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Title: O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference Marriott Marquis, New York, NY February 23, 2010

The Future of Digital Textbooks
  • OReilly Tools of Change for Publishing
    Conference Marriott Marquis, New York,
    NY February 23, 2010

  • John Warren, Marketing Director,
    Publications, RAND Corporation (moderator)
  • Eric Frank, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing
    Officer, Flat World Knowledge
  • Neeru Khosla, Co-Founder and Executive Director,
    CK-12 Foundation
  • Frank Lyman, Executive Vice President, CourseSmart
  • Nicholas Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Agile

  • The Rise of Digital Textbooks
  • Flat World Knowledge
  • CK-12 Foundation
  • Course Smart
  • Agile Mind
  • Additional Business Models to Consider
  • Peering into the E-Textbook Future

Forces are Converging to Increase Use of Digital
Textbooks and Online Learning
  • Growing movement by students, parents, and
    professors against high price and weight of
    traditional textbooks
  • Retirement of baby-boom teachers and full
    emergence of digital nativesyounger teachers who
    have always grown up among computers and
    integrate them seamlessly into their
    livesfueling use of digital textbooks and other
    digital content
  • A Kindle in Every Backpack policy paper
    recommends public funding for student e-book
  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
    launched an initiative in May 2009 to provide
    schools with free, open-source digital textbooks
    for high school students
  • President Obama announced an initiative to invest
    in creating online community college courses for
    job training programs, improvements in basic
    skills education, and free online education

Digital Content is Driving an Evolution in
Learning and Communication
  • Lines are becoming blurred between online
    learning and digital textbooks, and between
    producers and consumers of content
  • Estimates for total digital revenue in the higher
    education market are less than 100 million, with
    e-book sales contributing 5 percent digital
    revenue in K12 has been lower due to focus on
    core reading and mathematics standards,
    standardized testing, and budget crisis
  • Interactive learning on the Internet offers a mix
    of free and fee-based models, for public good and
    private profit
  • Trade-offs exist between open access and
    publisher controlled
  • Issues of access among different socioeconomic
    groups for digital textbooksand e-book
    devicesmay create a new digital divide
  • Self-assessment is one of the key factors that
    can be automated in digital texts and help
    students, professors, and authors

Trends Today and on the Horizon Are Driving
Technology Adoptions
  • The Horizon Report 2010, published recently by
    the New Media Consortium and the Educause
    Learning Initiative, identified four trends as
    key drivers of technology adoptions for 2010
    through 2015
  • Abundance Volume of resources and relationships
    accessible on the Internet changes the role of
    educators in sense-making, coaching, and
    validating the credibility of information
  • Just in Time Learning People want and expect to
    be able to work, learn, and study at any time and
    wherever they want to do so
  • In the Cloud Technologies are increasingly
    cloud-based and IT support is becoming increasing
  • Collaboration Students output is increasingly
    collaborative, and there is more cross-campus
    collaboration between departments.
  • While this report focused on higher-education,
    these trends apply equally to K12 and
    professional learners

Horizon Report Identified Six Emerging
Technologies Impacting Teaching and Learning
  • Near term horizon (within next 12 months)
  • Mobile computing An increasing number of faculty
    and students are using mobile devices for
    collaboration and communication
  • Open Content Movement began over a decade ago
    reaching tipping point
  • Second adoption horizon (2-3 years out)
  • Electronic books Pilot programs are informing
    future devices
  • Simple Augmented Reality Overlays of digital
    information onto the physical world as well as
    code-generated 3-D models
  • Far Term Horizon (4-5 years out)
  • Gesture-Based Computing Devices controlled by
    natural movements will go from games to teaching
    and learning
  • Visual Data Analysis Blending statistics, data
    mining, and visualization to understand complex
    concepts and relationships

  • It is the authors job to try to dislocate older
    media into postures that permit attention to the
    new. To this end, the artist must ever play and
    experiment with new means of arranging
    experience, even though the majority of his sic
    audience may prefer to remain fixed in their old
    perceptual attitudes. Marshall McLuhan,
    Understanding Media The Extensions of Man, 1964

