Our paper on our ebook evaluation did not get accepted to ICER2012, but we’re going to turn it into a tech report and make it more generally available (rather than just a link here) soon (and then I’ll give it its own blog post). But our bottomline isn’t too different from the one described below: Students don’t use ebooks differently than regular books, and that’s a problem. How do they learn to use the affordances of the new medium? I had dinner with Sebastian Thrun Wednesday night (which deserves get its own blog post soon!), and he suggested that the problem was calling them “books” at all — it suggests the wrong kinds of interaction, it connects to an incorrect model. Maybe he’s right. He suggested that “video games” was better, but I think that name has its own baggage with our in-service teachers. What could we call these new media, such that students would interact with them differently than traditional paper-based books
The report is based on a survey conducted this spring of students and faculty at five universities where e-textbook projects were coordinated by Internet2, the high-speed networking group. Students praised the e-books for helping them save money but didn’t like reading on electronic devices. Many of them complained that the e-book platform was hard to navigate. In addition, most professors who responded said that they didn’t use the e-books’ collaborative features, which include the ability to share notes or create links within the text.