TETC 2014: My Take Away

Photo of a sticky note on my iPad

photo by Andrew Atkins 2014

TETC for a First-Timer

Earlier this week I had the chance to attend TETC (Tennessee Education Technology Conference) for the first time. I jumped at the chance to go because I like going to conferences and I like technology. The only other conferences I have attended have been for the NCTE and NWP. Those were big national conferences, so TETC was my first time at a state-level gathering. It also gave me a chance to see the new Music City Convention Center for the first time.

Overall I thought the conference organizers did a good job putting everything together. I never expect any of these types of events to go off without a hitch, so the 1 or 2 changes to session topics didn’t bother me that much. The first session I had planned on attending did have an unannounced change, but I just found another session to sit it on.  I guess my biggest complaint was having to wait so long for the schedule to come out–the Thursday before the conference. I was getting a little antsy by then because I really wanted to plan out what to attend.

My Take Away from the Day

As I plotted out which sessions to attend, I made a deliberate effort to avoid any vendor sessions because I really didn’t feel like sitting in on an hour-long sales pitch. I was looking for ideas I could use in my classrooms right away without having to beg my administrators to buy something. While I didn’t come away from the day with a notebook full of mind-blowing, game-changing new tools or techniques to use, I did come away with 3 or 4 ideas on a list that I felt made the day worthwhile. Here are some of the items from that list:

Google Apps

The first idea that made my list is that I need to go back and really look at, evaluate, and learn more about all the various Google apps that are available. I have been a big fan of Google since almost day 1. I even had a friend in IT hook me up with Gmail before it was available to the general public. But, for some strange reason, I haven’t used many of the other tools they offer. As I sat in the first break-out session of the day, the presenter was talking about Google Forms and some of the other apps and I decided that there are lots of ways I can use those in my classes. As she was talking about Google Docs being used for collaborative writing–which I had before and read tons about–it dawned on me that I could use it in my journalism class, along with Google Forms. I don’t know why I hadn’t realized this before, but when it came to me as I sat in that session, I decided that I needed to look at all of Google’s apps and maybe think about them again, or in new ways.

Remind101 and Celly

I don’t remember which session I was in that introduced these apps, but I immediately liked the idea. Both of these apps allow a teacher to send out group text messages as reminders or alerts for students and parents about tests, assignments, or anything else. The reason that I plan on using this type of app is that neither one of them require that any phone numbers be exchanged. All i have to do is give out the instructions for signing up to my groups, and whoever signs up will get those alerts. They don’t get my phone number and I don’t get their number. Additionally, people cannot reply back to the alerts, the whole thing functions as a 1-way broadcasting system. Celly looks a little more advanced because it allows you to alter the appearance of the website interface option. Remind101 seems like it is a little simpler to set up. At this moment I think I am going to try Remind101 for my classes because it doesn’t require anyone to make an account when they opt in for the alerts. Celly does. I plan on trying remind out with one class to finish out this year and then roll it out for all of my classes at the start of next school year–if all goes well.

My Last Take Away from TETC2014

The last bit of take away I want to address here is blogging. I have used blogging with most of my classes for the last 3 or 4 years, but I think I need to reevaluate how I approach it. I don’t think I have done a very good job with it when it comes to my students. I want their blogs to be more than just a “OK, now that we have read this story, or novel, write something about it on your blog.” I would really like for the students to have a more authentic experience of writing a true blog. I probably need to devote some of my summer break to exploring some possibilities in that area.

 

How do you use technology in your classroom? How do you use blogs with your students? As always, feel free to leave comments or shoot me a question.

I’m Back…with an Apology

My Bad

 

Well. I’m back. I took “a bit” of a break from blogging…if you can count almost 2 years as “a bit” of a break. Why did I stay away for so long?  Hmm…basically, I think I burned myself out in a rather short period of time. At the time I was becoming obsessed with trying to post more and more stuff in order to drive up traffic numbers.  So, I started following a lot of the advice out their from “professional” bloggers–schedules, post types, post lengths, best times to post, etc. etc.  The result? I sucked the fun right out of writing. I was turning this space into a job and I wasn’t really ready for that.

Why did I decide to come back now and try again? I guess that could be chalked up to guilt. I attended a tech conference for teachers today and in a couple of the sessions I attended one of the messages was how our students should blog and how we should blog. That hit a nerve with me because that was a thought or feeling I had in my mind ever since I abandoned my blog here. I had pushed that thought to the back of my mind as best I could, but it came roaring to the forefront today. So here I am.

