Tag Archives: digital textbooks

Illinois Rep. introduces bill to reduce textbook costs

26 Apr

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) wants to help make higher education more affordable and accessible for students by reducing college textbook costs.

“Skyrocketing textbook costs, along with the high costs of tuition, room and board, create a financial barrier that has become increasingly difficult for students to overcome,” Foster said in a news release. “By making high quality educational materials freely accessible to the general public, students would save money on textbooks.” 

The open source materials would be made available for free on a website, where they could be downloaded and shared by the public.

The congressman on Tuesday introduced a bill, the Learning Opportunities With Creation of Open Source Textbooks (Low Cost) Act, H.R. 4455, with the goal of providing more opportunities for students to downloaded free open-source educational content to their computers. Under the measure, open-source textbooks covering the subjects of physics, chemistry and calculus would be created as part of a pilot program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The legislation seeks to set up a “Federal Open Source Material Website” where the free educational materials would be made available for download. According to a statement from the congressman’s office, the Low Cost Act would also “require federal agencies that spend a significant amount of money on scientific education and outreach to use some of those funds collaborating with NSF.”

Foster noted that during the 2013-2014 school year, students spent an average of $1,207 to $1,270 on college books and supplies, according to a College Board estimate. Foster said the availability of free textbooks could reduce the amount of debt accumulated from four years of college by as much as $5,000.

The LOW COST Act is part of a larger initiative launched by Foster called Project Growth. Aimed at job creation and economic development in his district, it focuses on the issues of education, transportation, manufacturing and strengthening the middle class, in order to encourage further growth.  

The Benefits of Digital Textbooks in Learning

28 Mar

Textbooks are must-buy items for college students, and the money spent on textbooks can cost up to several hundred dollars in a single semester. Moreover, the higher the grade level, the heavier the books seem to get. With the growing concerns around traditional textbooks, there are many innovative alternatives for college students. One of the major alternatives in college education is the availability of digital textbooks. Let’s look at the benefits of digital textbooks in more detail:

  • Digital Textbooks are Cost-Saving: Digital textbooks are one of the major options to circumvent the soaring costs of textbooks. Digital textbooks are usually available for a lower price since they do not require printing, packaging and distributing to various channels. The skyrocketing costs of textbooks potentially leave students with limited money for other education-related expenses. Therefore, the significant cost-saving potential of digital textbooks cannot be ignored.
  • Digital Textbooks Improve Learning Effectiveness: Beyond price, digital textbooks also improve students’ ease and effectiveness of learning. For example, students can study with digital textbooks through any device, anywhere, anytime. Students can also easily take notes or highlight main points in the text without additional tools. The advanced features of digital textbooks allow college students to study more effectively than traditional textbooks.
  • Digital Textbooks Prepare Students for a Globally Competitive Marketplace: As a college student, remaining competitive and marketable depends a lot on taking advantage of digital tools. The world has become more complex and technology-driven in this digital era, and students need to prepare themselves better in order to stay competitive in a global marketplace by strengthening their digital knowledge and skills. The switch to digital needs to happen as soon as it can. Higher education is all about the free flow of information and ideas, so college students should equip themselves with cutting-edge educational technologies as well as innovative learning approaches to set themselves apart.
  • Digital Textbooks are Eco-Friendly: Digital textbooks are paperless and save trees because they do not require printing. Digital textbooks can actually help our planet by allowing students to study through digital devices instead of buying printed textbooks. Eco-friendliness can be added to the list of benefits when it comes to buying digital textbooks.

Digital textbooks give college students a chance to learn more effectively while allowing them to spend less than they would on a traditional printed textbook. By meeting students’ wants and needs, digital textbooks are a greener and more effective option that facilitates a richer learning experience.

Lynn L. is a recent college graduate living in the Chicago area. She writes on behalf of Skyo, an online site that helps college students save money with cheap textbooks and flexible rental options. Visit Skyo to learn more about how to buy textbooks online.

Students Still Not Yet Ready for Digital Textbooks

19 Jun

While publishers are increasingly creating and selling digital materials and students increasingly have the devices on which to consume that content, only 3% of students last semester used a digital textbook as their primary course material (for a specific course). That’s down from 4% for the fall semester.

Overwhelmingly, students prefer print, according to the survey of 1,540 undergraduate college students at both four-year and two-year institutions of higher education.

When asked why, about half “prefer the look and feel of print;” nearly half say they like to highlight and take notes in the textbooks; and a third cite that they can’t re-sell digital textbooks.

Among those few students who prefer digital textbooks to print, the reasons are the price, the ability to search the text and how easy they are to carry around.

According to U.S. director of Bowker Market Research, Carl Kulo, who developed the research, price and benefit to the student are the main factors that influence students to try and use new and different course materials. Read more on the digital textbook Bowker Market Research

App replaces textbooks with tablet

5 Jul

A teacher conducting a class with a touchscreen board and scholars using digital tablets as textbook, notebook or a test pad could seem like a scene in a high tech motion picture.  But it’s a fact now, thanks to MOCA ( mobile learning study room application ), an interactive tablet -based education platform delivered thru cloud technologies.  Developed by Hyderabad-based print-to-digital delivery services company Pressmart, which can supply cloud-based publishing technology to over six hundred publishers in thirty three languages from 61 nations, MOCA, which is device and system software ( OS ) -agnostic, fully disposes of children’s 15-kg back-packs and allows them to take their class work, homework and examinations, including lecture room reporting, on a 494-gramme tablet.  Pressmart had, in 2011, piloted MOCA ( on Samsung tablets) with Grade-V of La Salle Green Hills, a 100-year-old Catholic tutorial establishment in Manila, and utilized it across all grades until XII in June 2012.  Covering 4,500 scholars and four hundred teachers, the deployment, Pressmart claims, makes La Salle the planet’s first college with fully-digital school rooms.  “The pipeline is remarkable.