Flat World Knowledge Brings Open Content to
Higher Education
Flat World Knowledge Offers an Innovative Model
to Provide Digital Textbooks
  • Flat World Knowledge, a start-up company backed
    by over 11 million in venture capital, offers
    expert-authored and peer-reviewed textbooks,
    openly licensed, available free online and
    affordably offline
  • Business model is to provide content for textbook
    adoption that is as good as or better than
    current textbook, offer content for free,
    encourage purchase of add-on and convenience
  • Students can buy a PDF download of book or
    chapter, 30 black and white printed version,
    60 color print version
  • PDF download includes print-your-own capability
  • Creative Commons (open source) license and tools
    to modify and remix encourage new derivatives and
  • Professors can create custom books, edit at
    sentence level, deliver unique books and
    print-on-demand versions to students

Thus Far, Flat Worlds Model Seems to Be Working
  • Adoption has increased from 1,000 students at 30
    schools in Spring 2009 to 40,000 students at 470
    schools in Fall 2009
  • Every chapter, every book, includes digital study
    guides such as flashcards, practice quizzes,
    audio guides
  • Approximately 65 percent of students make some
    kind of purchase, most 30
  • Incentives for authors include faster time to
    publication, ease of creating and updating texts,
    20 percent royalty on any sale, royalties more
    consistent over time
  • Going forward, Flat World Knowledge plans to
    integrate more assessment
  • Performance data will help professors teach and
    aggregated, anonymous performance data will help
    authors develop better texts

CK-12 Foundation Aims to Make Digital Textbooks
More Accessible for K12
CK-12 Flexbooks Aim to Make Digital Textbooks
Affordable and Adaptable
  • Using an open-content, web-based, collaborative
    model termed the FlexBook, CK-12 offers tools
    to create, distribute, and customize high quality
    educational content
  • CK-12 provides access to free texts that are
    aligned to state standards with developmentally
    correct content
  • Educators can create customized digital text from
    existing texts, chapters, web pages under a
    Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license
  • Encourages collaborative learning via a community
    where authors, teachers, and students create,
    access, share, rate, recommend, and publish
  • Texts provided currently through a combination of
    author donations, licensing partnerships,
    incentives for community-based authorship, and
    university collaborations

CK-12 Has Been Successful in Meeting State
Adoption Standards
  • Seven Flexbooks were submitted by CK-12 to the
    California Learning Resource Network for state
    textbook adoption in math and science, they all
    met the states academic content standards
  • The seven CK-12 texts on average met 95 of the
  • Four met 100 of the standards
  • None of the CK-12 texts scored below 82
  • In comparison, a textbook from another major
    publisher scored below 50, and the average by
    all non-CK-12 texts was only 68
  • Slow adoption cycle means most of these texts
    unlikely to be utilized by schools until Fall 2010

CourseSmart Provides Digital Editions of the Most
Popular College Textbooks
CourseSmart Provides Affordable College Textbooks
in Digital Format
  • CourseSmart is a for-profit electronic textbook
    company founded in 2007 as a joint venture by
    five of the largest higher-education textbook
    publishersPearson, Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill
    Education, John Wiley Sons Inc., and Bedford
    Freeman Worth
  • Also distributes electronic textbooks for other
  • Offers more than 9,200 digital titles for over
    1,000 courses across most academic disciplines
  • Benefits include lower prices for students (50
    less than printed textbooks) as well as
    convenience for professors and students
  • Students chose between an online version
    available on any computer, download (partnering
    with VitalSource), and iPhone/iPod touch app
  • Students access to the book ends after a set
    period, usually the semester end, and students
    can not resell the textbook

Benefits of CourseSmart Texts Go Beyond the
Printed Textbook
  • Allows instructors to review and compare
    textbooks as well as other course materials
    faster, cheaper, and with less environmental
    impact than print exam copies
  • Instant delivery allows students to wait until
    materials are actually needed for homework
    assignments and test preparation
  • Features include hyperlinked table of contents
    search copy and paste ability for students to
    highlight text or add notes to texts
  • Electronic pages correspond exactly to pages in
    the paper textbookallowing students and
    professors to stay in synch whether using print
    or digital texts
  • Some CourseSmart texts also include multimedia
    features, such as YouTube-style videos

Agile Mind Improves Student Achievement and
Supports Exemplary Teaching Practices
Agile Mind Focuses on Excellence, Equity, and
Sustainable School Capacity
  • Founded in 2001, Agile Mind uses technology to
    enhance equity and high achievement for
    adolescents in math and science
  • The Charles A. Dana Center at the University of
    Texas at Austin helps the company develop
    research-based resources for a broad range of
    students and teachersparticularly those in
    underserved schools
  • Productivity tools, performance reports, and
    professional development services help foster
    exemplary, sustainable teaching practices
  • Participating students are showing large
    achievement gains
  • Agile Mind has served 2 million students and
    almost 20,000 educators in the past 5 years

