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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

2010 Horizon report: Australia New Zealand edition: e-books

This volume examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative enquiry within higher education in Australia and New Zealand over a five-year time period. The report identifies electronic books and mobile devices as the near term horizon technologies with the likelihood of entry into the mainstream for institutions within the next 12 months.


Some of its points

  • reading electronic books will be more than simply viewing a digital version of a printed volume - there will be interactive content and dynamic media
  • e-books and e-readers will be offered on mobile devices
  • students will be able to buy or rent whole books or just chapters
  • the e-content will update often
  • students will be able to share their annotations and commentary
  • institutions must commit to supporting tools
  • pedagogical practice must change to take the new tools into account

Technologies to Watch

  • On the near term horizon - within the next 12 months: e-books and mobiles
  • second adoption horizon - 2 to 3 years out - augmented reality and open content
  • far term horizon - 4 to 5 years - gesture-based computing and visual data analysis.

As the technology underlying electronic readers has improved and more titles have become available, electronic books are quickly reaching the point where their advantages over the printed book are compelling to almost any observer. Already firmly established in the public sector, electronic books are gaining a foothold on campuses as well, where they serve as a cost-effective and portable alternative to heavy textbooks and supplemental reading selections. The availability of an increasing range of portable electronic reading devices, as well as the many book-reader applications designed for mobiles, has made it easy to carry a wide selection of wirelessly updated reading material. New, highly interactive publications demonstrate that quite apart from their convenience, electronic books have the potential to transform the way we interact with reading material of all kinds, from popular titles to scholarly works

 The Overview is worth reading for expansion of the following:

  • e-books have now reached the point of mainstream adoption in the consumer sector
  • to what extent can content be separated from the device?
  • what makes e-books potentially a transformative technology is the new kind of reading experiences they make possible - audio visual and social elements
  • standards for e-publications are still in the development phase: there is huge change happening in the publishing industry
  • tertiary education campuses have been slow to adopt, but many of the earlier constraints are fast vanishing, although availability of e-books in Australia & NZ is still an issue

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