Why Aren't We Using e-Textbooks Yet?

September 11th, 2012 1 Comment Other


We write frequently about the combination of technology and learning styles and one of the ways that has struck us as being strange is the lack of e-Textbooks in the classroom.

While there is certainly a trend toward e-Textbooks the shift has remained slow. A recent blog post by Wired Campus, made the reasons clear.

The benefit to students is clear – lower cost. But in a recent study done at five different universities, the findings have proven that students are willing to pay more for the traditional heavy and expensive option of carrying hardcopy printed books rather than a lighter, less expensive e-Book.

Both methods hold the same material and e-Books actually have extra features that give students a way to interact with the textbook.

Still, students found the following to be true of e-books:

  • E-books are clumsy
  • Navigation is difficult
  • Collaboration features are rarely used

According to the Indiana University Vice President, Bradley C. Wheeler, who pioneered this study, the reason behind the feedback was simply a lack of familiarity with the technology.

This seems surprising in a society where nearly all things are digital and tablet sales are set to take over PC sales. Wheeler believes that as habits are formed and technology becomes even more advanced, students will adapt quickly to e-Textbooks. But in the meantime it appears that they are sticking with traditional bindings and paper pages.

Perhaps the same thing is happening in Australia.

How do you feel about e-Textbooks? Is it something you can see using in the classroom?

 Image by Johan Larsson


Kimberly Crossland is a writer, educator and business woman with a passion for bringing cultures together via the power of the internet. She works closely with companies of all sizes across the globe to help teach them how to harness technology to achieve more in their ventures. You can find her on Google+.

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