How are things going to be different this time? Well, the main change I am going to do is to only write and post when I feel like I really have something to say. No more scrambling and scratching to try to come up with ideas for 3 or 4 posts a week. Maybe some day–but now for awhile. My goal as I write this is to shoot for 1 post a week. Having said that, I would like to write another post this week with my thoughts about the conference I attended today. We’ll see. I’m not going to stress about it.

If there are any followers out there who followed the blog before, I truly apologize for such an extended break. I will try to do better going forward.

What World of Warcraft Can Teach Yearbook Advisers and Staffs

A screenshot from World of Warcraft

A screenshot from World of Warcraft

Bringing Warcraft to the Yearbook

It is no secret to anyone who knows me—students, family, friends, colleagues—that I am an avid video-gamer.  I grew up playing them—going all the way back to Pong—and I really see no need to stop because it is no sillier or serious as walking around a field whacking a ball with a crooked stick. As an English teacher, I often spend a great deal of time talking about some of the fascinating tricks writers do with language like symbolism or analogies. In my role as a yearbook adviser I spend a great deal of time and energy looking for inspiration–both for myself and my staff members.

What does any of this have to do with anything that is even mildly important? Well, in my search for inspiration for a blog post I thought I would use my gamer background to make an allusion or analogy. That line of thinking led to the idea for this post. So, if you are already wondering what a video game can teach you about yearbook, hold on to your mouse…

5 Things Yearbook Advisers and Staffs Can Learn from World of Warcraft

  1. Know Your Role: You often hear this piece of advice given to new players in WoW. When you are part of a group you have to know what your responsibilities are and that your role can change from situation to situation. You might be the healer for a group one run and then a DPSer (damage) on the next run so you have to know how to do those different tasks. This definitely applies to the yearbook. Staff members need to know their responsibilities for a given situation and then they need to make sure they handle those responsibilities. You might be responsible for the photographs for a particular spread one week and the article for a different spread next week–know what you have to do to accomplish those different assignments. One noteworthy consequence about “Knowing Your Role” is that by knowing how to perform more roles–you become more valuable to your group. The lesson advisers can take from this is that they are the “Adviser”. That means let the students do the work as much as possible–easier said than done sometimes.
  2. Grind it Out: In Warcraft if you want to make it to the maximum level with your characters, or if you want the best gear, or if you want a lot of gold, or if you want a cool reward, you have to “Grind It Out”. You have to put in some serious time to reach some goals by doing some things over and over and over and over. There are very few things that happen on the first time attempt at anything. And you can bet that anything that will get you noticed will take some serious effort. I frequently tell my students that “cool” takes time. If you want your spread to look “cool”, it is going to take some serious time and real effort to make that happen. So, just like trying to get the 300 tokens to get some awesome mount in Warcraft–creating an award worthy spread or yearbook is going to take work where you may only see small steps forward each day, but may add up in the end to something greater.
  3. Gear Up!: In Warcraft if you want to participate in certain events or activities, you have to meet certain gear requirements. This is even scalable and more applicable when in a group situation; if you want to be of any real value to your group, you better have good gear. When you don’t have good gear–you die. A LOT. No one enjoys that. To apply this to a yearbook situation, try thinking of it in terms of what you bring to the table. What can you offer to the other staff members? What can you do that will help make things better for those around you? If you want to be the photographer for the group, it helps if you have a camera–and more importantly you know how to properly use it. If you want to design all the spreads, if helps to have creative ideas–or know places you can find some inspiration.  Most importantly, and this really is the heart of the “Gear Up!” call, you have to find ways to improve. Get better gear. Learn new skills. Master skills you already have. Just get better.
  4. Have a Plan: Going into a Warcraft Raid or boss encounter usually entails having a plan if you do not want to die repeatedly. When there is no plan bad things are guaranteed to happen. Groups get angry. Tempers flair. Nerves fray. No one has any fun. Those things happen to yearbook staffs as well when there is no plan. A strategic course of action saves a lot of grief down the road. Individuals also benefit from planning: whether it is plotting some way to get that new piece of gear for your rogue, or what you want to do with your Homecoming spread, a plan makes these tasks manageable and easier to accomplish.
  5. Don’t Freak Out: So, you ground out a bunch of repeatable quests so that you could gear up. You know your role and are in a good group that has a solid plan. You and your buddies are ready to take on some top-tier, end-game content. You are dreaming of all the great gear, titles, and rewards that await. Then, on the first attempt downing the first boss everyone dies within 30 seconds. Don’t Freak Out. No matter how good everyone’s gear, no matter how prepared they are, no matter how sound the plan, some times things go wrong. Unexpected events will happen and mess everything up. Just stay focused and take another run at it. You might have to tweak the plan. Being able to adapt and overcome the unexpected is crucial–whether it is Warcraft or yearbook.

