Tag Archives: textbooks

The demise of textbooks as we know them.

I love books. I mean real books, the kind you can hold, dog-ear, smell, flip your fingers through, scribble notes in, and sit on to appear taller in important meetings. I’ve held strong to real books despite the rapid rise of the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad, and every other eReader out there. Those gadgets are cool, but I want my books to smell like ink and coffee.

Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

So today Apple shook me a bit when they announced a new approach to textbooks through a tablet application called iBooks 2. I actually think it’s pretty nifty. Who really likes conventional textbooks? Sure they are good at leveling out the short leg on the coffee table, and yes, they are better than most other books at pressing leaves and flowers, but they are also painfully stagnant learning tools in a world where the most up-to-date knowledge and information can be accessible at the click of a mouse.

Many years ago the textbook allied with initial-laden backpacks and deviant school administrators to infuse students with scoliosis and classrooms with an epidemic of textbook (pardon the pun) boredom. I’m not always a fan of technology, but I’m thrilled by this new opportunity to provide students with cheaper, lighter “textbooks” (though you do have to buy an iPad…) containing constantly updated information and interactive content. I think if I had yoga breakdance videos embedded in my physics book in high school, or could learn about birds by listening to their calls with a simple click, I might have been more engaged. Well, I’m not actually sure the Apple textbooks are that cool yet (but I invite the thousands of Apple programmers that follow this blog to steal the idea).

Here’s an article about the announcement.

As learning tools and information become more and more streamlined and accessible to all, how do you think schools and classrooms will change?

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