Archive for the ‘E-Books’ Category

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Hundreds of teachers in the Riverside, Calif., school system are now using digital devices to provide content to students through e-textbooks. (Source: Education Week)

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Major changes to state education policies have been recommended by the newly formed Digital Learning Council. Some of the ideas include abolishing seat-time requirements, linking teacher pay to student success, and overhauling public school funding models, Education News reports.

The council–headed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise and includes about 100 leaders across government, education, business, technology, and research–also suggests that, not only should all students have access to digital learning opportunities in the form of online or blended courses, but they should have choices between providers and methods of access.

The recommendations are part of the council’s 10 policy suggestions in a report issued Wednesday for states to use digital learning as a catalyst for education reform.

Read more on Edweek.org

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On Tuesday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan released the U.S. Department of Education’s plan for transforming American education through technology, a process that would create state-of-the-art, cradle-to-college school system nationwide.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to reform our schools,” Duncan said during the State Educational Technology Directors Association Education Forum. “With this technology plan, we have laid out a comprehensive vision for how teachers working with technology can transform student learning in classrooms across America. We must dramatically improve teaching and learning, personalize instruction and ensure that the educational environments we offer to all students keep pace with the 21st century.”

The final version of The National Education Technology Plan (NETP), written and refined over 18 months by leading education researchers, also pledges to finance development of open-source educational resources and launch an initiative dedicated to defining and increasing educational productivity, Education Week reported. The Department of Education sees this plan as a crucial component of the administration’s effort to have America lead the world in college completion by 2020 and help close the achievement gap so that all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers.

The plan, titled “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” presents a model with key goals in five areas: learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure and productivity. Each core section outlines concepts for using technology to holistically transform education, with the aim to achieve each goal by 2015.

  • Learning: Change the learning process so it’s more engaging and tailored to students’ needs and interests.
  • Assessment: Measure student progress on the full range of college and career ready standards and use real time data for continuous improvement.
  • Teaching: Connect teachers to the tools, resources, experts and peers they need to be highly effective and supported.
  • Infrastructure: Provide broadband connectivity for all students, everywhere—in schools, throughout communities and in students’ homes.
  • Productivity: Use technology to help schools become more productive and accelerate student achievement while managing costs.

Overall, the plan addresses technology trends that could transform education, such as mobility and accessibility, the rise of digital content, and the rise of online social networks for information, collaboration and learning. Importantly, it stresses that technology in the classroom only works when paired with effective teaching.

“Technology will never replace good teachers,” Duncan said. “We all know that the most important factor in a student’s success is the teacher leading the class. That will not change.”

To read the finalized NETP, “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” visit http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010.

Sources: The Department of Education and Education Week

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In a time when teens spend hours on their laptops or mobile devices, new research is giving educators and parents a glimpse of hope, according to The Washington Post. Although pleasure reading on printed materials (books, newspapers and magazine) dropped 23 percent in 2008, compared with 2003, from 65 minutes a week to 50 minutes a week, experts say that teens are still reading, they are now using different methods.

“They could be reading on the cell phone, in games, on the Web, on the computer. It doesn’t meant they’re not reading, but they’re not reading using the printed page,” Sandra Hofferth, a researcher at the University of Maryland, told The Washington Post.

Read the entire Washington Post article.

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By Emily Raij, Maupin House

Some people buy their Amazon Kindles and never look back. Others refuse to give up their stacks of beloved paperbacks. When it comes to reading for pleasure, it’s all about personal preference, but what about textbooks for students? Sometimes a pro and con list is the best way to analyze a new trend and its benefits and drawbacks. Please leave a comment on this blog to add to either side of the list and to the larger discussion on the digital revolution.




Cheaper to produce E-book readers are expensive
More environmentally friendly (no paper/ink) Despite savings in printing, E-books still can’t be sold for much less than paper books due to other overhead and so that publishers aren’t undercutting themselves at bookstores
Immediate download for faster delivery to customers Many customers and markets still prefer paper books
Potential for more creative content: audio, video, color, interactive content Many student e-textbooks expire after a certain period of time
Nice features for students in particular: keyword searches, no need to lug around several heavy textbooks Some students complain e-textbooks are awkward and inconvenient to study from
Content can be kept more current with e-textbooks Students can’t highlight or write notes in e-textbooks
Greater portability of multiple texts E-textbooks can’t be printed or shared like traditional texts
Promotes student engagement through a medium they’re familiar with E-readers currently do not have interactive features like quizzes and video, which are what most students say they want
E-book costs should eventually go down and include more of the features students and others demand E-books can’t be sold back to college bookstores the way paper textbooks can
More and more e-books are becoming available Teachers don’t always like the idea of students focused on their laptops, cell phones, or e-readers during class


For more on e-books and how they’re being used in schools and universities, check out this article from The Wall Street Journal.

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