Week 8: Digital Textbooks

The Advent of the Digital Textbook: Boon or Bust?

In a fast-paced information world, it is becoming increasingly evident that what students learn in courses will be out of date by the time they begin their working careers. New information is produced so rapidly that students need the tools to find, manage, and evaluate new information. Digital textbooks serve as a source of knowledge in a digital environment. Using multimodality and interactivity, they can include features such as video clips, animation, and augmented reality to enhance the learning experience. 

The term “digital textbook” is an umbrella term that can include: E-textbooks, Open source textbook, E-book and Educational software.

Our purpose: Digital textbooks are used by students of all ages and working professionals throughout the world. For the purpose of this open educational resource, we have narrowed our research of digital textbooks that target the K-12 and post-secondary student market.  The goal is to examine digital textbooks from the perspective of a K-12 or post-secondary educator to determine its advantages, as well as its challenges, and the improvements to be made on what is a potentially transformative learning resource.

As you explore our OER, you will find multiple opportunities to check in on your understanding and share your thoughts, ideas, and expertise. Here’s what you can expect from this week:

Week 8 OER Website:


We welcome feedback and any suggestions for the improvement of our OER. Please share your feedback in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to read through and participate.  Have a great week 🙂

Raafa, Tara and Kathleen

( Average Rating: 4 )

46 responses to “Week 8: Digital Textbooks”

  1. Alice Shin

    Hi, Raafa, Tara and Kathleen!

    While most of my reading and research is online, I have rarely used e-textbooks, first, because this is the first course I’ve taken in a while, and second, my industry, from what I can tell at this point, still uses pdf’s / printed study guides. So this has proven to be a valuable resource for me. I appreciated the breadth of the information you laid out, and the key players in the industry. I especially like the fact I can write my own textbook which I never considered until now. Thanks for sharing this OER!

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    1. tara davis

      Hi Alice,
      I am glad you find the OER to be a valuable resource for you. Many teachers and professors work collaboratively in department teams to write the textbooks. There are even cases in universities of students being able to edit and revise textbooks written by their professors, so it has totally changed the pace of peer-review and collaboration. If you ever have a link to a textbook you ever create in the future, feel free to share it with the “digital textbook team” (Raafa, Kathleen, and I).

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    2. raafa abdulla

      Thank you very much Alice. The first time I used a digital textbook was at the university and was only used to submit assignments. However, when I started teaching in Dubai, all the books where digital where I can assign homework or even reading homework. It was very interesting to know how long my students are studying at home. Currently, in my new school, some of our trainings were designed as digital books that have quizzes and other activities.
      So there are some movements toward interactive ebooks.
      I hope you will do the optional activity and create your first digital book.

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  2. Alice Shin

    I almost forgot, there are some very minor edits I recommend – in the Effective features section, some of the formatting may need to be fixed (text is creeping up the side of a graphic) and the first mentimeter question may be missing a word?

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    1. tara davis

      Thank you, Alice, for the recommendations. I will let the team know!

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    2. raafa abdulla

      Thank you Alice, I have fixed that page. I hope it looks better now 🙂

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  3. adrian wheeler

    General Thoughts: Overall, I really enjoyed your OER, I think you covered the topic well, presenting interesting and persuading arguments and backed them up with excellent resources. While I have never personally used an electronic textbook I have a much grater understanding of their pros, cons and optimal use cases since exploring your OER. In the spirit of the assignment I would like to provide some further and more specific thoughts along with some constructive feedback on the categories below.

    Content: I’m quite impressed with the amount of content you included. I really think you outdid yourselves. I would also like to commend you on the excellent external content you included to back up your arguments. I also enjoyed your mix of videos, infographics, and screenshots. It added excellent variety and kept the OER interesting.

    Design: I liked the general layout and navigation of the OER, however it is a little busy. There are a lot of different coloured boxes, text and graphics without any real common theme. It is somewhat difficult to follow when text is changing size, colour and font from section to section. Using the same formatting for all similar elements can help the user better understand the information and navigate the site (for example, if all headings are the same size, font and colour it’s immediately obvious what is a heading and what isn’t.) this same concept applies for visual elements.

