Here is an item that I found on the Textbook Author's Association listserv that I thought might interest some Lrnassters who like to stay abreast of current technology and its implications for learning assistance.  Collegially,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

[log in to unmask]        "In times of change, learners inherit the
Frank L Christ                   earth, while the learned find themselves
Emeritus, CSULB              beautifully equipped to deal with a
Visiting Scholar, U of AZ    world that no longer exists".. Eric Hoffer
WI Web site:
From:   Paul Tippens[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
Sent:   Thursday, December 03, 1998 7:53 AM
To:     [log in to unmask]
Subject:        Publishing Trends

 Source:  NY Times
Title: Textbooks Shifting From Printed Page to Screen
DATE:   December 1, 1998

At Virginia Commonwealth University, sociology students use a "textbook"
that exists only online. It sends them to related Web sites, has recorded
lectures that they can rewind and offers discussion areas that supplement
and enliven their classroom discussions.

At Kent State University next spring, a few dozen students will receive
devices called electronic books, loaded with course texts. They will read
the works directly from what look like latter-day Etch-a-Sketches. And in
Texas, the State Board of Education is planning a pilot program To
distribute electronic books and laptop computers next fall to thousands of
high school students for use in place of textbooks.

With futurologists having mistakenly predicted the end of the printed page
for several decades now, no one is preparing a eulogy for the traditional
book. Television did not doom radio, video did not kill film, and
electronic publishing will not likely end print. But with two electronic
book devices on the market and an exponential increase in reference and
scholarly material available online, many experts say that the shift from
page to screen, once a Jetson-like fantasy, is now approaching reality. And
there are those, like Jeff Rothenberg, a senior computer scientist at the
Rand Corporation, who say they can see the day when bound books printed on
paper will be viewed "more as objets d'art than things we use all the time."

Valerie Raymond, an editor at McGraw-Hill, said: "I am a book person and I
never believed I would want to give up the books I carry around with me.
But I'm starting to think of myself more as a content provider. I look at
my 11-year-old son's school backpack, which I worry is ruining his spine,
and I can see advantages to electronic books. We know we are standing on
the edge of a precipice."

The notion that a shift is imminent comes because of several parallel
developments. First, electronic book technology is advancing rapidly, with
better screen resolution and longer battery life. The cost of such devices
is dropping; two kinds of electronic books are on the market for $300 to
$500 each, and another, for $1,000 to $1,500, is due early next year. All
of them allow downloading of whole books from the Internet into their
memories, permitting students to carry many books in one lightweight
device. The devices allow word searches and have built-in dictionary
functions. Second, the amount of material available for downloading is now
enormous. And third, a generation is coming of age for whom absorbing
digital information seems easy and natural. Even if not many young people
seem ready to curl up with a hand-held screen for reading a novel, the idea
of reading textbook or reference material from screens is increasingly common.
"Ten years ago, anything electronic was exotic," said Paul Saffo, a
director at the Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, Calif. "Today,
computers are an integral part of higher education. You can see where
electronic books would fit into the shape of academic life. I see this as a
key time for this technology, probably still one of interesting failures
but ones we can really learn from."

One important change in the last few years is the growing use of the
Internet for reference works. Texts for physicians, lawyers and other
professionals are being put online, where they can be updated with greater
ease and at lower cost than with printed texts. In addition, a growing
number of textbooks have online supplements for graphics, pictures and,
increasingly, video and audio supplements. Some think it will not be long
before the entire books are transferred into digital format. John Wiley &
Sons, which publishes many texts for professionals in technical fields,
says that in the coming months two of its standard reference works-the
Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, and the Wiley Encyclopedia
of Electrical and Electronics Engineering-will be available online.
Like most other reference works on the Internet, those books will be
accessible for a fee. That is
also the case with an Internet publishing site called Online Originals,
which publishes original works of fiction that can be bought online for $7
each. There is also a small trend toward placing texts on the Web that are
free, with the publishers relying on contributions or advertising for
revenue. The Gutenberg Project, for example, has placed thousands of
classics online. And offers, at no charge, a new encyclopedia
for emergency-room physicians that was written by 400 doctors. Members of
the military in far-flung places and a missionary in Haiti are among those
who have told the organizers, Dr. Scott Plantz, a research director at the
Chicago Medical School, and Dr. Jonathan N. Adler of Massachusetts General
Hospital in Boston, that they found the site helpful. The site has been
financed primarily by Dr. Plantz and Dr. Adler, who hope that advertising
by drug companies will ultimately allow the site to pay for itself. "We
have up to 400,000 hits a day," Dr. Plantz said. "A big advantage is that
we will be able to update it constantly and embed in it new pictures and
even video clips. Our book is two-and-a-half times bigger than any textbook
in the field ever published. And a typical textbook is $200."

The market for educational texts was more than $5.5 billion last year, and
the Internet has only expanded that market, which has grown more than 8
percent so far in 1998. And if textbooks really do move further, from the
printed page into the digital realm, the potential for profits is likely to
be greater still, because that change could reduce the need for warehouses,
trucks, returns and, even more significant, the used-book market. Lynn D.
Nelson, a sociology professor at Virginia Commonwealth who wrote an online
textbook that he now uses, said he found much more "active learning" from
his online book than from customary books.  "I have two classes right now,
and they are both using the Web intensively," Professor Nelson said. "One
class has 300 students, and the other has 40. In the large class, the
students each write 12 essays and pose questions to each other on the Web.
They interact with each other every week, and they can do it on their own
time. The level of their activity is inconceivable in a normal class. I see
a big difference from before this technology was introduced."

At Kent State, Roger Fidler, director of the information design laboratory,
said he planned to test
two kinds of electronic books in classes next spring and fall. The
hand-held devices, which weigh 3 to 5 pounds, can store 10 to 15 books
downloaded from the Internet. He plans to give half of each class the new
devices and the other half the usual textbooks.

In Japan, Fidler says, a company is developing a kind of A.T.M. for train
stations, which will distribute digital magazines that a customer could
download onto a cassette and then install on a hand-held device for
reading. That could prove to be a model for magazines and newspapers in the
United States, he said. Ira H. Fuchs, vice president for computing and
information technology
at Princeton University, said the key for the future of electronic books
was increased screen clarity and lower prices.

"People say they love bookstores, but they are buying from," he
said. "Give them convenience, and the next thing you know you will be
telling your grandchild about this thing you once had called a book."

       PAUL E. TIPPENS   ID: [log in to unmask]
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