Dreaming Up Textbooks on an Apple Tablet

Posted By on January 5, 2010

While I enjoyed reading on my daughter’s new “Nook” last week, it still leaves much to be desired. A well designed “tablet” might eventually be the best option. It will be interesting to see how Apple sees there up and coming device fitting in to the niche.

By Geoffrey A. Fowler

With Apple’s much-hyped tablet computer just months away, publishers are already beginning to have visions of how the device will change their business.

People attend the opening of the Apple Store on the Upper West Side in New York City.

The market is already filled with dedicated reading devices like Amazon’s Kindle, most of which feature black-and-white e-ink screens. But Coursesmart, a digital-publishing joint venture of five major textbook publishers, says many of those devices require too many concessions — like no color graphics, no consistent page numbers and no way to scribble notes — for students to adopt them widely in place of regular textbooks.

However, Coursesmart Executive Vice President Frank Lyman has a very different take on the potential of tablet computers for reading. Tablets could include the ability to look at color graphics and integrate other sources of information such as video and outside links, he said.

“The key is that with multifunction devices, you can do more than just read the textbook. You can interact with the content,” he said. “It is all about having your textbooks integrated with other tools and resources that you use for learning.”

To show the potential, he made the following video to share with folks in the industry at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. While Coursesmart already has an app that makes its books available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, he said the schematic shown here was based on their own “imagination” of a tablet, not any specific information provided by Apple.

“Our objective is to make sure that people who are producing these devices are thinking about education,” said Lyman.

What do you think? Will all these bells and whistles help students learn — or just provide more distraction than an old-fashioned book?

Posted via web from richc’s posterous


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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