MARKETING
MARK SHEENAN CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER MONTANA STATE UNIVERSTITY-BOZEMAN