    Activities: I applaud your attempt to integrate a variety of activities and platforms, however I am not sure they added to the experience. Most of the activities ask for an opinion of some sort, but don’t allow users to see who is voicing which opinion, or engage with them in any meaningful way. Furthermore, I’m not sure artificially limiting responses to single words (in the metimeters) was the best idea, it just further limits the user’s ability to express their ideas. Finally, I noticed several of the activities seem to exclude those who haven’t used digital textbooks. It might be preferable to reword them to and give response options to those who haven’t.

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    1. tara davis

      I truly appreciate your constructive feedback. I am glad that you found the research compelling and that you found the mixed content varied and interesting. It is very helpful to know you found the design of the website busy. As a team, we could have collectively decided upon a format that may have tied all of the pages together. I want to support my teammate Raafa, who put in a lot of work into this group project by designing the entire website and selecting the fun fonts/colours for every page. She also selected the format for the interactive student questions at the end (kahoot, mentimeter, etc.) I could have provided her with stronger content for the questions that did not exclude people who had never used a digital textbook. We hope students would get the feel of a digital textbook after designing their own and I think this was the strongest idea we came up with as a team to increase engagement while creating a practical concluding task. Thank you again for the very helpful feedback!

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      1. adrian wheeler

        Hi Tara, I do really think you and your team did a great job overall and please take my comments as just one opinion rather than an objective truth. You are of course totally allowed to disagree 🙂

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    2. raafa abdulla

      Thank you very much Adrian for your feedback. I have redisigned the website and (thanks to your suggestions:)) ,it looks better now. I hope you can revisit it again. In terms of the activities, I tried to add “rate” and “comment” options to padlet but I couldn’t do that for the other activities. Therefore, I added the option to comment and share your opinion at the bottom of each page. I will appreciate if you check the new features of our OER 🙂

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      1. adrian wheeler

        Hi Raafa,

        I’m super impressed you redesigned that so quickly! It looks really fantastic and its much easier to navigate and differentiate each section. Very well done!!

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        1. raafa abdulla

          Thank you very much Adrian. I have learned as a teacher to apply any good seggession immediately. I use Mentimeter a lot in my classes and if my students suggest any new improvements, I apply them in the following class 🙂

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  4. johannes dirk wielenga

    Hey Raafa, Tara and Kathleen,

    Thanks so much for your OER – it’s a topic that has more interesting info than I would have ever given it credit for. I especially see a practical use in my own craft for TopHat, so thanks for that. I liked the activities you have in your OER, my favorite so far is the map activity (geography nerd). I do think that the overall layout is a bit spartan and lacks a cohesive vision and design language, but everything is laid out plain and simple and easy to use, so that was good to see!

    Thanks again!

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    1. raafa abdulla

      Thank you very mych Johannes for your feedback. I am glade that you found our OER interesting. There are so many website that can turn your work into digital book. I have used iBook before and it is also easy to use and create. However, it is a Mac app and I have been using windows for the last four years so I don’t know if it is still available. If you are interested in the digital textbook, here are some additional software:

      source: https://kitaboo.com/best-ebook-creation-software/

      Kitaboo – cloud-based digital publishing platform to create, publish and securely delivery multimedia-enhanced interactive ebooks.
      Epubeemaker – Free ebook publishing software in the form of a word add-in, it helps you create epub directly from your word document
      Flipbuilder – An ebook creator that converts PDF into Media Rich eBooks with a flipbook style
      Blurb – An ebook publishing software capable of assisting throughout the publishing and distribution process
      Pressbooks – Offers epublishing solution to educational institutions, authors and self-publishers
      FlipHTML5 – HTML5 digital publishing platform
      Notion press – Lets self-publishers streamline their epublishing process with its offerings
      iBooks Author – eBook authoring tool by Apple, helps create books for Apple devices.
      Visme – Lets users to download the eBook as a PDF and share or sell online
      Sigil – Open-source application for eBook creation

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    2. tara davis

      Thank you very mych Johannes for your feedback. If you are interested in using other apps for geography, you can check out National Geographic’s recommended apps: https://www.natgeomaps.com/apps

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  5. Michael Saretzky

    Great job! I like the balance of materials you have, from videos to infographics, it wasn’t too much of one thing, which kept my attention. I also liked your resources, I always appreciate being able to walk away with something I could use in my own teaching, which I found with this presentation. And like I said in my one post, I learned something new, as I never thought about how ebooks could help learners with dyslexia. I also enjoyed the breakup of activities, I know some people enjoy doing the same activities, whereas I find it more engaging and it is also easier to come back to and remember what you commented on. Personally, I find after so many of the same activity they meld into one, but I thought you had a good balance. Although I am curious how your got your Mentimeters so clear, ours was blurry a couple of weeks ago, however we did you Wix, so maybe that was it.

