Friday, May 6, 2011

eBooks, not what they're cracked up to be?

Enjoying the iPad
My Scottish father used to say of many things, "Son, it's not what it's cracked up to be". By which, of course he meant that in spite of the promise and hype surrounding the thing in question, that the reality is that it falls short of the promise.

As regular readers of this blog know, I have an interest in eBooks and an open mind about their potential. I have blogged on the topic here, here and here. I continue to do my own research on the topic that includes analysing many new apps as they become available and observing children using eBooks. At this stage I would conclude that:

  • There is as yet unrealised promise in the eBook.
  • No, it's not likely they will kill the paper book with the virtual book, or even 3D viewing of books on screen (see my post on 'Can the Book Survive?').
  • eBooks seem to be going the way of educational games when they first met computers.That is, taking the path of speedy entry to the market, low cost and high returns with little consideration of best practice in education.
  • At this stage, they have failed to capitalise on the opportunities that electronic delivery offers for new forms of literature and new ways to deliver traditional literature.
  • Even the best examples (e.g. 'Alice for the iPad') fall short in many areas (see my post here) and while great fun, don't offer any more than most traditional books in terms of literacy and learning and in many cases don't even match traditional books.
It seems that at least one other writer agrees with me. Read the interesting article 'New York's New School Takes on the Topic of E-Books' by Kathleen Sweeney HERE

Bec reading the 3D version of 'Violet and the Mysterious Black Dog' on the iPad

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