iPad textbooks march forward

A California pilot study is going to give students iPads with e-textbooks for algebra.

Students with iPads will have instant access to more than 400 videos from teaching experts walking them through the concepts and assignments, rather than having to rely on the teacher's explanation in class. There is also a homework coach and animated instructions on how to complete assignments. Sipe said the videos allow teachers to focus on individual instruction rather than walking the entire class through the same examples again and again. The iPad also allows students to take audio or text notes and do assignments right on the device itself, giving the teacher the ability to track their progress in real time.

This has the chance to fundamentally change the way teachers work. But there will have to be a major adjustment in student behavior. You’ve got a good 20 minute introduction to a lesson, recorded by somebody who has been picked as a good presenter. Then, in principle, the live teacher interacts with students like a laboratory. But you’ve got to get the students to actually watch the video and do the prep work first!

Of course, since iPad textbooks can be apps, you can integrate quizzes right into the material, and other more or less invasive measures…