Category Archives: eBooks

Tablet’s will not cure all that ails you

As I read the article Tablets Will Transform the Classroom [OPINION] I found myself getting increasingly frustrated at this article’s view on what Tablets like the iPad, Galaxy Tab, etc would bring to the classroom.

Scraping texts books is one thing, though I suggest that many publishers are still dragging there heels into this century, afraid that everyone will automatically pirate all books and their cash flow will disappear. Text books are heavy and dull, and largely in some ugly typeface that is hard on the eyes, so by all means makes them available as an ebook.
However  believes that tablet computers will enable teacher to facilitate teaching at different speeds/levels in a single class. I’m unclear how this magic would happen, unless the under paid teacher is likely to want to spend three times the amount of time working on class plans for three different levels that all tie in together at key points so that the teacher can orate on them.

I’m all for students learning at their own levels, I believe that it encourages great growth and keeps students interested in their studies, instead of waiting for everyone to catch up with you or feeling like you are never going to catch up to others.
But this is more an argument for virtual learning environment(online learning), and having the whole class plan/notes available and having students progress at a pace that is comfortable to them. In this case the teach becomes almost like a project manager, ensuring that the students stay on schedule for their milestones, but allowing students who are so inclined to zoom ahead.

This would also allow for some learning disabilities to be catered for, larger text for people with learning disabilities, colour schemes adjusted for accessibility, etc.

I do agree that this is an excellent opportunity for academia to get with the times, but in order to do that teachers/lecturers need to get up to speed, and be completely competent with the Operating System and Office applications at least.
Students need to emerge out of  secondary school completely familiar with computers and, perhaps more importantly, the ability to investigate and work out how to use a new applications or systems without having to be walked thru it.

The tablet is not a magic bullet, no bit of technology is really, but how people use technology and continue to do so is important, and the future of computing in the classroom depends on all parties involved investing themselves in the technology, not being afraid to work with it and to be creative in the ideas that they come up with for how the can get more use out of the technology in the classroom.

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The future of newspapers

Newspaper publishers are finally coming to terms with new media and trying to work out where there business model lies in this new landscape.

However it occurred to me that they’ve missed a very basic thing in the current transition to new media.
All newspapers that are currently working with charging models are all using a subscription based service.
As someone who had a few paper rounds in their youth I know that there are far more houses I’d cycle by than deliver too. I also don’t know anyone at work who get’s a regular paper on their way in.
I’ve been enjoying the Guardian’s iPhone app. I’d never read the guardian before but actually got some semi-regular use out of the app, particularly as I could just read those sections and contributor’s columns that I enjoyed. However now they’ve introduced a new app with a charging model. The price is very reasonable at £3 per month and comes with a few new features over the old app. However it’s still a subscription model. For occasional newspaper readers like myself and everyone I know at work a subscription isn’t what they are after.
And so I got to thinking how comes Newspaper publishers, who were so fearful of change, have moved to a model where you can’t replicate the real world activity of being able to buy just one news paper.
Even if this translates to paying a one off fee for a period of access those people who don’t want to sign up to a recurring subscription don’t seem to be being catered for and are a missed business opportunity.

I hope that Newspaper publishers redress this oversight and allow the occasional buyers access and themselves to get the extra revenue to realise new media is not a threat, it’s an opportunity.

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How eBooks and iBooks Might Cost Us All

I was looking for a book on Buddhism yesterday and, as I’m sure it not uncommon for many reader, I checked Amazon first had a browse around and found a book I liked the look of. Amazon had a used copy for sale for 1pence + £2.75 p&p. Now that’s a pretty sweet price all in all.
I thought I’d check if there was an eBook out there of the book as I wanted to be able to get my hands on it sooner and found it for £12.

It occurred to me that we might see the death, or at least dramatic reduction, of the 2nd Hand Book. I can’t imagine that publishers of eBooks/iBooks would be happy for you to sell on your eBooks/iBooks, after all they get no cut from this so why would they want to facilitate it?
Also if the eBook is DRM’d to you then it won’t even work for someone else even if you can sell it to them. Or worse still if the practice of putting your credit card details, or other such personal details in the file, are taken up by publishers then you wouldn’t even want to sell that eBook on as you’d be giving away private information that you wouldn’t want out there.

So will will all end up buying ebooks and keeping them forever? Will the days of being able to pick up a second hand book be a thing of the past? And more importantly does this mean we’ll always have to pay the publisher’s full price for a book?

Slashgear raises some valid counter points that could make 2nd hand eBooks work: http://www.slashgear.com/kindle-drm-the-case-for-an-ebook-marketplace-1570019/

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