There you have it: some lessons World of Warcraft can teach advisers and students about yearbook. I hope you were able to take away something useful from that.

And just in case you were wondering, the picture at the top of the post is an actual screenshot I took while playing. This particular shot shows a group of guild-mates  going into a raid area for the first time. As an added note I should point out that you cannot actually see my character in this shot–I know that makes you sad.

What advice would you offer to yearbook students or advisers? What games have taught you some lessons, or created some insight to other areas of your life?

As always feel free to leave comments, or questions. If you like this post or site, like it on Facebook, follow it on Twitter, subscribe, or share it with someone. The more, the merrier.

Some of My Other Yearbook Posts:

Link of the Week: TodaysMeet

My Ipad

My Ipad

Online Discussion in the Classroom

For this week’s link of the week I thought I would suggest a site that my colleague over at AWritableLife introduced me to over the summer: TodaysMeet. After having used this a few times this year with different classes and grade levels, I can honestly say that this is a great resource for the classroom.

TodaysMeet allows the teacher to create a room for online discussions. It honestly only takes a few seconds to set up a room and get the ball rolling. When you create the room, the site gives you an address as todaysmeet.com/your_room_name that you share with your students. Once the students go to that address, they just sign in with a name and can begin contributing to the discussion. No one has to sign up for any sort of account or even give an email address. You just think of a name you want to use for the room, tell the site how long the room needs to be up, and that is that. Plus, the site will work on Ipads. If you are lucky enough to be part of a 1-1 program this is a great benefit.

If you happen to teach at a school where Twitter is blocked, like mine, then TodaysMeet is a great alternative. The comments are limited to the same number of characters as Twitter, so students get the Twitter experience with having to choose their words carefully. When I have used this in my classes, we have even used hashtags to make things easier to follow. So, if you have ever wanted to host a tweetup for a class, this is an easy way to do that if you are blocked.

My 2 Favorite Aspects

The aspect I like the most about using TodaysMeet is that I have been able to get input from students who I never hear from during a traditional class discussion. I have noticed students who I would have thought were clueless about what we were reading had some really great insights to offer. That is a priceless thing and has reminded me to not judge students so hastily. Along with this, I have gotten more discussion about texts compared to times when we discussed things outloud.

The second aspect of TodaysMeet that I really like is that once we have finished the discussion I can save the entire transcript of the meeting. I usually save it as a PDF file and email it to all the students when we are preparing for discussion or essays questions at test time. When my senior, college credit class was discussing The Crucible the transcript for that session was 40 pages long. That is a pretty hefty study resource.

I really recommend you check out the site. I know I plan on using it even more next year and will devote time this summer trying to dream up some different ways to use it.

How have you used online discussion in your classroom? If you have tried TodaysMeet, what are your thoughts about it?

As always feel free to leave comments, or questions. If you like this post or site, like it on Facebook, follow it on Twitter, subscribe, or share it with someone. The more, the merrier.

Link of the Week: Idea Garden Blog

My Ipad

A Blog for Yearbooks

Since the first 3 post for the Link of the Week covered Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, and Hack Education, I thought I would offer up something for yearbook advisers and students out there who are looking for a little inspiration. As a yearbook adviser for 12 years I know that I am always looking for inspiration. So, when I find a new place to fill that bill, I get pretty excited about it.

The Idea Garden Blog is a blog I stumbled across recently and really liked. It has a couple of nice sections showcasing some spread ideas and suggestions that many yearbook programs should find useful. In addition to the sections devoted to yearbook spreads, there are also sections that provide some tips and checklists.

There really is something here for everyone involved with yearbook program. Organization, sales, photography…you name it and the Idea Garden seems to have you covered with at least one post. While any adviser or student should be able to find some really useful resources or ideas here, a new adviser will really benefit from the material.

About the only knock I could give the site is that I wish that it was updated more frequently. But, knowing how a school year goes for yearbook advisers, I can’t really hold that against the site too much. When the yearbook really gets rolling, it can take up an insane amount of time outside of the normal class time. And if things aren’t going well it just gets worse.

What sites, or advice do you have for other yearbook advisers? What sites do you like to use for finding some inspiration?

