A new wave of e-textbooks is giving students more than just words and a few hotlinks on a digital page. Publishers over the last few years have been adding video, interactive maps and gamified quizzes designed to engage students more deeply in their learning.
“Think of it as making the textbook a hands-on activity,” says Andrew Miller, an ASCD faculty member and technology expert. “It’s making the content come to life in a way that meets the needs of different learners—auditory learners, visual leaders, text-based learners.”
The latest e-textbooks, developed by traditional publishers as well as new players like Discovery Education, are powered by a host of adaptive features, such as adjustable levels of difficulty and instant translation into other languages. And in some districts, teachers are using platforms like Apple’s iBooks to create their own digital course materials.