Apple's New Textbook PlatformWhat do you think of the textbook platform that Apple introduced today? Do you see it and iPads ever replacing traditional textbooks in your classrooms? From Publishers...

Apple's New Textbook Platform

What do you think of the textbook platform that Apple introduced today? Do you see it and iPads ever replacing traditional textbooks in your classrooms?

From Publishers Weekly:

[The textbooks] feature beautiful layouts, endless multimedia (audio, video, animation, animated 3D models, interactive quizzes, the list goes on). And iBooks Author makes it really easy--any author can follow the template or make up a new one and drag and drop prepared materials like text and video right into the new book. Once complete, a push of the button places it in the iBookstore in a digital marketplace holding hundreds of millions of credit card numbers.

Prices for the textbooks will be $14.99 or less. Three major publishers are already onboard for the launch.

Expert Answers
dmcgillem eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Our corporation is looking into making the transition from textbooks to iPads or something similar.  Some of the questions raised have been similar to the ones above.  If you look at other corporations as models, though, you can see real-world examples of how something like that could work.  Digital literacy is an area that we must address for our students, and the fact is that we must go beyond teaching them to make a PowerPoint.  Here are a few of the things I've learned and read from other corporations:

1)  iPads and eReaders allow students to "mark" text in the same way as traditional note-taking, highlighting, or sticky notes, and also have a dictionary that pops up when students press and hold a word.

2)  Many of the model corporations who have made this move cite SAVING money as a reason to make the transition.  Textbooks can run hundreds of dollars, and if you compare the cost of an iPad (approximately $600 with protection plan, wifi capability, and a cover - but also before the bulk discount) to the cost of a new textbook in language arts - grammar and literature, math, science, and social studies, the cost would be at least equivalent if not cheaper for the iPad.  When our corporation adopted our last English textbooks, they were markedly more than $100 each.  The transition doesn't have to be made all at once - if a corporation equips one or two grade-levels at a time and adds another each year instead of adopting textbooks, the initial expenditure won't be as much of a burden.

3)  Corporations already using this technology instead of physical textbooks charge the same rental fee and use this money for maintenance.  Replacement cost works the same if damaged or lost.

I don't have all the answers to every concern that might arise, obviously, but I do think that this would be feasible.  It would require that teachers be thoroughly trained, however, for it to work.  Corporations that just hand the teachers an iPad and say "Good luck!" are just going to fuel resentment, which in the end is just going to prohibit our students from acquiring the preparation they need in 2012.

pirateteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We were discussing this at lunch today.  For the fifth year in a row, our school has no money for textbooks.  Donors Choose and benevolent parents are our only source for supplemental books.  Recently, students have started reading books on their ipods, iphones, and ipads.  I have 67 seniors and 30 copies of Dracula. How in the world will I teach it?  Parent donation and students downloading it (for free!) fills in the needed books.

I think this is the direction education is going.  When was the last time you saw a kid not complaining about the weight of their bookbag?  Besides, this is the way most studnets are reading information.  Websites, facebook, pdfs- students read online the way we read books.  Why not meet them where they are?

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This sounds like a great idea to me.  I am already noticing that more and more of my students have i-Pads and bring them to class.  I suspect that the prices of such machines will continue to decrease as time goes by, and, besides, the costs of some textbooks today rival the cost of an iPad.  I suspect that in a generation (if not sooner), electronic books will be the norm.  Friends of mine who have iPads and Kindles and who used to be devoted to physical books have now become huge fans of these machines. Their wholesale enthusiasm has surprised me.  I have an iPad but never use it (it was given to me by my school).

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In theory this sounds like a great idea, but I think this would be a bad approach. Textbooks are superior in my opinion. I might be old fashioned, but the book format seems to be the most effective way to study. There is something to be said to be able to thumb through a book and to take notes on the margins. An ipad for all it touted advantages cannot compete with this. Also as post 2 states, the price of an ipad is very great. Moreover, as with all technology, every few years, there will be a replacement.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you only need to take one look at the amount of heavy textbooks the average high school student needs to cart around nowadays to see that the revolution in digital books is going to be something that will greatly lessen the burden of students in the near future. The sheer practicality of being able to take one tablet around instead of big heavy textbooks for each subject means that this is a revolution that will definitely be happening at some point in the next few years.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can't see it.  But then again I'm not the most visionary person ever.

Seems as if there are two issues here.  One is the issue of whether do it yourself texts would ever get accepted in K-12.  I can see doing it for my college classes where there's a lot of discretion for the instructor.  But not in HS.  The second issue is price.  If I understand correctly, this presupposes everyone having an iPad.  That's out of reach for most districts around here.


stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps classroom sets of iPads will become the norm - students could access the incredible resources during class but wouldn't be able to take the materials home. No different than those students who don't take textbooks home!

For students who want to be able to work with the material out of class, it will get a little harder. I agree with those who have indicated concerns about how students will treat the equipment...

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the biggest issue which will/can arise is students not taking care of the tablet. I see students throwing books around all the time. I also see phones and calculators being treated in the same way. If students will treat their own things like that, what keeps them from flinging a tablet across the room?

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Between cost for the IPad itself and the maintance of such a fragile piece of equipement for hundreds or thousands of students in a school it sounds rather unfeasible. I love my tablet, but I think it makes more sense for a school to a have a classroom set or sets available for use on a project by project basis.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From the student's perspective, it would be grand to have a Ctrl + F search functionin textbooks! That would be the end of: "I know I read right here somewhere but can't find it!"