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    1. raafa abdulla

      Thank you very much Michael 🙂 Really appreciate your comment and I am very glade to know that our OER was useful :).
      We tried to include different activities, but not all are easy to be part of a website. We also tried different websites (including Wix) but some apps were not working well. For the Mentimeters, we chose a different theme (Menti light) because the default one was blurry as you said.

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    2. tara davis

      Thank you, Michael, for the feedback. Here are some other digital textbook recommendations for teachers that you may find useful:
      1- OER Commons.
      2- Bookboon.
      3- Wikibooks.
      4- Open Textbook Library.
      5- MERLOT.
      6- TextBookGo.

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  6. Jessica Daicos

    Hey team. Thanks for this comprehensive resource. You must have been very quick updating the design as per the previous comments because visually it was great to engage with. So, great work for being so responsive!

    A couple points of feedback for you, in the hopes that they might help guide your final submission:

    1) Sometimes there was quite a bit of overlap between the videos. I would suggest cutting down on the number of embedded videos to the ones that add real value and perhaps summarising the additional points from other ones. I started skipping through them because they started to feel redundant.

    2) It felt a little… biased to me. Even little things like your Kahoot question: ‘why do teachers think about digital textbooks’ and the answer was that they love it for b) and c) reasons. Which teachers? Surely not all teachers. This didn’t have an obvious reference in the page to know what research you were using. Then, in the Challenges section, the Padlet question is asking us about advantages? It seemed to squash discussion that might be anti-digital text. I understood why the videos under Advantages were all ultra-positive and selling digital textbook platforms, but this seemed like a good place to balance out the discussion.

    3) I was confused a little bit by the scope. You defined your topic as digital textbooks but then went on to show videos of pros and cons of fiction eBooks. While there are, of course, similarities I feel like those kinds of eBooks are used for a very different purpose, on different platforms, at a different time by different consumers than digital textbooks. So, I wasn’t really sure what we were aiming at sometimes. If there is a particular link there you would like to make despite the differences, I would suggest a little bit of text to tie it together and explain the purpose of the eBook videos. Some activities were specifically worded only for those who have used digital textbooks before, but with the implied expectation that eBook users would comment? This could have been a bit more clear.

    I hope that is useful, though I can only speak of the interaction from my own experiences. Overall, it was a really great presentation of the topic this week. Thank you all!

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    1. raafa abdulla

      Thank you extremely much Jessica for this very valuable feedback. For the videos, we tried to post different types of videos (news report, students’ voice or animation) just to give some options. You are free to skip some or only watch few clips from each. Personally, when I am learning new content, I like to watch several videos just to confirm my understanding (I am not very easy learner haha). For the 2nd comment, we tried to post an easy, fun and general Kahoot. However, you are right, we were supposed to reference the articles that we based our questions from. Also, I had a mistake when I posted the padlet in the “challenges” page. It was supposed to share the disadvantages. I cannot change the padlet now but I wrote in the comments section (at the bottom of that page) that audience can share their opinion regarding the challenges there.
      I tried to modify the activities so if someone didn’t use a digital textbook but used any ebook, they can also share their opinion.

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    2. tara davis

      Hi Jessica,
      Thank you for the very thoughtful and constructive feedback. I appreciate the comment about how the advantages comment section may squamish some discussion about the disadvantages of digital textbooks. Here are some of the major disadvantages of digital textbooks:

      1) Dependant on a digital reader that works.
      2) Dependant on electrical power or batteries.
      3) Not as practical for teaching young children how to write neatly.
      4) May not be instantly available when it is desperately needed, such as a first aid book.
      5) May not be practical in some environments, such as on a canoe camping trip, or while trying to learn about woodcraft while hiking through a forest, or when outdoors during extreme weather conditions.
      6) May expire if a renewal fee is not paid.
      7) May be more expensive than a Dollar Store book or a yard sale book or a used book on Amazon.

