iBooks 2.0: Reinventing Textbooks? at MobilePortland

Thanks to Corey Pressmen, Steve Burt, Tim Lauer, and Thor Pritchard for sharing their insights at this event last night. I took away some great tidbits:

McGraw Hill and Exprima Media will soon release an anatomy ePub document, two years in the making.

The current disruption about mobile devices and textbooks is an extension of the Internet as a disruptive moment for the electronic distribution of instructional materials.

We are currently in a phase of multiple platforms vying for industry longevity and/or dominance. No wonder it feels so varied, shifting, and confusing.

http://inkling.com is one new publisher of enhanced electronic instructional materials.

A tension exists between instructor curation of electronic materials for a course and publisher curation of electronic materials for publication and state adoption.

One college is using http://www.epubbud.com as a free, simple, multi-platform ePub authoring environment. This stands in marked contrast to the proprietary, closed, iAuthor application recently released by Apple.

A number of education staff in the audience expressed that it would be impossible to require college students to all purchase from one platform. This makes me think of colleges that did exactly that with Mac laptops many years ago. I’m not sure how many of these programs are still around.

What does this all mean for secondary teachers? At this point in time, I imagine that only the very earliest adopters will be creating their own materials in iAuthor, whereas most will wait to see how this industry shakes out. If I were to recommend a solution to a school, I would encourage one to stick with web-based instructor curation for the time being, as it is the most multi-platform, media-rich, multi-user, linkable resource currently available. iAuthor would make sense if the school has a 1:1 iPad program, but one would need to be careful to maintain one’s own pedagogical style within the highly structured authoring environment of iAuthor.


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