Classroom Technology: What the Students Say

IPad, Apps, and Stylus

An Informal Survey

In a previous post I wrote about an informal survey where I planned to ask my students their thoughts about technology in the classroom. So, I decided this post would be about the students’ responses to my question. I didn’t conduct this as a formal essay where they could score things on a Likert Scale or choose from an array of responses to a number of questions; so, there won’t be any spiffy-looking pie charts or bar diagrams. I basically just asked the students to write a journal entry in response to the following:

How would you like to use technology in your education? Think about daily tasks as well as larger projects. What other technology–software, apps, hardware, devices–is out there that could be used? What technology do we already have that may be underutilized?

I tried to keep the question as wide-open as possible just so I could see what kinds of responses the students would give. As I said in the post where I discussed my plan to do this, I was hoping for some ideas that I could immediately us–but I wasn’t expecting that. I think what the students wrote did just that; I didn’t get any ideas or suggestions that I can immediately put into action. But, I did get some that provide some food- for-thought when it comes to planning for the future.

So, here is a run-down of their summarized responses separated into some basic categories.

Devices/Hardware They Wanted to Use

  • Phones-especially iPhones: The students who mentioned using phones said they wanted to use them to access information since they already use them for that outside of school. They also mentioned that they have their phones with them at all times.
  • Kindle: A lot of the students said they wanted digital textbooks in some form or another; but only a small number mentioned using a Kindle specifically
  • Video Cameras/Digital Cameras: This was another commonly mentioned item(s) among the students.
  • Ipads: Our school already has a 1-1 program using Ipads but they all wrote about their use of them. Almost all of the students said they liked using them. They also said 1 or 2 other things about the Ipad that I will discuss later in the post.
  • Laptops: A large number of students said they would like to use laptops–especially Macbooks. Several of the students who said they like using Ipads also said they would prefer using laptops. One student said that Ipads seem more “game oriented” and laptops had more of a “work feeling.” I thought that was in interesting view.
  • Console Gaming Systems: While only a few students mentioned using specific games systems, those that did said they could be used for educational purposes. But, none of them provided any specific examples or ideas of how to do that. I tend to agree with the thought that games–and even video games–can be used for educational purposes. For instance, I can imagine an assignment that has students write about how the world presented in a game like Assassin’s Creed compares with historical information. English teachers have an advantage in areas like this–we can easily adapt just about any topic into some sort of writing assignment.

Activities Wish List

I wasn’t really certain what to call this category but the idea or items listed here have to do with what my students said they wanted to start doing, or doing more frequently with technology and their schoolwork.

  • Photo Editing: Several students wrote that they would like the ability to do photo editing tasks as part of projects–or even have classes dedicated to photography and photo editing with Photoshop or similar programs.
  • Video Conference: Some students thought it would be educational to use Skype to talk to students in other schools or countries. Some students also mentioned using Skype for sick, or absent students.
  • Videos instead of Lectures: I found it interesting that some of my students were proposing a “flipped classroom” approach without using the actual term that is so hot and trending right now in education circles. A few of the students who mentioned video said the video would let them get a lecture at their own pace.
  • More research: Some students said that they wished they had more assignments that required them to conduct research on the internet now that they had the Ipads in class.
  • eTextboks: Almost every student who gave some kind of serious answer in their response mentioned that they wanted to use digital textbooks.
  • Apps for Grades: Some students wanted apps that would let them check their grades from their Ipads. I believe this is offered by some grading systems, but the service we use at our school only offers an app for faculty to use.
  • Interactive Whiteboards: The students who mentioned Promethean Boards or Smart Boards–any kind of IWB really–said that THEY wanted to use them instead of the teachers mainly using them.
  • Assessments: Another frequent “wish” students discussed in their responses is that they wanted to use the Ipad to take more tests and quizzes. This is also something I want to do as well.
  • Social Media: One student who wrote about this summed it up by saying they should use the websites they use every day in their life outside of school. Another student suggested using Twitter to discuss different topics in English class. Other students mentioned site like Reddit and 4chan.
  • Blogs: Some students proposed using blogs to turn in their assignments instead of paper or email. They thought this would make it easier for them to keep track of  and be aware of the assignments they had completed.
  • Virtual Dissections: A few students said they would prefer to do virtual dissections as opposed to the real thing.
  • Connectivity/Collaboration: One of the things that some students felt was underutilized in terms of their Ipads at my school is the ability to connect to other Ipads in order to do some group projects.

