The Future of the Textbook

I’ve written about how I feel the iPad is going to revolutionize the way people access content – and specifically how it can change the experience of accessing textbooks. Here’s a short video that gives a very good look at the possibilities.

What do you think?

I think this is just the beginning. We will ultimately see 3 dimensional content combined with 2 dimensional content and likely even holograms.

If this kind of experience is available on devices like the iPad or the iPhone and those devices can be used anywhere, that should completely change the types of experiences young people have when the get together with others in a school setting. That should also radically change the teacher’s role in the learning process – and reduce the need to be the sage on the stage.

I look forward to seeing how this evolves.


9 thoughts on “The Future of the Textbook

  1. Pingback: Spreading the Word

  2. Do you think that the development of educational aps and texts for the ipad will be beholden to the Texas and California school boards as traditional textbook markets have been?

    • I think that’s a great question. If it has to do with schools I imagine there will be lots of people wanting to regulate and control what is allowed and what isn’t. The possibilities of the iPad are in the width and breath of the applications that can be developed and used. I’m sure there will be people that find ways to limit those possibilities to specific applications – including what can and can’t be read. For now, it’s an open system. My hope is it stays that way!

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  4. Gdday – to fit the Australian sterotype – Micheal,

    I find your website great to read and it’s really interesting to read the issues faced by American schools, and the future problems and challenges you pose. Being in Australia Ipads have begun to caught on but certainly not to the point you describe of schools and state education departments buying them en masse. I myself are lucky to have 6 Ipad 2s in my grade 3/4 Primary School grade in a small country school about 5 hours from Melbourne on the coast of Victoria.

    I find them fantastic as learning tools, and my only limitations are sometimes not having enough for all of my groups to use, and keeping up with buying new, fresh apps to use as teaching tools. My students are fantastically engaged in using them, particularly lower achieving students who are able to use all of the interactive features to help them.

    Typically i use them as part of my group rotations – due to only having 6, id love to have a class set – for reading, writing and numeracy. I choose an app that we already have depending on my teaching focuses for the week. At the beginning of the week if there is a new app i want the students to use i will model how to use it for everyone on our IWB. Students love being able to see whats happening up there, and it really engages them in using it. Students will then be able to use the app independently and at the end of the session share how they went towards achieving their learning goals and how using the Ipad helped them. Invariably it comes down to the interactivity or being able to hear/have repeated instructions and what they have said.

    It is the oral language implications that have us really excited. There are a number of apps where students record themselves, saying sentences, telling stories that allow them to repeat and refine their stories by allowing them to add more detail, become more fluent and add more expression particularly with storybooks. My students love the stories i have purchased on my own Ipad such as Wonky Donkey and the Lorax where they can read the stories, and then record their own voices. These storybooks have options where the student narration stays for the next person to use the app, so they really have to concentrate on their purpose for reading, so that other people can understand them.

    Maths apps lag behind a little, mostly concentrating on arithmetic but aside from the ‘Jungle’ group of apps there is not much else out there, perhaps someone can point me in the right direction?

    I find it interesting the talk about the use of Ipads as textbooks. Aside from our senior high school student text books as primary – or elementary for you – schools we do not have set text books and my use – and from the stories iv heard – of apps is to supplement the worksheets and teacher modelling of a concept students have access to towards achieving their learning goal for the week rather than use as textbooks. Do i assume that the ‘textbook’ apps are for use at school or home learning? Who pays and maintains the use of these apps for students? Either way – probably the effect of being in a different educational environment – i find the concept of this intriguing as to me it may make student bags lighter which can only be positive, but it doesnt take full advantage of the abilities of an Ipad 2. Any thoughts for me? apologies for the novel i’ve written you, but you’ve touched on some things iv had in my head for a while.

    Scott Hamilton
    Portland Primary School

    • Thanks Scott! It’s great to hear about your experience and your struggles to find the right apps – and uses for them – and that you are looking at new and different ways to do instruction and learning. I hope you spark some additional comments from the readers of this blog…


  5. iPad for schools is a bad idea since it is BACKLIT and will KILL the eyes of kids using it for long periods of time. We need to get e-ink readers in the schools

    • I appreciate that opinion. I personally find the experience of the iPad to be a better experience than Kindle or an e-ink. Neither is perfect and I imagine both have some impact on the eyes. I’d rather have young people looking at iPads than TV screens for instance.

  6. this is fantastic yes but you fail to mention how the device works ? we all know that its uses alot of power to download info and that there is no capacity to hardwire it .Therefore as it can only be used in wireless mode , there is constant emission of microwave energy . This is now classified as possibly carcinogenic by the WHO ( World Health Organisation ) not to mention numerous other adverse health effects inc. infertility and autism.
    In order to be revolutionary surely we can make this device safer for children ?

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