High-Tech and High-Touch Tools and Strategies
Deliver on the Promise of Blended Learning
  • Internet-delivered resources leverage the power
    of face-to-face seminars, mentoring, and other
    high-quality supports for educators
  • Internet-delivered services enable educators to
    have data they can use at a glance in real time
    to assess the performance of individual students
    and groupsrelieving them of the burden of
    mechanical work
  • Students receive detailed data about their work
    in real time to enable them to responsibility for
    the success of their learning
  • Low cost model enables company to support
    aggressive R D agenda, enables district and
    state entities to fund even in down economy

A Wide Variety of Business Models Are Emerging
  • The best practices have to do with embracing
    innovation and being willing to take risks, and
    trying things that do not seem necessarily
    obviousto break the bonds between necessary
    profitability and any action. Michael Jon
    Jensen, Director of Publishing Technologies,
    National Academy Press, in Risky Business, Book
    Business, April 2008

Connexions Offers a New Model for Rapidly
Publishing Scholarly Content
  • Rice Universitys Connexions offers free,
    open-licensed educational materials in fields
    such as music, electrical engineering and
  • Presents scholarly content in modular, non-linear
  • Encourages sharing and collaboration
  • Reduces the time to publication
  • Offers an alternative to expensive college
  • Currently offers content in 27 different
    languages, including Chinese, Italian, Japanese,
    Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai
  • As of January 2010 offers 15,831 reusable modules
    in 977 collections (up from 6989 modules in 393
    collections in October 26, 2008)

Aplia is Developing Interactive Textbook Content
with Auto-Graded Evaluation
  • Aplia (see www.aplia.com) is a for-profit company
    which offers an interactive learning solution to
    increase student effort and engagement
  • Founded in 2000 by economist and Stanford
    professor Paul Romer
  • Products supporting college-level courses have
    been used by more than 800,000 students at over
    850 institutions
  • Subjects include accounting, business
    communication, developmental reading, economics,
    finance, and statistics
  • Interactive textbook content (note taking,
    highlighting) integrated with auto-graded
    questions in the same assignment
  • Currently developing assignable text with
    interactive, auto-graded questions built into the
    text itself

Safari Books Online is a Popular Resource for
Technical Professionals
  • Safari Books Online capitalizes on the need for
    just in time learning
  • Founded by OReilly Media, Inc. and Pearson
    Technology Group in July 2001 to provide online
    content to IT, programming, and design
  • Offers depth and breadth of technical content and
    is an essential resource in technical fields and
    among other professionals seeking to improve
    technical skills
  • Rough Cuts allows authors to publish their
    manuscript drafts, providing customers with
    access to pre-published information reader
    feedback provides editors and authors with
    information to improve the manuscript
  • Short Cuts series of concise, digital-only
    reports sometimes become full-length titles when
    popularity and need are proven

Peering Into the E-Textbook Future
  • Thinking of the problem as how do we get a
    textbook onto an iPhone is framing it wrong. The
    challenge is how to make the best use of a medium
    that already shares three of our five
    sensessight, speech, and hearingalong with
    geolocation, color video, and a nearly always on
    Web connection, to accomplish the job of
    educating a student. Andrew Savikas, Vice
    President, Digital Initiatives, OReilly Media

Shopping List for the Ultimate Digital Textbook
  • Nonprofit group Project Tomorrow surveyed 281,000
    students from K12 in all 50 U.S. states offered
    ideas from students in grades 612 about desired
    features and functionality of digital textbooks
  • Ability to personalize book with highlights and
    notes (63)
  • Self-assessment (62) or self-paced tutorials
  • Links to real-time data like NASA and Google
    Earth (52)
  • Tap into an online tutor whenever necessary (53)
  • Link to PowerPoints of lectures supporting
    content (55)
  • Explore concepts through games (57) or
    animations and simulations (55)
  • Access videos (51), videoconferences (30),
    podcasts from subject experts (34)
  • Create own podcasts or videos to support learning