La Salle has seventeen faculties with 97,000 scholars in the Philippines for which they are going to start employing MOCA slowly. Also we are seeing a potential in Thailand where the govt is intending to disburse 800,000 tablets to elementary school scholars this year,” Vikram Simha Torpunuri, head of Pressmart, told mediapersons here on Monday.  The closely-held company is currently in debate with state govts, faculties and establishments in India, and is having a look at doing 2 pilots in the home market in the current calendar.


“Discussions-wise …  We are quite close. We are going to be launching a pilot with a college in Hyderabad inside a quarter,” he announced, adding that MOCA was anticipated to generate $1-million income this monetary year.  MOCA, which jams each other thing on the tablet, aside from the study room content, as quickly as a student enters the highschool, supports Android and iPhone operating software systems.  The company will release a Windows version shortly.  “If we have an Aakash tab, we shall install MOCA and do it,” Torpunuri expounded, adding the company will be launching a new application for the life sciences vertical in the following couple of months.



The Next Big Thing in Technology Infographic

23 Mar

Source: ZAGG Blog

Here’s the collection:


1. New Apple iPad 3 (AKA HD AKA 3rd Gen) – Apple’s new iPad is poised to be the next big thing for its “resolutionary” screen and slick specs. Forget that Apple seems to be confused on what to call it. 2. High-def (HD) Resolution Tablets – The newest iPad probably already qualifies, but look for PC tablets to be right behind in making tablet resolutions perfect for photo and video viewing. 3. Tablets w/ Built-in Stand – Expect additional features to be added to tablets. A stand would be an obvious choice, especially for those who want an expensive digital picture frame. 4. Flexible, see-through tablets – All of the futuristic movies have see-through or projection technology. Flexible tablets would mean the ability to wrap screens around cars or columns. 5. Urinal-mounted Tablets – When you’re at the big game and don’t want to miss the play, now you won’t have to. Tablets in the bathroom are surely the next big thing!


6. Apple TV – The rumor of Apple releasing a high definitely TV is not surprising, given their reputation for beautiful computer monitors. 7. Social Media & App-based TV – The ability to choose which TV apps you want to correspond to particular channels would be a huge win for consumers (and a major scare to cable providers). Incorporating sharing and updates right into TV would be a natural extension to what many TV shows are already trying to get consumers to do through their mobile phones and tablets. 8. Integrated Google TV/Skype – This would assume an inclusion of a camera inside the TV, which is completely plausible. 9. Motion/Voice-controlled TV – The idea that a separate motion-sensing console like XBox Kinect is necessary will one day sound archaic. Television remotes as we know them could become a thing of the past.


10. Social Mobile Games – Some of the most popular games like Words With Friends and Draw Something are, categorically, the beginning of this trends. In the future, phones will have the ability to host real-time gameplay between phones. 11. Social Gamification of Business – This has already been tested in a few scenarios with platforms like Salesforce. Look for business functions to adopt a competitive game-like interface to increase their KPIs. 12. Voice-Gesture Game Interfaces – Gamers already yell their heads off during high-competition showdowns. It won’t be long before game makers incorporate this natural tendency into enhancing the gameplay itself. 13. 3D Gaming Laptops – The 3D TV trend has led to the development of glasses-free 3D TVs. With this technology applied to a laptop, gameplay could get a lot more realistic.


14. Instagram for Video – With the popularity of filter apps for images, it won’t be long before special effect apps become mainstream in the personal video market. 15. 3D Projectors – Imagine being able to get the same effect as 3D TV, coupled with the screen projector experience? This could keep 3D TV from being more than a fad. 16. Collaborative Cloud-based Video Editing – Video editing has always been a massive resource hog. If cloud applications with the capabilities of FinalCut or Premiere were possible, we could see a renaissance of collaborative content creation. 17. Phone/Tablet w/ Built-in Projector – Tablet and laptop screens are notoriously small and inadequate for showing a group. Mini projector functionality is planned for a few new devices and if quality isn’t compromised too terrible, this could become a big deal.


18. Enterprise-wide Cloud Computing – Companies could soon witness the disappearance of resource-hogging, expensive-licensing software applications that have been used for decades. Some smaller companies that rely heavily on Google Docs and cloud project management software are heading down this road. 19. Online Voting/Registration – This is the dream that the government hopes can become a reality. Unfortunately, pilot voting programs have proven ineffective so far at keeping hackers out, but at least progress is being made. 20. Speech-controlled Web Browsing – With so much of our web usage being for reading, watching, etc., it would be very practical (and nice on the wrists) to develop technology for us to control our computers and browsers through speech.


21. Amazon Smartphone – Perhaps more rumor than anything, many have speculated that an Amazon Smartphone would be a fitting rival for the dominant iPhone. 22. Gesture-controlled Phones – Some phone manufacturers have hinted that buttons on phones may become a thing of the past. It’s possible that users will be given customized controls over their devices with basic motions and combinations of actions rather than pushing buttons. 23. Bendable Phones – Creating phones with the ability to ‘give’ could introduce a new line of defense against drops and impact.


24. Stackable USB Drives – Imagine being able to connect USB drives at will for added capacity. While not necessary for most people, this would make large file transfer much easier. 25. App-based Smart Watches – The emergence of wearable gadgets has definitely been the next big thing for some people. The incorporation of apps and fitness tracking tech into the watches that people already wear is definitely something that will be coming soon.