Another innocuous tweet last night (below) led to another lengthy, and truly excellent, exchange on Twitter around the merits, format, value, and attitude of eBooks.
On the back of my tweet about my latest book project, The Really Useful #EdTechBook, I tweeted that I am disappointed at how little is written or published about, or by, technical or academic self-publishers:
I have commented, negatively, on the accessibility of supposed academic eBook platforms before, so it is a welcome relief to read the JISC post today – Accessible ebook platforms – seven honest dealers (and a few non responders) – whose findings support my claims – until recently many of them were not accessible, or even should be called ‘eBooks’.
My complaint is, and has been (and may continue to be), that they are not eBooks in the sense of an ePub or MOBI file, i.e. scalable, accessible, etc. Academic eBooks are files, often PDFs, loaded to a proprietary piece of software that controls access, printing, searching, etc. In this software you can view the whole book page inside their ‘skin’ which enables searches, thumbnails, chapter links, etc. When viewed on a desktop this is clunky, at best, but workable. Continue reading
“The mere presence of a cell or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy, according to a new Virginia Tech study that finds your attention is divided even if you’re not actively looking at your phone.”
The article ‘Your smartphone could be turning you into a lousy friend – even when you’re not using it‘ is as much about the social impact of the always-on connections we have through our mobile devices as it is about how we manage them.
“For many, digital distraction involves the “constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” the authors write.”
What is Kindle Matchbook? Announced by Amazon last year, Matchbook is (from LifeHacker) “that will allow owners of hard copies of books to purchase extremely cheap ebook versions for their Kindle collection.” If you bought a paper copy from Amazon you could be eligible to buy or download an eBook edition.
From the link above (make sure you’re logged into your Amazon account) you can click the ‘Find your Kindle MatchBook titles’ button and the website will look through your purchase history and see if any match. Naturally, none of my purchases do – eligibility in MatchBook is determined by the publisher and whether they include their title in the scheme. There is also discrepancy as to whether this is available in the UK or not yet.
This is the question … what is a book in the digital age? I still read (and buy) paper copies, but have also bought and read digital / eBooks. I like both formats for different reasons.
The article ‘What is a book in the digital age?‘ covers the questions very well, highlighting how we perceive the differences between paper and electronic, the pros and cons of the two formats, and the advances being made in the ‘richer reading experience’. Continue reading
From my previous post about designing Blackboard courses for a mobile-first delivery, and the discussion I’ve been having with Peter Reed and friends on his blog, this paper came at a good time to further the question “do we need this?” – AJET: “Student Perceptions of Blackboard Mobile Learn and iPads”
Well, do we? The paper concludes in saying that the students “did not demand mobile learning and were in fact mostly neutral about the experience” and that “they did not perceive a notable improvement to their learning” (Kinesh et al, 2012). While the students did not report an opposition to the inclusion of the mobile App, they also are not reported to have had any prior experience of it, a preference to mobile learning that was not limited to Blackboard Mobile Learn, nor they opinions (positive or negative) to mobile learning in general. Continue reading
Welcome to a final few thoughts on and about 2013: what did I do, what did I read, what did I achieve, what did I miss, what did I not do … you get the picture. Well …
- After thinking, planning, and talking about it for nearly two years I finally got round to planning, writing, and publishing my eBook on QR Codes in Education. (May 2013).
- Several years in the making I finally completed my CMALT portfolio and submitted it and gained my CMALT accreditation (November 2013).
- In October I re-read my QR Codes in Education eBook and realised it would read better with a different structure to the contents and I took the opportunity to make it available as a printed book too (November 2013). Working with the CreateSpace website I restructured the materials, redesigned the cover and worked on the 2nd edition of the book (also updating the eBook too to match).
- Worked closely with colleagues in Leicester on aspects of mobile learning, online marking and feedback, support, course reconfiguration, and roles & responsibilities.
- Presented a brown bag lunch seminar on “Improving the Student Experience Through Blackboard in the College of Social Science”
- I am proud to have helped launch the East Midlands Learning Technology SIG including Twitter, blog, LinkedIn group, Google+ group, etc.
Most popular posts (by month): Continue reading
The advance of mobile devices into our everyday lives continues, and doesn’t look to falter any time soon (if at all).
As educators and facilitators we talk and plan and design and write about implementing and using these devices (phones, tablets, etc.) as either part of the learning process or as an ancillary device, something additional, to where we want the learning to take place. But are we taking the students’ needs and hopes and desires into account when we do this, or do we think we already know and plough ahead regardless?
As I said in the ‘Improving Learning with Mobile Technology’ eBook “If children are spending more and more time connected online, then it stands to reason that some of this time will be in class. In your class? What are you doing about it?”. This is why the article in Research in Learning Technology – ‘‘I don’t think I would be where I am right now’’. Pupil perspectives on using mobile devices for learning – is relevant and important … it highlights the students’ perspective in a comparison bet ween two academies where mobile devices are encouraged in one and banned in the other.
So many of us are connected and/or using our connected devices regularly. Some might say we / you are addicted to them and suffer withdrawal symptoms when we forget them or leave home home without them.
So then, how do we stay focused in this “age of distraction”? Jane Genovese writes on the Learning Fundamentals website on ‘how to focus in the age of distraction‘ and produced this excellent mind-map of Leo Babauta’s eBook “Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction”.
Genovese highlights her analysis of the book and the changes she’s making to sharpen her focus, including: Continue reading
The goal of the JISC Report into the ‘Challenge of eBooks in Academic Institutions’ project is to help “orientate senior institutional managers and to support institutions in the effective adoption and deployment of eBooks and eBook technology. As a consequence the project helps to support the wider ambition to enable improvements in the quality and impact of teaching, learning and research and meet rising staff and student expectations.”
“At present, for academic institutions, the ebook paradigm largely remains one of PDF format ebooks consumed using PCs. This is now dissolving. The ebook landscape is changing rapidly, driven to a large extent by developments in ebook readers and tablet devices which have enabled better ways to consume econtent.”