What Students Like about the Ipad in Class

  • Allows for more ways to take notes: Some students said they took photos of notes and others recorded audio as alternatives to the traditional writing.
  • Better ways to organize all their work for different classes
  • Having everything in one place–notes, assignments, planners, presentations, their work, etc.
  • Their grades improved: While this certainly isn’t the case for every students, there were some who felt that their grades improved from using the Ipad. I will hazard a guess and say that it is due to the organizational aspect many students liked.

Some Surprises

This last list is for some of the things students said, admitted, or suggested that surprised me in one way or another.

  • Powerpoints are overdone: Some students felt these are used too often and a few even said they felt like they weren’t very good at using them when giving a presentation.
  • The Good and the Bad of Technology and the Ipad: Several students said that technology made education less boring; and just as many would often go on to write that it could also be a distraction.
  • Real World Applications: One student wrote that however we use technology in the class its use should be geared towards real world applications they will face in their future. I thought this was pretty forward-looking for a teenage student to write about.
  • Tools don’t benefit the student: Another student wrote that is didn’t really matter if they used a laptop, or Ipad, or some other gadget. What really mattered was the software, apps, and services they had access to and what they were asked to do with it that really benefited them. I was really blown away when I read that.
  • Use the Ipad for the traditional school-wide announcements: Probably the most unexpected suggestion on how to use the Ipad came from one student who said the administration should use the built-in Messages app in iOS5 to make the announcements that usually come over the PA system. I just thought this was a really good idea that I like a lot–it might be a bit tricky to pull off though.

So, those are some of the things students mentioned in response to my question about how they want to use technology in their education. It certainly isn’t the most scientific approach, but it does give me some things to think about.

What do your students think about technology in the classroom? What types of tech do they want to use? What types do they use?

As always feel free to leave comments, or questions. If you like this post or site, like it on Facebook, follow it on Twitter, subscribe, or share it with someone. The more, the merrier.

Textbooks on the Ipad: McGraw Hill Physics

My iPad 2

Taking a Looking at One of the New iBooks Textbooks

A couple of weeks ago a colleague came to me and said that the administration at our school wanted us to take a look at some of the new digital textbooks offers through iBooks. I’m sure both of us would have preferred being able to play around with some really slick, cool, feature-laden digital Literature textbook. But that isn’t an option at this stage of Apple’s push into the textbook world. So, we decided to look at a couple of the science offerings. Because she also has a degree in Biology, she decided to look at McGraw Hill‘s Biology textbook. You can read her thoughts on that book at her blog awritablelife. You really should check it out; she is far more eloquent than your’s truly.

I opted to check out McGraw Hill’s Physics Principles and Problems because I was a physics major in a former life.

First Impressions

Once I had the book installed on the Ipad, it just took a few swipes and taps to learn how to navigate through this new form textbook. The first major thing I noticed is that there are some differences when looking at the book in landscape (horizontal) mode vs portrait (vertical mode). In portrait mode I would get a table-of-contents when I performed  pinching gesture on the screen. The sections within a chapter could be viewed by tapping the arrow for a drop-down menu.

Using the same pinching gesture used in landscape brings up a side-scrolling, thumbnail view of the pages for a chapter. You can also side-scroll through the chapters in this orientation and vertically scroll through a list of topics for each of the chapters as you come to it. As I played around with the book for awhile I realized that I preferred the landscape view better because there are images that only appear when the book is oriented this way. Additionally, the other graphics used throughout the book seemed more prominent and part of the text as opposed to their smaller, thumbnail versions in the margins when using the vertical orientation.

Interactive Features

Perhaps one of the biggest promises, or selling points, advocates of digital textbooks point out is that the new era of textbooks will offer features not possible with traditional print textbooks. The McGraw Hill Physics book offers lots of images that you can enlarge for a better view along with interactive images that are usually used to animate some physics principle. Some images are actually slideshows. I frequently found myself tapping on every image I ran across just to see if it did something else. Just having the possibility of something extra existing beyond the surface invited exploration and engagement. The book also has embedded videos throughout the book. Entering the term “video” into the search tool returned 25 results labeled as enrichment videos.

Another feature in the book is that each chapter has a set of built-in study cards covering essential terms. What makes this function even better is that when a student highlights text, it automatically gets saved into the study cards for that chapter. The highlighting function is very easy to use and appears to be the same as with other books in iBooks: if you tap and hold on a word, you can select some options from a menu which allows for the highlight color to be changed and/or adding a note linked to the highlighted text. If you hold on a word and just slide you finger across the words, you automatically highlight, or underline,  them with the last color used–I found this to be easier than highlighting on a Kindle.

