Andy McCaskey talks to Heather Shelstad, Director of Marketing for CourseSmart. Anyone in education will know that textbooks are expensive and CourseSmart offers a cheaper and more convenient alternative. CourseSmart is the world’s largest provider of on-line textbooks with around 90% of the current curriculum available at about 60% of the cost. CourseSmart has relationships with many of the major publishers, so new textbooks are available on-line simultaneously with the paper editions.
Heather shows off the iPad’s virtual bookshelf client that takes advantage of the iPad’s touch screen to provide real-world functionality such as sticky notes and annotations. The on-line world can provide a richer experience than a traditional book, with links to other resources across the Internet but a new feature coming soon will be the ability to download and store chapters or whole books for reference off-line.
Any web browser can be used to read etexts at CourseSmart but there are specific clients for iPads, iPhones and Android devices.
Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.
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Imagine a school that passes out Amazon Kindles instead of printed textbooks. No books at all, zilch, zero, nada – everything electronic. Printing costs could be completely eliminated, along with a myriad of associated problems – replacement books, textbook obsolescence, and book disposal to mention but a few. A single high-battery-life device such as a Kindle would suffice for replacing all books.
Let’s take this electronic book thought experiment a bit farther. The next logical step would be for the teachers to pass out tests and other traditional paper handouts electronically, eliminating paper altogether. At that point, the Kindle or other reader or tablet would have to be able to allow student interaction, say on a multiple-choice test.
The stickiest problem with this scenario would revolve around having an easy-to-use input system on these devices that allowed students to write phrases, paragraphs, papers, and draw images or diagrams to send back to the teacher.
All of this technology already exists in various forms. Perhaps the iPad comes close to meeting many of these requirements, but some form of the dreaded pressure stylus input would still be needed. Also, two separate devices would be needed – a reading screen, and an input screen on which to write, type and/or draw.
Are we there yet? Not quite, but we are getting close. With the success of the Kindle, iPad, smartphones and maturing touch screen technology in general, the day of eliminating the need for tons of paper is finally becoming a practical, desirable reality.
Have you ever been surfing the net and hit a website that tries to launch a swarm of pop up ads. I am sure many of you have had this happen especially when using Internet Explorer 6.0 without any utilities to stop such action. Imagine being a teacher and having that happen during a class where students are exposed to pornographic images.
Well this happened to a teacher named Julie Amero in 2004, she was fired almost immediately and then prosecuted and tried shortly after that on a variety of charges stemming from the pop up swarm.
We all know that schools rarely have the latest technology and I doubt that they had software installed to prevent the actions that occurred. But what is a travesty is how it all turned out you are going to just shake your head. www.alternet.org
During the past two weeks I have become to realize as many others have that are actively building podcast communities and also at the same time working on our own shows is that the general public at this point still has very little idea what a podcast is.
Many continue to be confused and think that a iPod is necessary to enjoy this powerful content. In my book on Podcasting I called podcastings greatest strengths was the “Power of Walk Away Content, it’s content that you subscribe to not what someone is trying to shove down your throat”
With the latest move by Apple we need to educate the general public on what the big deal is about this content, we need to have an awareness campaign that in under 60 seconds gets them up to speed.
I have been holding a domain for a while that I would be willing to host for the community if we could get some community leaders to brainstorm on a design and put something together that will serve as a place to educate the consumers.
The domain is “whatsapodcast.com” maybe not the best domain but hey it’s easy to remember. If you would like to help out in putting some info together on that site drop me a line and we will get to work.