Major textbook publishers ink e-textbook deals for Apple iPad, iBookstore

“Major textbook publishers have struck deals with software company ScrollMotion Inc. to adapt their textbooks for the electronic page, as the industry embraces a hope that digital devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPad will transform the classroom,” Jeffrey A, Trachtenberg and Yukari Iwatani Kane report for The Wall Street Journal.

“The publishers are tapping the know-how of ScrollMotion Inc. to develop textbook applications and test-prep and study guides for the iPad,” Trachtenberg and Kane report. “‘People have been talking about the impact of technology on education for 25 years. It feels like it is really going to happen in 2010,’ said Rik Kranenburg, group president of higher education for the education unit of McGraw-Hill Cos. and one of the publishers involved in the project. Other publishers include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt K-12, which is a unit of Education Media & Publishing Group Ltd.; Pearson PLC’s Pearson Education, and Washington Post Co.’s Kaplan Inc., known for its test-prep and study guides.”

“Though Apple didn’t outline its strategy to target the educational sector with its iPad last week, people familiar with Apple’s thinking have said that the iPad’s use in schools was one of the focal points of discussions in developing the product,” Trachtenberg and Kane report. “In its exploration of electronic book technology, it thought particularly about how it could re-invent textbooks, these people said. Apple declined to comment on the role of textbooks on the iPad. Apple has an edge in the educational sector becauseits Macintosh computers have always enjoyed a strong following in the academic sphere, and it already offers educational audio and video content through its iTunes U service.”

“A closely held New York-based firm, ScrollMotion has already developed applications for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. ScrollMotion takes digital files provided by publishers for the iPad, adapts them to fit on the device, and then adds enhancements such as a search function, dictionaries, glossaries, interactive quizzes and page numbers,” Trachtenberg and Kane report. “The features of its iPad deal with publishers include applications to let students play video, highlight text, record lectures, take printed notes, search the text, and participate in interactive quizzes to test how much they’ve learned and where they may need more work.”

Full article here.

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27 Comments

  1. Couple of thoughts:

    First, this was the second time in two days that I’ve seen the term “closely held” and had no idea it was an actual type of business model. Interesting.

    Second, as I’ve been giving lectures all day to students, and they’ve been taking notes, I’ve been wondering if devices such as iPad will make note taking easier… or obsolete. And if people stop taking notes, is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

  2. I agree. I would like to see the iPad (or an app on it) allow for easy note taking. Dare I say it…a stylus of some sort might be useful in that scenario. True, I can type faster than I can write, but I can’t draw diagrams or graphs or circuits or equations with a keyboard (soft or hard). All of those are critical to being able to take notes.

    I’d also like to see the ability to mark up textbooks (or any books) and the ability to do a split screen view in which I have one page open on one side and another on the other side (perhaps even pages from two different books) for reference or comparison.

  3. To think I went to college with a type writer, ribbons and white-outs at hand. These kids have it too good.” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> More beer money I hope.

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