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Part 6 of my Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012 series

Digital Textbooks


When I looked at the most significant trends in educational technology last year, I opted to write about the “Digital Library” in lieu of digital textbooks. And truth be told, it would be quite easy for me to make the same argument again in 2012: despite all the hype about “revolutionizing” the textbook, faculty and students are still slow to adopt digital versions. (Not to mention, sorry, but textbooks, yuck.)

In May, the Book Industry Study Group released the results of “a first ever survey of college faculty perceptions toward classroom materials” that found that most professors (88%) still prefer (and assign) the printed versions of textbooks and other class materials. The survey also found that while 32% of faculty reported making digital versions of textbooks available, just 2% of students said this was the primary way in which they accessed the materials.

Digital textbook provider Coursesmart issued a press release the same month with (not surprisingly) a sunnier view on adoption and usage. Coursesmart said that among the students it surveyed, more said they were likely to bring a laptop (51%) than a print textbook (39%) to class. Coursesmart’s survey also found that the vast maority students owned some sort of technology — laptop, phone, e-reader — which they used to study. But as The Digital Reader’s Nate Hoffelder noted, taking a closer look at the actual survey data, there’s a huge gap between using technology to study and buying digital textbooks. Students are definitely doing the former; the latter, not so much.

You can read the rest of this article here

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Audrey Watters


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