GoogleTranslate Service

The future of textbooks

January 9th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Two discussions have been coming together recently – the use of mobile devices – especially tablet computers – and the provision of text books.

As more tablet devices are released – and the increasing functionality of smart phones – plus the rising availability and popularity of ebooks, there is an immediate attraction to the idea of giving students mobile devices pre-loaded with all the text books students need for a course. However, as Ewen MacIntosh has pointed out, mobile devices remain relatively expensive compared to the price of text books and it may be that the only institutions that can afford to distribute them to students for free are those catering for relatively wealthy students anyway.

That ebooks have made a limited impact in the education textbook market is not surprised. Remembering my own student days – and talking to friends little seems to have changed – there is a thriving market in second hand textbooks. Digital Rights Management software and prohibitive licensing have prevented such a market emerging in ebooks.

I wonder though, if the debate over text books and mobile devices has been overly limited in scope. The real qu8estion for me is if we still need textbooks. The development of Open Educational Resources would appear to potentially render many textbooks redundant. But even more, web 20 and multi media applications put the ability to produce and share materials in the hands of anyone. So text book publishers no longer have a monopoly on the production of (scientific) publications. And that of course, has big implications for what is considered as scholarly or what publications or artefacts have authority, approval or sanction as learning materials. to an extent that debate has already started with the widespread use of wikipedia despite the frequently ambiguous attitude of academic providers.

Is it too big a step to imagine that in the future the ability to seek out and evaluate source materials will be seen as a key part of learning, rather than absorbing pre given material. And further, that student work can contribute to the body to learning materials, rather than being seen as just an exercise on the way to achieving accreditation?

2 Responses to “The future of textbooks”

  1. 2 things I might add to this discussion:

    1: Student authored open text books where the learning value is transfered to the creative process rather than the memorisation of content.

    2: Internet Archive’s work on their own BookReader, and their perspective on Google’s work too…


  1. The future of textbooks according to Graham Atwell, OER may render many textbooks redundant #OER

  • Search

    Social Media

    News Bites

    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

    News from 1994

    This is from a Tweet. In 1994 Stephen Heppell wrote in something called SCET” “Teachers are fundamental to this. They are professionals of considerable calibre. They are skilled at observing their students’ capability and progressing it. They are creative and imaginative but the curriculum must give them space and opportunity to explore the new potential for learning that technology offers.” Nothing changes!

    Graduate Jobs

    As reported by WONKHE, a survey of 1,200 final year students conducted by Prospects in the UK found that 29 per cent have lost their jobs, and 26 per cent have lost internships, while 28 per cent have had their graduate job offer deferred or rescinded. 47 per cent of finalists are considering postgraduate study, and 29 per cent are considering making a career change. Not surprisingly, the majority feel negative about their future careers, with 83 per cent reporting a loss of motivation and 82 per cent saying they feel disconnected from employers

    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • RT @ISSEjournal The most recent editorial 'Critiquing dominant cultures of schooling as a sustained critical enterprise in sociology of education" authored by Aaron Koh, Claire Maxwell, Laura Engel & Miri Yemini is now available online! Read the new editorial online:…

    About 13 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter for Android

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Categories