LIBRARY MOBILE
Configuring
the 'Future
Gerald McKiernan
Associate Professor/Science and Technology Librarian
Iowa State Un...
MOBILE
increase the audience for "formal as well as informal science
education by making learning far more inviting for di...
MOBILE
Sales
Although ebook sales were initially lower than those of oth-
er book types (e.g., trade, mass market paperbac...
MOBILE
formats and readers. While XML became more prominent,
Flash continued to be a popular option.
Profitability and Soc...
MOBILE
One can expect that the ever-increasing popularity
of ebook content, dedicated e-readers, and ebook
applications on...
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION
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Title:
Source:
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Publisher:
McKiernan, Gerald
Configuring the ‘Future Textbook’
Searcher...
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Configuring thefuturetextbook

  1. 1. LIBRARY MOBILE Configuring the 'Future Gerald McKiernan Associate Professor/Science and Technology Librarian Iowa State University Library Textbook' In late May 2006, more than 50 educators and publishers, representing a wide range of specialties, gathered at the National Academy of Sciences, in Washington, D.C., to participate in a 3-day National Science Foundation-funded workshop titled "Reconsidering the Textbook." 4Through small- and large-group discussions, the attendees "examined the current state of the textbook and its relationship to the growing number of electronic tools that also serve as learning resources for today's students" and sought to envision the textbook of the future. At the conclusion of the workshop there was general consensus that: [T]he textbook of the future will be more than a static printed volume. ... It will function as a guide, interweaving and coordinating a variety of different learning resources including animations, simulations, and interactive exercises. ... [It will] be easily searchable, and thus would be learner accessible with a flexible electronic interface. -http.//bit.Vy/gytdx0 T he group envisioned the "Future Textbook" - whetherprinted or electronic - as "the organizing hub of an inte- grated learning environment [that would] become increasing- ly adaptable, customizable, and responsive." They imagined it as a "Web-linked travel guide" that was modular by design, thus allowing an instructor to configure content to suit the goals of a particular course as well as the specific needs of in- dividual students. In this view, access to networked resources would strongly promote higher-level thinking. The group also agreed that the Future Textbook would be integrated with course management systems. The attendees clearly recognized that creating the Future Textbook would be a collaborative process that involved tech- nical specialists as well as instructors and publishers. They also recognized that faculty and students would have to accept a new learning paradigm and that demonstrating and docu- menting the benefits of alternative textbook models and tech- nologies were critical to their adoption. Participants agreed that the creation and integration of the Future Textbook within learning environments would become a major educational change agent, observing that "the adaptable, flexible textbook will shift the way in which higher education is accomplished." In their view,the Future Textbook could realign formal education from a faculty-directed focus to a more stu- dent-centered one. In addition, by catering to different learn- ing needs and styles, the Future Textbook could significantly www infotoday com/searcher May 2011 43
  2. 2. MOBILE increase the audience for "formal as well as informal science education by making learning far more inviting for distance, in- dependent, and out-of-field learners" [http://bit.ly/gDufmS; http://bit.ly/ekUTl3]. In view of the enhancement and enrichment of digital learning resources that have occurred since the workshop was convened, as well as the accelerated development and wide- spread adoption of mobile devices, platforms, and technolo- gies in recent years, many would consider the attendees' vision insightful, perceptive, and prescient. However, while some par- ticipants considered the wiki as the framework for the Future Textbook, ironically there is neither mention of the ebook as a possible model nor appropriate recognition of the packaging of textbooks with accompanying CD-ROMs and, more recent- ly, the incorporation of links to companion websites and relat- ed internet resources. Some did, however, consider the iPod and cell phone as potential "future" platforms [http://bit.ly/gy tdxO; http://bit.ly/g2qeEFl. While different in some respects, most notably content and purpose, the digital textbook is similar to the electronic book, which has been defined as "atext and image-based publication in digital form