How will the iPad change your education? Take that answer and multiply it by ten for how it will be changing for young adults in middle school right now.

Are there problems? Yes. Don’t worry–competiting models are on the way to encourage sharpening, and as the saying goes: “let the apps fill the gaps.”

Take a look at this video about CourseSmart, a textbook provider that boasts over ten thousand titles currently and costing students half the price of a new textbook. (Oh, and already almost half a million trees have been saved!)

Can you spot weaknesses in this service? I’m sure you can. Most complaints that I can think of might come back to expectations and norms that have been instilled in students. We all have favorite notation types and reading styles that we had to spend years perfecting just to get our GPA back up to where our parents would stop questioning us why we ‘chose a major in Communications anyway’.

But we’re adaptable. And when a student realizes that the money they save in one semester’s worth of textbooks pays for the iPad, the choice becomes clearer.

But check out this great video for Text 2.0 from German based DFKI, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and think about how Text 2.0 will enable iPad scholarship to greater levels:

Here are some things to look forward to that I predict will be coming ’round the corner for iPad-ing your education:

Voice Recognition: will allow you to speak your liner notes at places that you touch in your eBook’s margins. This ‘note’ will be flagged with an icon that when you touch again later will present you with your note in audio playback or text.

Shared Liner Notes: sign on to your friends in class ‘liner notes’. Does Lupe have really good responses to text? Switch over to see the notes she has made in her eBook. The Professor’s notes might be really helpful too!

Critique Catalogue: eBooks will have countering arguments and responses created by academic scholars that can appear at flagged points. Want a Marxist critique to that Econ. 200 class? Want a feminist response to your history book’s chapter? Its there.

Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying: “I don’t even use textbooks in my coursework! My Professors assign ‘readers’!” In many fields, volumes of textbooks become outdated in a few years. iPad-ing your education will be ready for the world of ‘college readers’ which are compiled articles and excerpts specific to your professor’s curricula. 

Many students already find a lot of course reading online, and providers like CourseSmart will have to figure that into the equation. The limitations of standard textbooks include a ‘shelf life’ of new developments that outdate them, editorial narrowness, and chapters that are inapplicable/unnecessary to courseload among others. Look for University specific providers that will compile professors’ readers for them in one handy online library. 

And now for the downside: your teachers will be able to know if you’ve read your assigned text. Expect that eye-tracking smart text will record what you’ve read and even if you’ve skim read sections. Gulp.

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