Cover to Cover #404B: Technology and Textbooks

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Mike and Mike talk about some of the iPad reactions coming in so far, and Mike M give his thoughts and predictions on where he sees potential leaps in textbook enhancements and classroom lecture platforms going because of developments like the iPad and other tablet devices.

The Library: New to the studio this week: Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay; Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine; Ares Express by Ian McDonald; Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris; Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann; Well of Sorrows by Benjamin Tate; Honeymoon of the Dead by Tate Hallaway; Dragonfly Falling by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Feedback Wanted: What do you think about submitting writing related questions to "Cover to Cover"? What do you think about having authors read chapters as part of the show? Call in or email in with your thoughts!

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

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Link: Dragon's Fire, Wizard's Flame by Michael R. Mennenga


  1. Hi Guys,

    I work in eLearning at an Australian University and the IPAD is not the device for Higher Education.

    Student needs are more work related than lifestyle related. In tech terms they a sophisticated users with higher end requirements.

    A lot of what they need to do is offline, and requires a keyboard and an ergonomic set up - three areas where the IPAD is not, by default, that great.

    Virtually without exception (in Australia) students already have, or have ready access to, a laptop or desktop, therefore there is less need for an additional device such as an IPAD.

    Connectivity is already available through whatever device they are already carrying via the university's wireless network, therefore there is no particular reason for an IPAD beyond any other wireless device.

    The IPADs heavy reliance on wireless/3G is a problem in Australia due to low caps and high costs compared with the U.S. (particularly with all the little bandwidth sucking apps that come bundled with many App Store apps).

    Many courses require students to use specific software. Depending on your faculty, the student site license will be for either the PC version or the Mac version. Only occasionally will both be provided, (if you are running Linux you're on you're own). Unless software providers start bundling (free) fully functional IPAD versions with their software, IPAD users will be left high and dry.

    Hopefully the IPAD comes with a greater variety of "out of the box" software than the IPhone. I don't think it's reasonable for an organisation to expect students to navigate the mire of third party apps required to make the device as "work ready" as a laptop.
    I use the IPhone as an example because as pretty as it is (and I have one), it's a hassle to use compared to a business device such the Blackberry).

    Being a good eReader is not really enough. Students want (according to recent research) to have multiple books open at once, take notes, work on the final document and jump online when they need to, all at once (this is why the Kindle DX is dead).
    What's the best device for this? The device they already have.
    If students feel the need for a new portable device they can get a (more useful) netbook or cheap laptop (a laptop we would have salivated over 3 years ago) for about the same price as an IPAD.

    Could a student use an IPAD as their primary work device?
    If they were prepared for the extra hassle and inconvenience, yes. But unless you're a fan boy, why bother?

    Basically, it's not the best fit for this particular job.

    Love the show.