produced on, published by, and readable on computers or other digital devices. ... IEI-books are usually read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or ebook devices. Personal computers and some cell phones can also be used to read ebooks" [http://bit.ly/OWIJDI. Ebooks In early February 2011, the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), in cooperation with New Media Consortium (NMC), re- leased its "Horizon Report 2011" [http://bit.ly/fYalBu]. Pub- lished since 2004, the report seeks to identify and describe "emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years on a variety of sectors around the globe," most notably the "potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry." For the past 8 years, each edition of the "Horizon Report" has profiled emerging technologies or practices that its adviso- ry board agreed were likely to "enter mainstream use" within three adoption horizons over the next 5 years, as well as asso- ciated challenges. The near-term horizon assumes the likeli- hood of entry into the mainstream for institutions within the next 12 months, the midterm horizon (2-3 years), and the far- term (4-5 years). For the current near-term (next 12 months or less), the board ranked the use and adoption of electronic books and The report perceptively observes that it is neither the devices nor the texts that are of greatest importance, but the potential of the associated technologies and value-added features and functionalities to transform the reading and learning experience. mobile technologies as the highest of existing or emerging de- velopments. In its profile, the report acknowledges the rise in popularity of ebooks in the consumer market and the increase in the variety oftheir content, as well as e-reading applications, devices, and platforms. The report perceptively observes that it is neither the de- vices nor the texts that are of greatest importance, but the po- tential ofthe associated technologies and value-added features and functionalities to transform the reading and learning expe- rience. It notes, the "richly visual interfaces that include multi- media and collaborative elements" are becoming increasingly common. More specifically, the report recognizes that "reader technology has developed to the point that graphs, illustra- tions, videos, and interactive elements can easily be included, and [that] many enable bookmarking, annotation, commen- tary, dictionary lookup, and other useful functions." Overall, it recognizes that current "advanced forms of elec- tronic books [offer] self-directed, interactive experiences; easy exploration; collaborative work; multi-modal, immersive activ- ities; and other deeply engaging approaches to learning" that can serve as models for future academic and scholarly works. The report appropriately notes that mobile applications can offer "social interaction around electronic books [whichl could be marshaled in support of group study and focused teacher- student interaction. ... " 44 SEARCHER - The Magazine for Database Professionals
  3. 3. MOBILE Sales Although ebook sales were initially lower than those of oth- er book types (e.g., trade, mass market paperbacks, profession- al), during the past several years, electronic book sales have in- creased significantly. From 2002 to 2003, sales increased nearly 170%, and nearly 45% from 2004 to 2005. There was an increase of nearly 70% from 2007 to 2008 and more than 175% from 2008 to 2009. Overall for the period 2002 to 2009, there was a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 70%, a rate higher than the 1.1 % averaged CAGR for all tracked book cate- gories [http://bit.ly/ellph6]. Indeed, during the first half of this decade, the demand for ebooks is expected to continue to increase significantly. The Yankee Group, a market research firm, recently forecast that Americans will purchase more than 380 million ebooks in 2011, approximately more than four times the number purchased last year ("2011 US E-Book Forecast: Get Set for the Next Best-Sell- er" [http://bit.ly/fAgUYzl). Another market research firm, For- rester Research, predicts that U.S. ebooks sales will nearly triple by 2015 to $ 2.8 billion ("eBook Buying Is About to Spiral Up- ward: US eBook Forecast, 2010 to 2015" [http://bit.lylatklKi]). By 2014, it is estimated that 25%-50% of all books sold in the U.S. will be ebooks ("e-Book Will Soon Be More Important Than Print Books" [http://bit.ly/hlctSVl). Digital Textbooks Definition As defined by Wikipedia, "Digital Textbooks" are: core textbooks for students, with which students can learn contents that are tailored to their abilities and interests land that] offer various interactive functions, and provide the learner with a combination of textbooks, reference books, workbooks, dictionaries and multimedia contents such as video clips, animations, and virtual reality ... -http://bit.ly/eloxuv