Category Archives: Textbooks

VitalSource and Clever collaborate to improve Bookshelf—platform for K-12 course materials

BookshelfVitalSource, Ingram Content Group’s educational technology division, and Clever have announced that they are collaborating to reinforce security and convenience for K-12 users of VitalSource’s digital content delivery platform, Bookshelf®.

BookShelf allows students to access course materials on iPad, Android and Kindle devices, online or offline. Highlights include ability to move between pages and sections including linked Table of Contents; highlight text with one click in any color; add notes to highlighted passages; subscribe to classmates’ and instructors’ highlights and notes; scale images and text to any size; and customize page display.

According to the press release, VitalSource is incorporating technology from Clever to create “seamless and secure data integration between Bookshelf and a K-12 school’s or district’s student information system, all with single sign-on access.”

The rest of the press release below:

Continue reading VitalSource and Clever collaborate to improve Bookshelf—platform for K-12 course materials

Some thoughts about Amazon selling ebooks to NYC schools

Textbooks-Vs-eTextbooks

The news is now old, but a lot of what we learned last week about Amazon “winning” a $30 million contract to sell e-textbooks to New York City schools remains vague.  While I applaud the idea of ebooks being widely available to students in schools everywhere (not just in NYC, and not just in the United States), some questions beg to be answered:

 

  • Why are these books mostly referred to as e-textbooks (or digital textbooks)? Is that all the schools will be buying? What about other types of books?
  • Are educators still insisting that the best (and only) way to learn is from pre-packaged textbooks?
  • Since these ebooks will be fully owned by the schools (just like print textbooks are now), does this mean that the 1.1 million kids in NYC public schools will be able to access them instantly and simultaneously? What restrictions, if any, will be necessary?
  • What publishers and brands are behind these e-textbooks, if any? Who decides?
  • Where does this leave libraries? School libraries in particular. What role do they/will they play in the process? No article I came across last week mentioned libraries and ways in which they may take part in all this.
  • Where does this leave other ebook vendors trying to enter (or already engaging with) schools and libraries with alternative (perhaps even more effective) business models?
  • If children can read the ebooks on all portable devices, as the articles are claiming, who will be providing those portable devices? And how?  If no child is to be left behind, then someone somehow must be supplying the hardware as well, since many of these children own no portable device.
  • And how will the technological aspects be handled? How will these e-textbooks be “housed?” Who will provide the technology to keep the machine working?

As noted in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “schools are an attractive target for tech companies because of the opportunity to modernize what many consider to be outdated and inefficient classrooms.” I have no doubt that deals such as this will modernize what is outdated, but, ironically,  what is less than “modern” about those same deals is that books in digital format are essentially being purchased (and handled) the same was as print books. And there is a whole lot of ‘control’ in place. Given what digital books can do for education and literacy — given their true potential — the deal doesn’t appear to be all that groundbreaking beneath the surface.

But I look forward to learning more before making further assumptions.

RedShelf raises Series A funding, plans to expand to 350 bookstores in 2015

eTextbook Leader RedShelf Raises $2M in Series A Funding With Support From Higher Ed Heavyweight

National Association of College Stores and previous investors participate in Series A as RedShelf demonstrates rapid market traction

CHICAGO, IL–(Jan 27, 2015) – RedShelf, a Chicago-based startup spurring digital adoption in higher education and one of the fastest-growing distributors of eTextbooks in the U.S., has raised $2M in Series A funding from the National Association of College Stores (NACS) and previous investors. The company considered a variety of funding sources, including VC, but ultimately determined that NACS along with its current investors would be the best fit. RedShelf will use the funding to launch new features and products, improve upon the existing platform, and support new relationships with both publishers and educational institutions. Continue reading RedShelf raises Series A funding, plans to expand to 350 bookstores in 2015

Study released on impact of digital courseware on student learning

A new report from SRI Education evaluates Gates Foundation’s investments in digital courseware over the last five years.  Executive Summary available.  Abstract below.  Report offers lessons learned, gaps in knowledge base data, and nine recommendations for future courseware investments.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success initiative seeks to understand what is required for technology applications to produce positive student impacts at scale. SRI analyzed the features of 137 different courses from 12 major postsecondary courseware-related projects and performed a quantitative meta-analysis of student outcomes to estimate the impact of digital courseware on student learning. Follow-up analyses examined the design features, conditions, and practices associated with differences in student outcomes. A conceptual framework relating evaluation approaches to stages of learning technology investment is provided.