The search function for the textbook works just like it does for any book on the major ereaders–it allows you to search the web or Wikipedia for your search term.

The interactivity of the book is also seen at the end of each chapter section where students can take a section self-check quiz consisting of 5 questions. An 8 question assessment practice can be found at the end of each chapter along with a standardized test practice. In addition to these self-grading checks, there are traditional static assessments at the end of each chapter.

Some Basic Info

While interactivity and video in a textbook are the flashy, shiny items that we look for when first navigating through a digital textbook, it is the content that is the really the heart of any textbook. The McGraw Hill Physics book does have this as well. The book is divided into 30 chapters as follows:

  • A Physics Toolkit
  • Representing Motion
  • Accelerated Motion
  • Forces in One Dimension
  • Displacement and Forces in Two Dimensions
  • Motion in Two Dimensions
  • Gravitation
  • Rotational Motion
  • Momentum and Its Conservation
  • Work, Energy, and Machines
  • Energy and Its Conservation
  • Thermal Energy
  • States of Matter
  • Vibrations and Waves
  • Sound
  • Fundamentals of Light
  • Reflections and Mirrors
  • Refraction and Lenses
  • Interference and Diffraction
  • Static Electricity
  • Electric Current
  • Series and Parallel Circuits
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Electromagnetism
  • Quantum Theory
  • The Atom
  • Sold-State Electronics
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics

Admittedly, it has been a long time since I have looked at a Physics book, but these topics do seem to cover the basics I would expect in a high school physics text.  Each chapter also has the lab experiments and practice problems you would find in a traditional print textbook. I wish I had access to a current print copy of the McGraw Hill Physics textbook to see if both versions were the same in terms of organization, experiments, and practice problems.

Some Cautions–and 1 Curiosity

While there are many good, or even great, aspects to the textbook, I think I should mention a few things I noticed that did give me pause (these are in no particular order):

  • It took some time to download. It took me about an hour to download; whether that was due to its large file size, or traffic, I can’t be sure.
  • The file size of the book is big. 1.22 GB to be precise. Some of the other new textbooks in iBooks are over 2.5 GB. A student with 4 or 5 textbooks in their iBooks library may find themselves running low on available space on the Ipad. I would think the file sizes will increase as publishers optimize their offerings for the higher resolution screen of the new Ipad.
  • There are typos. While I gave up hope of ever finding a completely error-free book of any type a long time ago, I thought I should point out that I did find some typos.
  • Some reviewers say they found errors in the section self-check quizzes. I didn’t notice any errors in any of the quizzes I tried, but since I did not try every single self-check quiz in the book, I thought I should mention this also.
  • Missing Video. One of the first experiments in the book gives instruction to watch a video–but there is no video provided. That seems like a pretty serious error or oversight.
  • Teacher Edition? One question that kept coming to mind as I looked through the book is “What does a teacher do about a teacher’s edition of thetextbook?” There isn’t one in the iBooks store and I haven’t been able to find an answer online so far.
  • Why is Everyone in the Videos British? This isn’t so much a caution, but a question born of curiosity. Given that McGraw Hill’s corporate headquarters and office for the education division are in New York, along with the fact that the textbook incorporates US National Standards in the book, I just found it odd that everyone in the videos were British. There isn’t really anything wrong with that, it is just something I wasn’t expecting.

Final Impressions

Overall I would have to say that I liked the textbook. The portability, ease of navigation, tools, and interactive features sold me on this 21st century textbook. Even with the cautions I mentioned above, this seems like a pretty good textbook to me–especially for a first attempt at a tablet friendly version of a textbook. I can only imagine that better versions of digital textbooks will be developed as publishers push into digital platforms. The one thing that will lead to the inevitable adoption and spread of digital textbooks will be the price. I would imagine that it would be hard for an administrator to pass up a $15 science textbook.

Yes, for schools that do not have a 1-1 iPad program getting an iPad for every student and then buying a digital textbook would be more expensive than just buying new, traditional, print textbooks. But for schools planning on starting a 1-1 program, why would they get the iPads and stick with a print version of a textbook? That would mean they are spending more money. As for schools that already have a 1-1 iPad program, it would seem pretty hard for them to pass up a digital version when it comes time to adopt new textbooks for a subject.

What are you thoughts about digital textbooks? What are your impressions of the textbooks for the iPad?

As always feel free to leave comments, or questions. If you like this post or site, like it on Facebook, follow it on Twitter, subscribe, or share it with someone. The more, the merrier.