      Also, a digital book contains pictures and illustrations then it will consume a lot more space than a pure 100% text digital book. Users need to consider storage space, etc.

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  7. sarka kubelikova

    I find this topic very relevant in today’s times. I am currently creating a digital resource for my students that is similar to a digital textbook with embedded hyper links to videos, quizzes class notes etc as our online school failed to provided all of the students with digital textbooks, due to the cost, however students in brick and mortar schools were still able to get hard copies of textbooks. Digital textbooks would also be a great benefit to special needs students, and can create greater accessibility for students if designed with that in mind as you mentioned in your post.

    Your lay out was easy to follow, and I like the research support to why digital textbooks can be a positive influence in the K-12 learning environments.

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    1. raafa abdulla

      Thank you Sarka.
      I am currently trying to create my digital textbook with one note. So far, I am sharing only class notes and some voice records. I am planning next year to have a “page” for each student in our “book” where I can assign classwork and see students workings at the same time. I can also correct and give feedback on their work from my device. So far, I am getting positive feedback from students. They like to have access to class notes at any time.

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    2. tara davis

      Thank you, Sarka,
      To add to the points you made about the positive influence digital textbooks can have to K-12 public education, here are some additional advantages:
      1) Reduces the total cost of a student’s education without compromising the quality of that education.
      2) The latest most current up-to-date edition is always immediately available at the beginning of each new school term.
      Does not involve record keeping and “late fees” if not returned on time.
      3) Does not incur a “lost book fee” because there is no book to misplace.
      4) Does not incur “wear and tear” or damage to a book if it is misused.
      5) In some situations it allows more than one student to have access to the same exact book at the same exact time (a site or school license) and this is extremely useful for brief assignments that are based on one book and that book will not be used again for the remainder of the school year.

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  8. Laura Ulrich

    Hi Team!
    Thank you for this fantastic resource! I think this will be a great help to my math-teacher colleagues.

    One wee suggestion — add more hyperlinks? These would allow readers to seamlessly jump for more info. I noticed a stumble in my engagement whenever I had to copy-paste the mentimeter-addresses. Hyperlinks would also help when mentioning a specific tech (ex: Dynamic Books and Kognity in your “Effective Features” section). Other than that, I found your OER very easy to navigate and learn from. And I greatly enjoyed all of the infographics!

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    1. raafa abdulla

      Thank you very much Laura for your very valuable suggestions. I have added now more hyperlinks and I put the links for the menti activities. Sometimes it is very small adjustments, but they have big effects. Really appreciate your feedback, Laura 🙂

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    2. tara davis

      Hi Laura,
      Thank you for the great suggestion. Hyperlinks are very effective.

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  9. JamieTooze

    Thank you Tara, Raafa and Kathleen for putting this OER together. I definitely appreciated the design and layout on your Weebly site. It is easy to access each module and keep track of what I completed. I have a couple ideas you might want to add but first, I want to commend your team for the work you put into following up on discussions. I learned a great deal from the discussions as they grew. Also hearing your opinions in these discussions is helpful for our understanding of the issues.

    I think you have provided some very valuable resources here from digital creation tools to insights in the market. To truly explore the opportunities in this market I think it might be interesting to include some insight into recent innovations and/or challenges that are immerging in the industry. For example, a small alternative textbook publisher called Flatworld is experiencing rapid growth and shaking up the market with their lower cost OER.

    Also, I very much liked the direction you were heading with your section on digital textbook usage around the world. I would very much like to learn more about how other countries around the world are using digital textbooks. For example I saw an article in University World News from 2010 that suggested China and India were poised to “dominate the e-book industry” but I wonder if that really came to pass?

    Overall I really enjoyed your OER and will be accessing it in the future for sure. Oh one last question… do you think you could have produced your OER using Top Hat?

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    1. raafa abdulla

      Thank you very much, Jamie. After reading your feedback, I went and searched further about the future of educational and digital books. I found a really nice article that I published the link on the website under the conclusion section. It is about a Korean study of what happens if all textbook turns to be digital. I also found the UNICEF initiative to spread digital books to certain countries. I wish I found this initiative before so we can discuss that in more detail. Anyway, I put the link now and I highly encourage anyone to read how UNICEF is embedding digital textbooks in their projects.

