Publisher Touts 20-Point Boost in Student Performance with Textbooks for iPad

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With Apple announcing its iBooks Textbooks initiative yesterday, the company has been pushing its view that the iPad can help revolutionize education by keeping students engaged with unprecedented levels of interactivity.




In an attempt to assess the effect of iPad textbooks on student performance, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) performed a year-long pilot program using an iPad version of the company's Algebra 1 textbook for middle school students. The study, conducted at Amelia Earhart Middle School in Riverside, California, saw 78% students taking the course using the iPad textbook rank as "Proficient" or "Advanced" in the subject, compared to only 58% of students using the traditional print textbook.
The first assessment of the pilot-- Riverside's district Algebra benchmark -took place during the second trimester of the 2010-2011 year. Students using HMH Fuse scored an average of 10 percentage points higher than their peers. The app's impact was even more pronounced after the California Standards Test in spring 2011, on which HMH Fuse students scored approximately 20 percent higher than their textbook-using peers.
Educators noted increased motivation on the part of students using the iPad app, as well as the personal level of interactivity, as factors contributing to student success. Students also found the iPad experience more natural and put them more in charge of their own learning, factors that increased student interest and engagement.

One important consideration is that the iPad textbook offered by HMH was not an official iBooks Textbook as introduced by Apple yesterday. The publisher's Fuse program has offered iPad versions of its Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry textbooks as apps in the App Store since last year. The apps are currently offered as free sample downloads with the full textbooks available via in-app purchase at $59.99 each, considerably higher than Apple's maximum price of $14.99 for titles in the iBooks Textbooks program.

HMH was the only one of Apple's three main partner publishers to not release any iBooks Textbooks at yesterday's event, with Pearson and McGraw-Hill each releasing a small handful of titles to kick off the program. It seems that HMH may now be working to transition its Fuse program to iBooks Textbooks, accounting for the later launch of its titles.

Article Link: Publisher Touts 20-Point Boost in Student Performance with Textbooks for iPad
 

LimeiBook86

macrumors 604
May 4, 2002
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Technology like this (and textbooks like these) would have definetly helped me to stay focused and be a better a student while in high school. For me a thick old textbook on the desk, with a list of chapters or pages to read marked on the chalkboard, always seemed like such a daunting task.

But now become more interactive and interesting, and of course more visually stimulating to your mind. I would have loved to have these! :)
 

slrandall

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2011
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It makes sense, especially in a math class. The power of visualization is a prized trait of good mathematicians, and this helps people without that ability stay on par with those who do.

However, I think that this will be equally effective in social sciences, where videos and other multimedia presentations can help give more information and excite students more than plain text can.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
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Educators noted increased motivation on the part of students using the iPad app, as well as the personal level of interactivity, as factors contributing to student success.

My goodness! Makes you wonder how all the intellectual achievements from the beginning of time ever happend without an iPad app. :D

Seriously, it's a little disingenuous to say a short, limited pilot is much proof of anything. Obviously kids are going to be more engaged with something new but ultimately, as always, learning comes down to quality content and human (be it peer, teacher, or TA) interaction with the students. The iPad is not going to save our schools. At some point normally unmotivated kids will become as bored with iPad books as paper books once the novelty wears off.
 

ejisfun

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Jan 7, 2011
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I always dislike studies like this because I feel bad for the kids that get stuck in the "stupid" group.
 

overcast

macrumors 6502a
Jun 27, 2007
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Technology like this (and textbooks like these) would have definetly helped me to stay focused and be a better a student while in high school. For me a thick old textbook on the desk, with a list of chapters or pages to read marked on the chalkboard, always seemed like such a daunting task.

But now become more interactive and interesting, and of course more visually stimulating to your mind. I would have loved to have these! :)
Until this becomes old, boring and the norm.
 

jaison13

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2003
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Until this becomes old, boring and the norm.
it will never be as boring or dry as a hardbound book. so new norm will always be better than old norm. i played with one of the sample books. for a first attempt it was pretty great! you can highlight, and those highlights are stored in a notepad. great for studying.
 

Aeio

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2011
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One size doesn't fit all

Although these data are really encouraging, I hope that educators realize that "one size doesn't fit all". Just like with standardized testing, individual attention must be paid to students or we will only educate the "test takers" and "iPad users".
 

DESNOS

macrumors 6502
Aug 24, 2011
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LOL, it probably won't help.
I disagree. I think the "Attention Deficit" problem will go away for many, less-driven individuals who just can't stay interested in a book. How many people read physical books these days outside of school? Serious book readers tend to go with a kindle or an iPad or some other form of digital device. Schools are many years behind the curve. I really could have used this when I was in school, of that I am certain.
 

writingdevil

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Feb 11, 2010
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My goodness! Makes you wonder how all the intellectual achievements from the beginning of time ever happend without an iPad app. :D

Seriously, it's a little disingenuous to say a short, limited pilot is much proof of anything. Obviously kids are going to be more engaged with something new but ultimately, as always, learning comes down to quality content and human (be it peer, teacher, or TA) interaction with the students. The iPad is not going to save our schools. At some point normally unmotivated kids will become as bored with iPad books as paper books once the novelty wears off.
I'd have to disagree with almost all you say. You may not be involved in education, have kids or know teens and college students who never tire of pushing buttons and watching things happen. Most of my college friends who are good students, have a life outside of school and geek stuff, and still love using interactive technology. Playing some physics based games got one anti-physics/science guy so into it he changed majors.
If you think novelty wearing off of well designed games may be true if you don't use gaming as part of your life or if you think it's all just a waste of time.
I also have two research PhD's at my University who study sampling and using those somewhat similar clusters to suggest further research or not.
On the other hand, you may be a statistics wizard, have kids who hate learning with tech, in which case, I totally understand your attitude. I for one, welcome the technology and especially in areas I don't find interesting.
 
