I like my iPad but a major hurdle to the wide spread adoption of tablets in schools is the availability of e-textbooks.  I know there are some cool text books apps out there and I’m very curious to see what Inkling,CourseSmart,  and even Amazon are going to do in this space.  But nice apps are useless without content: when I search for Algebra I in your course catalog I want three or four choices, just like I have with text books made out of dead trees.


Which of the major text book companies is going to be first to pony up and offer their entire catalog as e-textbooks?  Why haven’t any of them done this yet?


Hey I know, maybe it’s so complex a process that it’s too expensive to do.  We’re not just talking about the text of a book, we also want pictures, videos and other interactive content after all.  Well I set out to try a little experiment, how hard would it be for me, using consumer grade technology, to create a chapter of an e-textbook that included text, chapters, photos, and video?  Here you go:



As it turns out it’s not difficult at all, I worked for about a half an hour and produced a passable chapter from an e-textbook.  Actually the hardest part was taking out the footnotes from Wikipedia.  I wouldn’t want to sell it or anything, I don’t like how the photos wrapped and I didn’t get the captions to work well, but here you can even download it and see for yourself what you think.


So why aren’t the major publishers creating e-textbooks?  What do you think?  Let us know in the comments.

Hans Mundahl

Hans Mundahl

Director of Technology Integration at New Hampton School

I've been an educator since 1995 when I first stepped into the classroom as a Fulbright exchange teacher in the former East Germany. Since then I've been an Outward Bound instructor, a teacher, tutor, admission officer, house head, evening administrator on duty and I ran the experiential learning program at New Hampton School for almost ten years. Today I focus on technology integration centered on values-driven technology integration and 1:1 iPad initiatives. Recently I had the chance to help New Hampton School become an Apple Distinguished School and I co-authored the iBook Teaching with the iPad (available on the iBookstore). Now I'm the founder of a scrappy little company (one employee!) called Hans Mundahl and Associates, inc a digital strategy consultancy for schools and non-profits. My free time is usually spent with my family but I'm also passionate about the outdoors and protecting the environment. I'm on the Board of Trustees at the Newfound Lake Region Association and when I have the chance I'm an active hiker, climber, and paddler. My writing appears on EdSocialMedia.com and I speak frequently at technology and education conferences.