The youngest students in many contemporary school systems are fully in control of digital devices. There will come a time when textbooks will be as obsolete as the telephone. We are in the midst of the transition but pretty much unaware and un-phased by its passage.
Among the things being sorted out during this quiet revolution are the pricing, accessibility, and preferred platform. Textbooks on Android devices should take that prize.
Textbooks on Android devices run on the Android operating system: software, core applications, and middleware specifically developed for mobile devices – smart phones, tablets, and readers. Driven by Google, the system has been embraced by HTC, Acer, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and LG.
Techopedia explains the popularity as resulting from:
• Cutting-edge Google technology
• Extremely user-friendly
• Works on smartphones as well as tablets
• Huge inventory of applications
The Android System works on-line or off. Textbooks on ‘Droids are rented and may be checked in and out like a library. Students navigate from a Table of Contents, highlight text, take notes, and share with classmates. They can copy, paste, and print from pagination that replicates the book. And, they can read from a phone as well as an e-Reader.
Instructors monitor student work and performance, administer tests and quizzes, and display illustrations including charts and videos. Apps let teachers communicate with students and parents, monitor student journals, draw and sketch, and save to the cloud. There are so many apps the decisions can be overwhelming.
Younger students like anything handheld and digital. They enjoy the multimedia gamesmanship and the social interchange with other students. High school students can be more demanding with regard to personal relevance of apps, but they are generally unanimous in preferring the virtual to the actual media.
College students have different interests, and chief among them is cost. There has been some push back that apparently favors the paper textbook. But, this also reflects the resistance to pricing. For example, while many texts are considerably cheaper in digital format, there are still a stockpile of used or slightly dated texts available at lower cost. This apparent push back reflects the fact that we are in a market transition. (This transition includes sorting our copyright issues and a shift in operations among the major textbook publishers.)
The internet is full of choices for students. But, students should benefit from some thought and self-control when shopping.
1. You can already browse dictionaries, thesauruses, and encyclopedias.
2. There are an array of free writing assists in style formats for research assignments, and some universities have apps for their specific university expectations.
3. You can often explore Texts for core courses further and with updates it may in the long run be a cheaper form.
4. Your major may require some key resources that you will want to retain in your personal library. And, while you can store them in your digital library, you may prefer to shelve one or two, as well.
5. There are so many apps you can clutter your device that you do not really need, however attractive they seem.
Student discipline involves deciding what you need in hand as much as what you can afford. For example, if you plan to travel, apps that make your work more accessible and less of a travel burden make more sense for that specific use. If you are faced with a specific research project, you may prefer to work with digital and physical texts in the college library. And, not all apps are equal. When looking for study aids in chemistry, math, statistics, and other sciences, you need to shop diligently for the app that best serves your needs. And it may not be there, despite what Apple says.
Textbooks on Android already have a push and pull momentum in the market. Schools and instructors are recommending them by type and by title. There’s not a lot of romance of curling up with a textbook, so utility comes first.
Author: Joe Whyte