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scott911

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Why does apple control pricing max? They don't for apps, do they? And there's as much variability in books as there is in apps...
 

nemaslov

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
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This is a game changer. Think about constant updates and or corrections. No longer will you have books that are years old. Also the interactive back and forth and if you don't understand a passage or a section you can click on through to real footnote links. It is not simply a digital version of old printed textbooks but rather a gateway to help you learn and possibly excite you more about the class topic. This is just the beginning and yes it will take years. iPads will come down in price and soon students will actually save the thousands of dollars they already pay for college textbooks.

No more excuses for losing assignments...
 

samcraig

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Jun 22, 2009
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LOL, it probably won't help.
I disagree. I think the "Attention Deficit" problem will go away for many, less-driven individuals who just can't stay interested in a book. How many people read physical books these days outside of school? Serious book readers tend to go with a kindle or an iPad or some other form of digital device. Schools are many years behind the curve. I really could have used this when I was in school, of that I am certain.
No - my point/question was definitely leaning towards the fact that I believe ADD rates will increase/continue to increase.

And heaven forbid someone is learning "exclusively" on an iPad and then is faced with a book without pictures and/or any interactivity. I can pretty much guarantee they will put the iPad down.

I am all for progress and technology. And I think there are advantages to using tools. But I think on some levels it increases distraction. Yes - these books can be engaging. But at the same time - there's something to be said to using and nurturing the imagination (ie - not having everything illustrated, modeled, interactive, etc).
 

DESNOS

macrumors 6502
Aug 24, 2011
374
1
No - my point/question was definitely leaning towards the fact that I believe ADD rates will increase/continue to increase.

And heaven forbid someone is learning "exclusively" on an iPad and then is faced with a book without pictures and/or any interactivity. I can pretty much guarantee they will put the iPad down.

I am all for progress and technology. And I think there are advantages to using tools. But I think on some levels it increases distraction. Yes - these books can be engaging. But at the same time - there's something to be said to using and nurturing the imagination (ie - not having everything illustrated, modeled, interactive, etc).
Indeed. If someone is faced with a physical book that's required for school, they will definitely put the iPad down... :rolleyes: On the other hand, if that book is offered in a digital form, they'll likely pick the iPad back up again.
 

george-brooks

macrumors 6502a
Oct 31, 2011
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I would like to see some independent studies done on this. I would like to believe that such an impressive performance increase is indeed because of the iPad, but I just can't trust a study done by a publisher.
 

JHankwitz

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
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I always dislike studies like this because I feel bad for the kids that get stuck in the "stupid" group.
Hiding or disguising ones achievements or lack thereof will remove any possible ambition, drive, or sense of accomplishment. My greatest achievements were initiated by poor performance feedback.
 

samcraig

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Jun 22, 2009
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Indeed. If someone is faced with a book that's required for school, they will definitely put the iPad down... :rolleyes: On the other hand, if that book is offered in a digital form, they'll likely pick the iPad back up again.
Missed my point entirely.
 

FloatingBones

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2006
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One important consideration is that the iPad textbook offered by HMH was not an official iBooks Textbook as introduced by Apple yesterday. The publisher's Fuse program has offered iPad versions of its Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry textbooks as apps in the App Store since last year. The apps are currently offered as free sample downloads with the full textbooks available via in-app purchase at $59.99 each, considerably higher than Apple's maximum price of $14.99 for titles in the iBooks Textbooks program.
It's important to note that an iBook != a course. iTunes U is the framework for a course and it includes the ability to include iPad apps as part of the course materials.

Wolfram has iPad course assistant apps for Physics, Math, Music Theory, Astronomy, and Materials Science. These are all priced in the $2 to $3 range. I suspect those apps would be a far better fit to supplement an e-book in the sciences than a the old app-books from traditional publishers.

All of the publishers will try to get as big a slice as they can. On the other end, the school systems will work to get the best value that they can. These things will sort themselves out in time.

I do wish that Wolfram would pull the trigger on their CDF Player for iPad. They announced that it was coming soon for iPad (and Android) over three months ago (I referenced that announcement in a MR discussion back on October 8, 2011). Their Computable Document Format Player -- essentially a play-only version of Mathematica -- is wonderful tech. It allows Mathematica owners to author demonstrations that can be run on any computer.

I am all for progress and technology. And I think there are advantages to using tools. But I think on some levels it increases distraction. Yes - these books can be engaging. But at the same time - there's something to be said to using and nurturing the imagination (ie - not having everything illustrated, modeled, interactive, etc).
Hear, hear. I am a huge fan of visualization, but learning based on simply the written ideas is a different beast. I'm sure you saw that the interactive items shrink in portrait mode. It might be a cool feature for iBooks 2 to have a preference option to turn off all of the shiny objects. :D
 
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Tones2

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Jan 8, 2009
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I would like to see some independent studies done on this. I would like to believe that such an impressive performance increase is indeed because of the iPad, but I just can't trust a study done by a publisher.
I agree - One study done in one school for one class subject for one year by the publisher does not make a trend. :rolleyes: As always, the fanboys here need to calm down. :)

Tony