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.
A couple of months ago I had one of those ‘ah ha’ moments I should have had 25+ years ago at school. I have never been good at taking notes. Never.
At school I was always behind and struggling because I couldn’t keep up with my teachers and their dictated notes. I wasn’t alone with this, but it was still hard. At University it was the same, but it felt worse because everyone else wrote and kept amazing notes from lectures, demonstrations, field-trips, etc. I survived and gained my degree because I had generous friends who helped me when I needed it.
Now, with nearly 18+ years since graduation I’ve finally realised why I am still making rubbish notes in meetings, conferences, etc. (apart from the obvious reason that I suck at it). It’s the wrong medium for me. It’s not that my handwriting is so awful I can’t read it (which, unfortunately, it is) it’s that I don’t respond to those kinds of notes. Therefore I shouldn’t be trying to take notes like that.
I should be sketching, or rather taking ‘sketchnotes’. Continue reading
If it’s November, then it’s time for the annual EduBlog Awards. And this year it’s their 10th anniversary.
So, who or what has made a mark in 2013? Here’re my thoughts, why not write your own post and make your own nomination?
Follow the nominations and awards on Twitter #eddies13 hashtag and make your own nominations count.
If, like me, you like to watch your films or listen to music on more than one device (in more than one location) then you’ll have had to copy/digitise/rip it, which is not always legal.
But it can be done. For your CDs you need to just put them in your computer and iTunes or other music library software will offer to rip it for you. Connect your digital audio device and copy the file across and you can listen to your CD in the car, gym, bus, or at work or walking the dog. It’s slightly more difficult for your DVDs but there is software that can rip it into an MP4/M4V or MOV or WMV file which will play on your laptop, tablet, etc. and you can watch on the train, bus, plane, or in the shed or bath (wherever you want).
But what about your extensive library of books you’ve been collecting. If, like me, you also want to be able to read these electronically then it’s a lot tougher to digitise. So why can’t you get the electronic copy at the same time as the physical one? You can do this with your DVDs and with some CDs now (some DVDs come with the Ultraviolet digital copy), so why not books? Continue reading
“In the future, e-books will act just like social networks. We’ll use them on our phones, share and comment right inside e-reader apps, and publishers will use our data to help them make better marketing decisions. If you think digital reading is exploding now, just wait.”
So says Michael Grothaus in his article for the FastCompany website: “E-Books Could Be The Future Of Social Media”.
“In the future, e-books are going to explode beyond just containing stories, becoming niche social networks where we discuss our favorite passages with other readers and even authors and publishers buy our data to make more informed decisions. So hold on tight, book lovers. Reading as we know it will soon change, forever.” Continue reading
“Instant Prezi for Education How-to” is written by Domi Sinclair (@Lilly_Stardust to you and me) and build on her experience and background as a Learning Technologist at University College London.
Designed as a short ‘instant’ book (I read the MOBI formatted file for Kindle, using the Kindle App) it is well structured and covers the basic details of Prezi for anyone new to the tool, and is sufficiently detailed for experienced Prezi users to find something new and useful too.
“This book is for people in education who are bored of delivering the same old presentations to their students (or perhaps it is the students who are bored!). This is for people who would like to increase student engagement by using more dynamic tools. This is for people who have not used Prezi before and may not be technically minded, but are willing to learn and utilise this online presentation aid.” Continue reading
The question as to when (or if) paper textbooks will be replaced with digital editions keeps cropping up, and I was asked this again on twitter today by @SteljesEdn: “Are textbooks coming to the end of their life? what do you think”: read the discussion we had on the link.
So, will they? I don’t think so, not any time soon at any rate. The digital editions of textbooks currently available are little more than a PDF of the printed version, and for publishers that literally provide a PDF and call it an eBook .. shame on you! An eBook doesn’t have pages as the text is defined by the eReader device or software and can be altered by the individual: you cannot change a PDF text size except by zooming in/out.
In order for digital textbooks to really surpass the paper editions they need to offer more, and by more I mean embrace the technology and have embedded video, links, question & answers, and even link (in real-time?) readers from all over the world. Continue reading