Follett’s new Destiny Resource Manager will manage textbooks, equipment, and more

MCHENRY, Ill., Dec. 3, 2014 –Follett this week introduced Destiny Resource Manager, a new, universal system that enables K-12 districts to track and manage all school assets. Destiny Resource Manager represents an evolution from Follett Destiny Asset Manager as it will monitor barcoded textbooks in addition to traditional assets such as laptops, tablets and equipment. Continue reading Follett’s new Destiny Resource Manager will manage textbooks, equipment, and more

eTextbooks have high satisfaction rate says RedShelf survey

RedShelf is a leading supplier of digital learning materials, dedicated to providing paramount technology to the learning community in order to accelerate the transition to digital. In collaboration with strategic partners, publishers, institutional bookstores, and other content creators. RedShelf streamlines the discovery and distribution of eBooks and other digital course materials for today’s students. Utilizing a seamless browser-based eReader solution along with a powerful eCommerce engine, RedShelf provides easily accessible and cost-effective learning materials to learners everywhere. Continue reading eTextbooks have high satisfaction rate says RedShelf survey

Liverpool University Press partners with BiblioBoard for eTextbook

BiblioBoard will host the innovative new textbook being created jointly by Liverpool University Press, the University of Liverpool Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the University Library. This project, funded by Jisc, seeks to address the question: can a university working as an e-textbook creator and publisher better serve students and promote a more sustainable information environment in higher education? Continue reading Liverpool University Press partners with BiblioBoard for eTextbook

Ingram Content Group expands international reach and offers new features to VitalSource Bookshelf

Ingram has had a number of announcements in the last couple of weeks about new international initiatives as well as new features and enhancements to the VitalSource Bookshelf platform.  Check the Ingram site for the full press releases.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Ingram Content Group  expanded its distribution reach to Russia and the former Soviet Union with the launch of its third Global Connect alliance with EE Media, the largest media publishing and distribution group in the country.
  • Vital Source E-Textbook Platform Expands To The Philippines Through Work with C&E Publishing
  • Vital Source Technologies, Inc. announced the international expansion of its VitalSource Bookshelf® platform with a new digital store in the U.K. The store offers tens of thousands of e-textbooks from leaders in academic publishing
  • VitalSource Bookshelf® e-textbook platform now includes software client support in 25 languages, new and improved functionality and performance enhancements, the addition of international resellers, and worldwide support for integration with institutional systems like Blackboard Learnâ„¢, Moodle, and others.   Continue reading Ingram Content Group expands international reach and offers new features to VitalSource Bookshelf

School library eBook market must reads

School Library Journal has published two recent articles about the eBook market in schools.  The first is the “School Ebook Market Directory.”  This piece features a snapshot of 19 eBook vendors for school libraries.  Some of these include ABC-CLIO, Capstone, Rosen, OverDrive, Gale, StarWalk Kids, and Tumblebooks.   The second article is “E. It’s Complicated.  How Two Schools are Riding the Transition to Ebooks.”  SLJ talked to academic experts and visited librarians, teachers, and students at two high-performing Illinois high schools: New Trier Township High School in Winnetka and Northfield, and Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.  The article is in a Q/A format and discusses topics such as why go digital, will ebooks help kids learn more, who owns and pays for devices, what are the hurdles to adoption, and many more.  Both are worth a read.

Ingram’s VitalSource Bookshelf platform available in the Middle East and North Africa

From an Ingram Press Release:

NASHVILLE, TN – Vital Source Technologies, Inc., an Ingram Content Group company, today announced that Panworld Education, a leading e-learning solution provider, has selected Ingram’s VitalSource Bookshelf® platform to power e-textbook solutions for their customers throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions. Continue reading Ingram’s VitalSource Bookshelf platform available in the Middle East and North Africa