In the past 50 years, technology has dramatically altered the way we go about our daily tasks. Why should classroom education should be any different? Textbooks are heavy, cumbersome, and ridiculously expensive. Most textbooks cost $60-$100, and become outdated and devalued shortly after leave the bookstore and enter your backpack. This week, Apple announced an alternative to traditional textbooks: iBooks textbooks for iPad.
iPad textbooks go way beyond the printed page by introducing interactive images, 3d images, and interactive galleries. Highlighting text is intuitive. Study cards are automatically generated. Best of all, textbooks will cost $15 or less (according to Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of marketing).
While the prospect of digitally revolutionizing the classroom is exciting, the question of adoption seems to be at the forefront of educators’ minds. Digital textbooks may be less expensive, but an iPad still costs $500 per student. Will instructors require iPads? If they do, who will pay for them? Unlike hard copies, digital textbooks will not be able to be reused in classrooms. It is uncertain how the current lengthy state approval process will apply to digital textbooks as well.
So what’s your preference? If your instructor gave you the option of purchasing a traditional printed copy or a less expensive digital copy (providing you procure your own device), which would you choose? What other advantages and disadvantages do you see? Leave your opinion in the comments below!