Features of the Future Electronic Textbook
  • Well read it on a device that combines facets of
    the cell phone, iPod, Kindle, Flip camera, and
    laptop, with a color touch screen and multimedia
  • The recently announced iPad comes fairly close
  • Placing the cursor next to a term brings up its
    definition clicking on a place-name deploys
    Google Earth
  • Maps, charts, and graphs, instead of static,
    depict the spread and flow over time while
    providing interactivity
  • Instead of a single picture for a particular
    item, site, or artifact, a gallery of photos is
    embedded in the e-text
  • Augmented reality shows models and concepts in
  • Users can instantly contribute comments, photos,
    and videos to the books gallery

The Future Electronic Textbook Facilitates
Collaboration and Continuous Learning
  • Links lead to further scholarship or modules
    about topics of particular interest to the reader
    while encouraging comments and collaboration
  • Creative Commons license allows modules to be
    remixed and repurposed
  • Open video allows easier editing and remixing of
    video, audio, and text
  • Social web features promote distributed, ongoing
    conversations between authors, scholars, and
  • Deep Web semantic search unlocks additional
    in-depth, professional content, returning results
    customized to the readers interest that are not
    cluttered by irrelevant content
  • These capabilities are possible now, in one way
    or another, but have yet to be harnessedhow do
    we get there?

Challenges for Digital Textbooks Remain
  • Open access business models are still largely
  • Free texts depend on success of bundling,
    print-on-demand print sales, enhanced products or
    services, and/or foundation, grant or endowment
  • Interactive, participatory learning spaces using
    assessments, gaming and simulations, online
    tutors, and virtual reality environments are
    expensive to produce and maintain
  • Difficult to change the mindsets of educators who
    claim not having the time (or technical skills)
    to contribute
  • Keeping content contextualized to local, regional
    requirements as well as global curriculum
  • Early student reviews of the Kindle DX in
    education setting not very positive

  • Technology has advanced much more than our
    understanding of its present and potential uses.
    Social research on scholarly practices is
    essential to inform the design of tools,
    services, and platforms. Design decisions made
    today will determine whether the Internet of
    tomorrow enables imaginative new forms of
    scholarship and learningor whether it simply
    reinforces todays tasks, practices, laws,
    business models, and incentives. Christine L.
    Borgman, Scholarship in the Digital Age
    Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet,

Forecasting the Future of Electronic Textbooks
  • Digital exam copies will become predominant,
    increasing speed of access, reducing
    manufacturing and shipping costs, reducing sales
    of exam copies to used book market, and enriching
    review process by improving the linking of texts
    to ancillary materials
  • As authors, publishers, and readers embrace new
    digital forms, greater opportunities for
    innovation and experimentation will ensue
  • Ability to repurpose digital content and spread
    costs over a range of projects allows authors,
    publishers, and producers to create content for
    niches and market segments infeasible with
    traditional publishing
  • As more books become scanned and digitized, links
    between digital documents will strengthen their
    usage and legitimization, making it ever easier
    to follow the bread crumbs of knowledge
  • Books will be cross-linked, clustered, indexed,
    annotated, remixed, and mashed-upcombined in
    new combinations with video, animations, and

Technical and Organizational Forces Must Be
Aligned for Successful Digital Publishing
  • The Gilbane Group, an analyst and consulting firm
    focused on content technologies, identified key
    characteristics for success in developing digital
  • An alignment of technical efforts with business
  • Commitment to growth in digital products
  • Realistic expectations and focus on metrics
  • Leadership with a vision for digital product
    development and commitment to see it through
  • Investment in content management technology,
    often including web content management and
    digital asset management as a hub for internal
    and external distribution
  • Systemic and large-scale digitization efforts,
    often including encoding content in XML

Developing a Plan for Sustainability Is Critical
  • Ithaka, a nonprofit group focused on the
    academic community, identified similar success
    characteristics for sustainability of digital
  • A dedicated and entrepreneurial leadership
    willing to test new ideas
  • Identification of a clear value proposition based
    on an understanding of users needs
  • Minimizing direct costs through outsourcing,
    partnerships, and other creative means
  • Development of diverse revenue sources and
    creative business models, including
    subscriptions, licensing to publishers and users,
    custom services, corporate sponsorships, author
    fees, endowments, and grants
  • Clear accountability and metrics for success

  • The only iron law is that digital age has so
    transformed the ways in which things are made and
    sold that there are no iron laws. Malcolm
    Gladwell, in Priced to Sell, review in the New
    Yorker of Chris Andersons Free The Future of a
    Radical Price