      Links (already on the conclusion page):
      1) What happens when all textbooks are (only) digital? Ask the Koreans!-blog
      2) Accessible Digital Textbooks for All Initiative-Making digital textbooks accessible, affordable and available for all children. UNISEF

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    2. kathleen mckenna

      Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for providing your recommendation of Flatworld and Top Hat. With the digital textbook platform growing, there are many online library catalogs for free or low cost. Providers such as Flatworld are having to compete with free Open Education Resources (OER) such as Open Textbook Library and OpenStax. For me, Flatworld would need to grow their library to compete with these OERs. However I do appreciate the fact that instructors can manage these textbooks to fit students needs. I also noticed that Flatworld markets to post-secondary students, as K-12 students would likely not be purchasing their own textbooks. Nonetheless, a great addition to the digital textbook world! Thanks for including it!

      It is interesting that you found an article claiming China and India were top counties for digital textbooks (DT). In our project analysis, we saw a lot of research about digital textbooks from Korea. Many studies we found were investigating digital textbooks (DT) design/functionality as well as determining if student learning was improved from digital textbooks. From what we found, there was no real conclusive evidence to suggest DTs improved student learning. However some great conclusions were made about how to design DTs. I wonder how that changes from country to country?

      I cannot speak for my team, but I have not heard of Top Hat! After investigating the tool, I think I will use it in the future.

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    3. tara davis

      Thank you, Jaimie, for your interest in learning more about digital textbook usage around the world. According to an article published in “Good E-Reader”, 80% of US schools use e-books or digital textbooks. In the U.S., digital content currently occupies about one-third of the instructional materials budget and the use of digital content continues to grow. Devices used for digital content in the U.S. include laptops (75 percent), tablets (62 percent), personal computers (49 percent), and smartphones (17 percent). It would be interesting to learn what devices are used throughout the world. My assumption is that smartphones would be used more than they are in the U.S. to access digital textbooks because smartphones are more accessible than laptops. I am interested in learning more about how students around the world are accessing devices to read their digital textbooks and how this impacts their learning experience.

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  10. AmandaKong

    Hi Week 8

    I thoroughly enjoyed learning about digital textbooks.  I like the kahoots and discussion postings,it flowed well as I progressed through the content. As a teacher, I can see the benefits of e-books in the education field. As a student, I am also familiarwith online textbooks, but I have now an increased understanding of digital dividesand future implementations. 

    Thanks for this OER!

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    1. raafa abdulla

      You are more than welcome Amanda 🙂 We are very happy that the OER was helpful :).

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    2. tara davis

      Thanks, Amanda, for the poisitive feedback. I’m glad you found the discussion and kahoots postings helpful.

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  11. sundeep lail

    I enjoyed your OER! For me it was the resources and links that you provided at the end that I enjoyed looking through and seeing if there was something that would help me and my organization. The various activities were also enjoyable, especially the way you used mentimeter. Thanks again for an engaging week.

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    1. raafa abdulla

      Thank you very much Sundeep for your nice feedback. We appreciate your kind words 🙂

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    2. tara davis

      Thank you, Sundeep, for the positive feedback. I am glad you found it useful.

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  12. ben zaporozan

    Hello Digital Textbook team,

    I think that you found quite a good set of materials to cover most of the more important points about digital texts, like cost, accessibility, interactivity, ease of use, and portability. Three of Ruchi Sinha’s top four preferences for ebook over print are quite common: searchability, notes/highlights, and usability/portability. Ease of citation (her fourth point) could readily be categorized under notes. Availability for online and offline use on a laptop, tablet, or phone in an affordable, flexible platform is important. I work for a higher education publisher, and we have found that notes/highlights and searchability are the most commonly used and requested functions along with offline access (portability).

    When you discuss cost, you mentioned that university programs have the option of putting this cost on students. I see this as a benefit to the institution as well as the learner. Inclusive access means that all students have access to the right materials from the first day of class (once tuition is paid), and the institution does not need to worry that their local campus bookstore did not order enough of the physical copies because they assume that some students will purchased used books elsewhere. Some universities in Canada have partnered with Kivuto, a third-party ebook distributor that offers textbooks from a variety of publishers to help with the affordable and inclusive access model of ePub and PDF text delivery.

