With the April 3 launch of Apple’s iPad, talk of e-education and digital textbooks has again been thrust into the spotlight. Education, technology, and business experts have all jumped into the fray to affirm or deny how digital tablets may or may not change the way people teach and learn.
Released today, the results of a study conducted by social learning platform Xplana offer some of the first bold predictions that digital textbooks will begin to play a major part of the market. “Over the next five years, digital textbook sales in the United States will surpass 18% of combined new textbook sales for the Higher Education and Career Education markets,” wrote Rob Reynolds, one of the study authors.
Reynolds went on to say that the increase in sales “will have a dramatic impact on the overall textbook publishing industry.” Reynolds said that reductions in new textbook printing and used textbook sales, and distinct changes in revenue models will all play an important role in how textbook manufacturers cope.
“When digital textbooks sales reach 20% of new textbook sales … publishers will have little choice but to change product, production and distribution strategies in favor of digital versus print,” he added.
Barnes and Noble, which has been selling digital textbooks for years through its stores and university book shops, says that sales have historically been slow, but increasing steadily. Jade Roth, vice president of books at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, told CampusProgress.org, “We have sold digital textbooks since the early 2000s. But there has not been a great deal of sales.”
“[Digital sales] has been growing each term, but remains a small percentage of total sales,” added Roth.
But will textbook companies be quick to adapt as more people turn to digital textbooks? And will the existing entry-level barrier or digital reading devices make it a viable tool in K12 schools?
At least one textbook company plans to go a step further to adapt. Today McGraw-Hill made the announcement of a partnership with Intel, Inc. to launch the “LEAD21” literacy curriculum on Intel’s fourth-generation “Classmate” PC. The next generation of Classmate (shown in the video above) offers a touch screen that folds over to act like a tablet. McGraw-Hill’s LEAD21 curriculum is designed to work effectively in K12 classrooms to help students learn and work both in group and independent study.
The pairing of the two companies came about primarily due to how other tablet devices failed to catch on in classroom environments. “It’s an answer to some critics who talk about putting [content] on the Kindle or other products that aren’t purpose-built for the classroom,” said Paul Bergevin, Intel’s vice president of sales and marketing.
As prime participants in social media, young adults are often cast as a new breed of individuals who reject the conventional notion of privacy. A recently released study from the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology and the Annenberg School for Communication debunks this “kids don’t care” mythology. Hold on to your iPod: Researchers found that the attitude of 18 -24-year-olds is not that different than their parents or grandparents.
According to the study, “a large majority of young adults:
*Has refused to give information to a business in cases where they felt it was too personal or not necessary;
*Believes anyone who uploads a photo of them to the internet should get their permission first, even if taken in public
*Believes that there should be a law that gives people the right to know all the information websites know about them; and
*Believes there should be a law that requires websites to delete all stored information about an individual.”
The survey of 1,000 American adults was co-conducted last year. Surprisingly, attitudes between the youngest group in the sample (aged 18-24) and the oldest (over 65) were the most similar. When asked “Have you ever refused to give information to a business or a company because you thought it was not really necessary or was too personal?” 88% of 18-24-years-olds answered “Yes” and 85% of 65+ answered “Yes”. There’s a similar correlation for other questions like this one: “Do you think there should be a law that gives people the right to know everything that a website knows about them, or do you feel such a law is not necessary? 62% of 18-24 adults and 69% of 65+ adults agreed that a law was needed.
Another interesting finding is that although Internet users in all age groups are concerned about their privacy, a high rate of misinformation about privacy issues prevails. Researchers found that of the nine true-false questions asked, 75% answered 2 or less correctly. For 18-24 year olds, the rate of privacy illiteracy was 88%.
In case you want to brush up, here are our top ten privacy tips.