Israeli, Palestinian schoolbooks flawed: study
A new study weighed in on one of the hot-button subplots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Monday, saying schoolbooks of both sides largely present one-sided narratives but rarely resort to demonization.
The study, presented at a news conference Monday, said the books of both sides are flawed but on par with what is typical of societies in conflict.
“There’s no hate speech. There is no incitement. There’s selective narratives,” said Palestinian scholar Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University, one of the lead researchers, along with Israeli Daniel Bar-Tal from Tel Aviv University and Bruce Wexler from Yale University.
photo via flickr:CC | severinelaville
Why College Students Still Prefer Print Over E-Books
These were the results of a pilot program created to understand why students have been slow to adopt digital texts and what would have to change in order to make them the preference. The pilot was developed by the University of Wisconsin, Cornell, University of Minnesota, University of Virginia and Indiana University, which decided to jointly investigate how e-textbooks could be used on their campuses with an e-text pilot during the spring semester of 2012.
What they found, produced in a report called Internet2 [PDF], was that, for purposes of study, at least, e-books were not quite there yet in terms of usability, visual presentation and navigation tools. The pilot program pointed out some glaring flaws in the e-reader model: Students reported problems with readability, complained of eyestrain, and said the e-books were not fully compatible with all mobile devices. They also noted that the navigation features meant to enhance learning like zoom, highlighting and annotation don’t function well.
photo via flickr:CC | no_typographic_man
Publishers See Online Mega-Courses as Opportunity to Sell Textbooks
But online courses do have recommended-reading lists, and enrollments in the tens of thousands. If even a small percentage of those online students buy books, the sales could add up to a nice boost for a textbook.
“We are actively tracking the development of MOOC’s and believe they do represent a promising market for university-press titles,” said Ellen W. Faran, director of the MIT Press.
Her press has already enjoyed what appears to be one MOOC-related sales bounce. A course taught in spring 2011 by Daphne Koller, a co-founder of the online provider Coursera, featured an MIT Press book as recommended reading: Probabilistic Graphical Models: Principles and Techniques, written by Ms. Koller and Nir Friedman. The course had an enrollment of 44,000, Ms. Faran recalled. “We saw a dramatic spike in the sales of this upper-level text last spring,” she said.
From her perspective, online courses have another advantage: They attract many international students, a group that university presses are trying harder to reach.
photo via flickr:CC | giulia.forsythe
Did you know this tumblr is out there? Check out thankstextbooks:
Damn, good-for-nothing, butler robots.
“Williams doesn’t just prefer his old chalkboard to the high-tech version. His kids learn from textbooks that are decades old — not because they can’t afford new ones, but because Williams and a handful of his like-minded colleagues know the old ones are better. The school’s parent-teacher association buys them from used bookstores because the county won’t pay for them.”
About one-third of Pearson’s business is now from digital products and services, though overall sales have slowed. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is restructuring as part of a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy process prompted in part by decreasing school budgets. Revenues for the K-12 group of McGraw-Hill’s education division, which it plans on spinning off into a separate company, dropped 10 percent year-to-year in the first quarter of 2012.
I think this quote is the best:
“There’s more change going on in this industry in the past two to three years than in the past two to three decades.”
So publishers that haven’t had to think about new content platforms suddenly need to develop products for various platforms and need to make money… Will the content suffer? And will schools/students continue to suffer until the textbook industry embraces a shift in focus to technology?
Math textbooks: A place where can buy 60 watermelons and no one asks any questions.
Educators Weigh E-Textbook Cost Comparisons
During the first-ever Digital Learning Day, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Commission chief Julius Genachowski unveiled an ambitious plan earlier this year to get schools to switch from print to digital textbooks by 2017.
Dubbed the Digital Textbook Playbook, it’s a recommendation for how schools could transform instruction, improve achievement—and save money.
photo via flickr:CC | Swamibu
Will Apple create the all-iPad classroom?
While iPads and other mobile devices ultimately may send textbooks the way of the slate, whether Apple’s textbook service will become what iTunes is to music is another question. What puts educators off is not just the $499 sticker price — $475 if purchased in batches of 10 — for the basic iPad (add $35 for a case). It’s also the requirement that schools buy the textbook software as vouchers for individual students, who will download the electronic textbooks onto their own iTunes accounts.
Every year, the school district will have to buy more $14.99 textbooks that it will never own.
Afraid of Your Child’s Math Textbook? You Should Be.
There may be a reason you can’t figure out some of those math problems in your son or daughter’s math text and it might have nothing at all to do with you. That math homework you’re trying to help your child muddle through might include problems with no possible solution. It could be that key information or steps are missing, that the problem involves a concept your child hasn’t yet been introduced to, or that the math problem is structurally unsound for a host of other reasons…
photo via flickr:CC|nayukim
You can read a collection of the rumors over here but what if Apple really announces a partnership with major textbook publishers in two weeks? What were the consequences?
Can you imagine? (previously, previously, etc) Not only buying relevant books, or just required chapters, but being able to stop printing those binders of various resources for your class? In my own school this would decimate the back-breaking backpacks our students carry on their shoulders.
This would be a deal-breaker between iOS devices and anything else on the market, and schools would have an even more compelling response to moving to Apple’s platform; device + content = kingdom.