Digital textbooks the new norm?
We were given a reading list (on paper of course - we had email - it just wasn't very well utilised at that time) which you took to the bookshop - and you bought your books. Which were sometimes very big. And often very expensive.
|Image by CollegeDegrees360|
|Fermat's Last Theorem Margin Quote - Image from Pinterest via meetville.com|
Twenty years ago - we all accessed materials the same way we had for pretty much the last x-hundred years.
Even ten years later while doing post-grad work in the mid-2000s - although the tech had moved on considerably (we all had mobile phones! though they weren't terribly smart) and I had access to a functional if rather clunky Learning Management System - we still bought textbooks and read photocopied handouts in the same way.
And it got me thinking... if teachers who were graduating in the mid-2000s had similar experiences to me - then (and this is of course very speculative) with a bit of back of the envelope calculating... more than 80% of currently active K-12 teachers would not have had access to anything other than paper textbooks when they were studying at school and university. So the norm for the vast majority of teachers is very much paper textbooks.
Now e-readers have been around for about ten years - the first Kindle was produced in 2007 - but it wasn't until 2011 that digital books started outselling print books on amazon for the first time.
So if we take 2011 as our pivot point - the time at which digital becomes the new norm.. well making a few quick assumptions about distributions of ages of teachers etc. then it becomes closer to 90% of active K-12 teachers who have probably gone through their entire education before digital books became normalised.
Now Amazon accounts for all kinds of ebook sales - but here's an interesting projection specifically about digital textbook sales from 2011 - the authors were projecting digital textbook sales to be 44% by 2017, and in the accompanying article they do draw attention that they are simply projections - but...
|Digital Textbook Sales - Image by Kim Eaton|
And now in 2017 - this is what I found when I enrolled in my new course - this is the new normal!
There will be people reading this thinking - well, yes of course digital is the new normal - there's been a digital revolution didn'tchaknow.. well, yes I did - and so do all of the 90% (99%?) of teachers that I reference above - but.. and here's the thing - it hasn't necessarily changed the way that we provide access to textbooks for our students in schools.
But students who have grown up in the last twenty years will and do expect to be able to access their resources digitally.
I start a course on Monday (Project Based Learning in the Flipped Classroom) and a week out from the course I have already been contacted by my Professor (email), I've been given access to the University's Learning Management System, I've completed an online survey and I've been instructed which course textbook I need to buy - and I was provided with two options; get a paper copy or get a digital copy.
At $20 for paper with a several day wait for delivery - or $6 with instant access - I went for the digital copy.
(Now I'm not particularly endorsing Amazon or Kindle - but this was where I found the book available for digital download)
Don't have a kindle? (No I don't, dinosaur that I am - but I do have a smartphone and a tablet, so... )
No problem - download the app for free on the tablet - instant access to the textbook.
Download the app on my phone.
Libraries instantly shared across devices.
Now I've got it on whenever I want even when I don't have internet access.
Flight mode on the airplane?
No problem - can read everything offline - and so I got through half the book in the air on my phone.
|Phone Reader: Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, Bergmann and Sams (2012)|
|Full size page on phone: |
Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, Bergmann and Sams (2012)
|Built in Flashcard Creator in Kindle App|