We're not saying print is dead - but digital media like iBooks for iPad are changing the educational landscape like never before.
It's no secret that for teachers and students alike, textbooks and other supplementary materials have a been a huge money pit we've always just accepted. Countless dollars have been spent on less-than-necessary new textbook editions and reams of paper wasted on additional course handouts.
But with the advent of new technologies like the iPad, it's a wonder we haven't completely switched. Here are the top 4 reasons to use iBooks in the classroom (in case you're not already).
The ease with which an iBook can be updated could potentially stand alone as the defining reason to switch to digital formats. Forget once-a-year revisions. iBooks can be updated with the latest material - as it happens. For dynamically changing subjects like business, finance, technology, and science, your content is never going to be outdated or irrelevant.
Another thing content will never be - boring. Digital iBooks allow readers to engage with text, images, video, and quizzes all inside a single book. No one could possibly dispute this has the potential to change how we effectively teach and how fully students understand new material. Teachers have more options to help explain difficult topics like a 3D object for organic chemistry demonstrations. Students have more options to help them study like using the touchscreen to highlight key passages which automatically become virtual notecards.
New textbooks range anywhere from $40-150 or more each year. A professionally authored interactive iBook costs about $20 in the iBookstore. It's almost laughable. With all the other bells and whistles added (easily updated, interactive, etc.) this is simply icing on the cake when it comes to switching from paper.
And in case the reasons above weren't enough, how about we save some trees and our backs too? Digital textbooks make it easy to stop wasting reams of paper and save our backs from the unnecessary weight of 30lb textbook stuffed backpacks.
The evolution from print to iBooks and other electronic files will gradual, but changes are imminent and sure to be profound. So far, the reception to iBooks in education has been largely positive. Given the industry's tendency to seriously court user adoption, it may be up to teachers and students, instead of just policy, which shapes the future of classrooms and education.