    In the Challenges section you mention possible risks with quality and accuracy in digital textbooks versus print due to the ease of creating and delivering an ebook. That can definitely be a problem with self publishing and with the smaller publishers, but it is not a universal problem with digital textbooks. No technological delivery will be faultless and no publisher has ever been accused of perfect content delivery, but if you purchase a digital textbook from a major K-12 or higher education publisher you can comfortably assume that content accuracy and quality checks were factored in to their delivery process.

    The infographic in the Market of Digital textbooks section has some highly relevant information that you were right to call out: “Digital textbooks will take off as print dwindles.” This has been true for the past 2-3 years, as evidenced by your video from Pearson that claimed 55% digital vs print use in the US. Pearson’s digital vs print figure is over 60% in Canada and growing quickly. Print rental companies in the US were real catalysts for change with textbook pricing and delivery modes. As students have benefitted from ebook portability, notes, highlights, and a more affordable set of materials, digital came out the clear winner.

    What will the textbook of the future look like? All of the options from your graphic already exist, which may be due to the source being from 2011. While the source may be dated, it does indicate the rapid change in the industry. I wonder what that graphic would list if it were created this summer as a market impact response during the recession related to COVID-19. What will be the important trends in the next 18-36 months, and will they represent anything more than minor changes to existing options?

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    1. kathleen mckenna

      I agree, I think the digital textbook industry is going to blow up due to the current need. For example, at my school, we have just invested in Raz-Kids, an online library resource. In the past, we have done a “borrow a book” program, where teachers would send levelled reading books home, students read them with their parents, and return by the end of the week. This system can’t happen this year due to Covid. As you can imagine, this system is extra work for the teacher, and the teacher has no way of knowing if the child/parent are actually reading. Raz-Kids also has a recording feature, where students can record themselves reading. Thus, RAZ-KIDS improves the system already in place. I don’t think we will go back to our “borrow a book” program because it has been improved by digital textbooks.

      I can’t wait for digital textbooks to develop because its technology will only become more immersive and engaging.

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    2. tara davis

      Hello Ben,

      I found your response regarding “the risks with quality and accuracy in digital textbooks versus print” especially helpful. Thank you for clarifying how this will be problematic in the self-publishing market, but how it is not a universal problem with digital textbooks. It is a relief to know that if you purchase a digital textbook from a major K-12 or higher education publisher, then you can comfortably assume that content and accuracy and quality checks were factored in to their delivery process. It surprised me to learn how professors are collaborating with students to create digital textbooks for their own course content. In certain cases, I can see how there could be biases involved in this process in a private university. In other cases, I can see how a rigorous peer review may prevent misinformation, etc.

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  13. Feng Mao

    Thank you for an engaged and resourceful OER. I found really helpful about the different platforms that you introduced to create digital textbooks. I think it is very thoughtful of you to offer us the video options so that we could choose the ones we are interested to watch then join the discussion group accordingly. I am also very impressed how quickly you updated your website after receiving recommendations from the viewers.
    If could add the hyperlink for the activities on the Mentimeter would be more convenience for the users.
    Good job, Week 8 team!

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  14. Neal Donegani

    Hi Week 8,
    Just wanted to sneak a late thank you for your OER this week. I dipped in and out of it several times to add my comments here and there to your questionnaires. Several times I mentioned that I find e-textbooks very useful for features such as search, bookmarking, and text to speech. Also, as many of the interviewees in the videos pointed out they appreciate the ease at which you can access e-textbooks: laptop, tablet, phone, etc. I have found myself in situations where I have a few minutes to open up an e-textbook on my phone and get a reading in: son’s sports practices, bus rides, etc. Plus, there isn’t that extra weight of textbooks where even my younger undergrad self would have surely appreciated. Still, my middle school, or district for that matter, haven’t gone the way of the e-textbook. Instead I compile material and post it on Google Classroom. By no means is this an e-textbook, but it is a means to deliver and receive course material digitally.
    Like others that have commented on your OER presentation, I feel like there was a focus on e-books, especially for surveys. It seems like there is a disparity between the popularity of e-textbooks and e-books. I find myself still buying books for general reading; however, I am keen to access my course material via e-textbooks or online articles. And with this said, I still print many articles off so that I can mark them up with good ol’ fashioned pencil and highlighter, but will use my go-to e-textbook features alongside reading the physical version: search, bookmarking, and text to speech.
    Thanks again,

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  15. Erica Hargreave

    Great job, Tara, Raafa, and Kathleen. This was incredibly thorough and was presented in a way that was easy to follow.