History According to one noted authority,there are five major stages of digital textbook development and marketing: experimentation, early markets, proliferation and integration, profitability and so- cial learning, and standards and disaggregated distribution. Experimentation (2000-2003) During this period, major textbook publishers partnered with startup vendors "to create non-PDF,non-standard, cus- tom-reader products," each producing 50-100 titles, but dis- covered that there was no market for these products and that the technology could not be adequately supported [http:// bit.ly/dzl6aB]. Early Markets (2004-2006) While publication continued, many publishers returned to using the lower-cost PDF format. The development and prolif- eration of online learning technologies among higher-educa- tion institutions and demand for specific subject content (e.g., mathematics, science, world languages) fostered a more stable market. During this period, Flash became the predominant technology for digital books. By the end of this phase, major publishers launched a variety of initiatives to create and/or distribute ebooks. Proliferation and Integration (2007-2008) In this wave, the cost of etextbook production dropped sig- nificantly, and publishers began to integrate ebooks into their respective homework management products. During the pe- riod, most major publishers supported multiple etextbook www,lnfotoday com/searcher May 2011 45
  4. 4. MOBILE formats and readers. While XML became more prominent, Flash continued to be a popular option. Profitability and Social Learning (2009-2011) By 2009, the size ofthe etextbook market had increased sub- stantially, due in large part to the proliferation of for-profit vir- tual universities (e.g., University of Phoenix) and the signifi- cant growth of distance-learning programs offered by brick-and-mortar colleges and universities. Concurrently, the widespread adoption of a variety of mobile devices and the in- creased use of e-readers, and subsequently tablet computers, prompted publishers to offer more digital texts. During this pe- riod, digital textbooks offered not only media-enhanced inte- gration with a variety of technologies, but integration within social learning environments as well. Perhaps equally significant was the emergence and expan- sion of the open textbook initiatives which sought to provide free or low-cost access to textbooks [http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Open-textbookl. Standards and Disaggregated Distribution (2012-2014) This future phase will be marked by several key develop- ments, notably the emergence of a common standard for digi- tal textbook XML and the reconfiguration of the digital textbook "from a single, cohesive product into a collection of malleable The widespread adoption ofa variety of mobile devices and the increased use of e-readers, and subsequently tablet computers, prompted publishers to offer more digital texts. content assets that can be disaggregated and mashed up easily with other digital products." This wave will also witness greater focus on smartphone and tablet access and use, the further promotion of open textbooks, and broader integration of social components. Sales To date, digital textbooks sales have been a fraction of over- all textbook sales. While the current market is less than 3% of national course materials sales, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) [http://www.nacs.org] predicts that the digital textbook market will increase from 10% to 15% by 2012. Among the factors that the association believes will affect fu- ture digital textbook adoption are an increasing awareness among students of etextbook availability, their promotion and effective use by instructors, and the incorporation of greater interactivity within these electronic texts [http://bit.ly/gM Badn]. One can expect that the ever-increasing popularity of ebook content, dedicated e-readers, and ebook applications on a variety of mobile platforms will also have a major effect on etextbook adoption in a variety of venues. Xplana, Inc. [http://info.xplana.coml, a service that oper- ates Xplana.com, a "social learning platform," predicts that U.S. digital textbook sales over the next several years will sur- pass 18% of combined new textbook sales for the higher-edu- cation and career education markets. This 5-year projection assumes a current market share of 0.5% and an average yearly increase in sales growth of approximately 150%-200%, with a tapering to 30% to 50% annual growth for the ensuing 5 years (2015-2019). The firm expects that such growth "will also create avenues for new content publishers to enter the textbook market, lead to fundamental shifts in purchasing patterns around learning materials, and expedite the formal adoption of open educa- tional resources to augment premium digital content" [http:/! bit.ly/99GHvY]. Current and Future Activities Academic Bookstore Community 1 While many may consider forecasts and projections as only potential scenarios, the presentations delivered at the recent annual meetings of the NACS and the Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA) [http://www.icbainc.com] indi- cate significant interest by the associations and their members in digital textbooks. 46 SEARCHER mThe Magazine for Database Professionals