Bibliography (1)
  • Alexander, Bryan and Alan Levine, Web 2.0
    Storytelling Emergence of a New Genre, Educause
    Review, November/December 2008 (as of October 4,
    2009 http//net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM08
  • Agile Mind web site (as of January 26, 2010
  • Aplia web site (as of October 4, 2009
  • Borgman, Christine L., Scholarship in the Digital
    Age Information, Infrastructure, and the
    Internet, MIT Press, 2007 see also
  • Brown, Laura, Rebecca Griffiths, Matthew Rascoff,
    University Publishing in a Digital Age, Ithaka,
    July 26, 2007
  • Canon, Brevy, Early Reviews Kindle Great For
    Reading, But Stumbles on Textbook Duty,
    UVAToday, University of Virginia, September 23,
    2009 (as of October 4, 2009 http//www.virginia.e
  • CK-12 Foundation web site (as of January 26,
    2010 www.ck12.org)
  • Connexions web site (as of January 26, 2010

Bibliography (2)
  • CourseSmart web site (as of January 26, 2010
  • Flat World Knowledge web site (as of January 26,
    2010 www.flatworldknowledge.com)
  • Freedman, Thomas Z., A Kindle in Every Backpack
    A Proposal for eTextbooks in American Schools,
    The New Democratic Leadership Council, July 2009
    (as of October 1, 2009 www.dlc.org/documents/DLC_
  • Inger, Simon, and Tracy Gardner, How Readers
    Navigate to Scholarly Content Comparing the
    changing user behaviour between 2005 and 2008 and
    its impact on publisher web site design and
    function, Gartner Group, September 2008
  • Gladwell, Malcolm, Priced to Sell, (review of
    Free The Future of a Radical Price by Chris
    Anderson), The New Yorker, July 06, 2009 (as of
    January 26, 2010 http//www.newyorker.com/arts/cr
  • International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF),
    US Trade Wholesale Electronic Book Sales,
    August 2009 (as of October 1, 2009

Bibliography (3)
  • Jaschik, Scott, Change or Die? Inside Higher
    Ed, June 22, 2009 (as of October 1, 2009
  • Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., Stone, S.,
    The 2010 Horizon Report, New Media Consortium,
    Austin, Texas, 2010 (as of January 26, 2010
  • Johnson, Steven, How the E-Book Will Change the
    Way We Read and Write, Wall Street Journal,
    April 20, 2009 (as of October 1, 2009
  • Lewin, Tamar, In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are
    History, New York Times, August 9, 2009, (as of
    October 4, 2009 http//www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09
  • Maron, Nancy L., K. Kirby Smith and Matthew Loy,
    Sustaining Digital Resources An On-the-Ground
    View of Projects Today Ithaka Case Studies in
    Sustainability, Ithaka SR, July 2009 (as of
    October 1, 2009 www.jisc.ac.uk/contentalliance)
  • Nusca, Andrew and Jennifer Bergen, Amazon Kindle
    DX The solution to a problem that doesn't
    exist, The ToyBox, May 6th, 2009 (as of October
    4, 2009 http//blogs.zdnet.com/gadgetreviews/?p4

Bibliography (4)
  • Paxhia, Steve and Bill Trippe, Digital Platforms
    and Technologies for Publishers Implementations
    Beyond eBook, The Gilbane Group, May 29, 2009
    (as of October 1, 2009 http//gilbane.com/Researc
  • Project Tomorrow, Selected National Findings
    Speak Up 2008 for Students, Teachers, Parents and
    Administrators, March 24, 2009 (as of October 1,
    2009 www.tomorrow.org/speakup/pdfs/SU08_findings_
  • Safari Books Online web site (as of January 8,
    2010 www.safaribooksonline.com)
  • Snyder, Chris, Flat World Knowledge to Bring
    Free Textbooks into Blackboard, Wired, February
    4, 2009 (as of October 4, 2009
  • Talbot, David, Our Tube, Technology Review,
    September/October 2009
  • U.S. Department of Education, Evaluation of
    Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning A
    Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning
    Studies, May 2009, (as of October 1, 2009
  • Young, Jeffrey R., New E-Textbooks Do More Than
    Inform They'll Even Grade You, Chronicle of
    Higher Education, September 8, 2009 (as of
    October 1, 2009 http//chronicle.com/article/New-
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