    As you do your fine tuning for your final submission, you may wish to:

    – proofread it >> there is the odd missing letter, spelling errors, and inconsistencies in capitals on headers
    – make sure you have given participants the information required to give informed answers to the questions you are asking >> this was an issue for me on the ‘Improvements’ page and ‘The Market of Digital Textbooks’ page.

    While by no means necessary, as we are exploring market potential here, I’d love to learn more about funding options for digital textbooks, especially of OERs.

    Also this may just be me being extra sensitive, as I am exhausted, but at the beginning the references to ‘including students with disabilities’ rubbed me the wrong way, as though ‘weren’t ebooks amazing to be inclusive of’ or as though students with disabilities was a hard group to reach. I am a student with disabilities, both lifelong and more recent, and students with disabilities are not less than. In fact some of humankind’s greatest minds were considered to have ‘learning disabilities’, including Charles Darwin and Einstein. Those of us with ‘disabilities’ are not less than or ‘dis’, rather we are differently abled – that gives us different challenges and strengths. As educators we need to start thinking inclusively from the get go, rather than as an after thought. I include myself in that statement, as I know that I too need to be better at that.

    Thanks for the great OER this week. I am looking forward to exploring and experimenting with some of the tools you shared.

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    1. Tamara

      Hi Erica,

      I fully agree with you and I don’t think you are being extra sensitive. One of my nieces has a disability and each time I have a discussion with the teacher, I always try to come from the point of view of Universal Design, thinking that it’s most likely not just my daughter struggling with this concept/ task and there may be other students who would benefit from the same type of support. By thinking this way, we are (as you said Erica) making our classes INCLUSIVE from the start.

      Especially as educators (and as a society), we need to start looking at these types of emerging technologies as being created accessible through their Universal Design- which according to Wikipedia is, “is the design of buildings, products or environments to make them accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability or other factors.” So we need to think of these tools as not being created for people with disabilities, but for people of ALL abilities.

      ~Tamara J

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      1. Erica Hargreave

        Thanks Tamara. You articulated that so beautifully.

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  16. Tamara

    Sorry I am late to say this, but great work week #8!

    I was impressed at the amount of information you presented regarding digital textbooks and appreciated how you presented that information to us in different ways- through videos, infographics, and text. I personally preferred the great infographics; they really helped summarize the key features about digital textbooks without overwhelming the reader. Overall, the site was engaging and I found myself coming back to it often throughout the week.

    I also loved the discussion/ collaboration that your week’s activities encouraged between classmates! I was able to gain some valuable insight from our colleagues’ feedback alone (for ex: now thanks to peer recommendations and tips, I am going to try to create my own digital textbook), so thank you for creating such a great space for that to happen in 🙂

    Personally, I don’t like digital textbooks as I would rather have a large textbook that I can physically highlight in and write all over; but for teaching, I prefer digital texts. My sole reason for this preference as an educator is ACCESSIBILITY- (as I feel students don’t need an extra excuse to be on their devices). I want to be able to authentically assess my students’ understanding of class material- not how well they are able to decode/ comprehend the questions or text. If students are able to access digital texts to have words read aloud/ defined/ searched/ elaborated on- it levels the playing field for all students-and as a teacher I don’t need to know which students accessed/ used certain features or help.

    The emergence of digital textbooks can also help to eliminate the stigma associated with mild (or moderate) learning disabilities. Previously, everyone would know who those students were in the class, as their accommodations were obvious and, at times, cumbersome. Now through the use of digital texts, students who have mild reading/ sight/ or hearing disabilities are amongst those in the regular class, using the accessibility features of their texts to help in their own unique ways without raising awareness to their need or support.

    Having taught grade six for over 8 years, many of my students were not reading at grade level, yet our texts are written at a minimum of a grade 6 reading level. This is where my passion for technology emerged, trying to make the resources and texts more accessible to my students in any way I can!

    Wikipedia defines Accessibility as the “design of products or environments for access by all users” and Universal Design, as making “products or environments… accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability or other factors”. These two terms are why I think Digital Textbooks are so important in today’s society as their Universal Design enables EVERY user to participate and access the content needed.

    Thanks again for such an informative and collaborative week!

    ~Tamara J

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