  5. 5. MOBILE One can expect that the ever-increasing popularity of ebook content, dedicated e-readers, and ebook applications on a variety of mobile platforms will also have a major effect on etextbook adoption in a variety of venues. Independent College Bookstore Association The ICBA is a "professional cooperative dedicated exclu- sively to institutional collegiate retail stores." At its most recent annual conference held in early February 2011, the association hosted a range of presentations that focused on digital text- book developments. Its ICBA 2011 Strategic Direction Program track [http://bit.ly/h9vodu] offered an update on the Canadian Campus Retail Associates, Inc. (CCRA) and NACS Media Solu- tions LLC (NMS) Digital Content Platform and the CampusE- Bookstore.com service. The latter is a joint project between the CCRA and the NMS to develop and deploy "a common digital content platform (DCP) for electronic books and print-on-demand content, de- signed with student friendly terms and reflecting the academ- ic nature of the collegiate marketplace" [http://bit.ly/ekLDat]. The former, the Campus E-Bookstore [http://www.campus ebookstore.com], is a project by U.S. and Canadian college stores that seeks "to develop affordable alternatives and com- plements to traditional course materials." The track also included presentations on two major state digital textbook projects, the California State University sys- tem's Digital Marketplace [http://www.calstate.edu/ats/digi tal_marketplacel initiative, "an innovative one-stop-shopping platform for the discovery, selection and authoring of digital resources," and the Ohio Digital Bookshelf lhttp://ohiodigital bookshelf.ning.com], "a pilot project of Ohio Textbook HQ that aims to provide quality textbook options for faculty and better learning outcomes, while also saving students money." In addition, the track offered a general session that includ- ed presentations by representatives from Blackboard Mobile [http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Mobile/overview.aspxl and Digby Mobile Commerce lhttp://www.digby.com/mobile- commerce-software-platform] about the impact of mobile tech- nologies on communication, learning, and collegiate retailing. National Association of College Stores Based in Oberlin, Ohio, the NACS is a professional trade as- sociation that represents the collegiate retailing industry. Its most recent annual conference, CAMEX: The Campus Market Expo 2011 [http://www.camex.org], included presentation themes similar to those of the ICBA conference. Apanel session, "Course Materials: Online, Mobile, and Part- nering Solutions," included presentations on etextbook trends, online buying, and brand awareness and loyalty. This session, as well as one titled "The Past, Present, and Future of Open Education Resources: Implications for Campus Stores," also focused on open education resources [http://www.oercom mons.org]. A session titled "NACS 2011 Digital Update" offered presentations on recent developments and current initiatives on digital content delivery,notably the CCRA-NMS Digital Con- tent Platform project. The NACS conference also included a ses- sion devoted to "Mobile Technology and Retailing," which addressed the potential of smart mobile devices such as the iPhone, BlackBerry, and iPad as platforms for generating sales and disseminating information [http://bit.ly/i38cUb]. A future column will review current digital textbook ini- tiatives by individual academic bookstores, as well as recent projects undertaken by colleges and universities throughout the U.S. In addition, several major digital textbook vendors will be profiled. * ww* Inlotodav corn/searcher May 2011 47
  6. 6. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Author: Title: Source: ISSN: Publisher: McKiernan, Gerald Configuring the ‘Future Textbook’ Searcher 19 no4 My 2011 p. 43-7 1070-4795 Information Today, Inc. 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055-8750 The magazine publisher is the copyright holder of this article and it is reproduced with permission. Further reproduction of this article in violation of the copyright is prohibited. To contact the publisher: http://www.infotoday.com This article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub- licensing, systematic supply or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug doses should be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.

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