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Topics: Book
Education applications
Using an eBook in the educational setting is no different than using a printed material. Electronic text can be books, documents, articles, reading lists, reference material, anything that is usually printed on paper. EBook files can be distributed to students through a variety of methods including internet and discs. Instructors could compile student reading material from a variety of sources such for student’s access on either handheld devices or computers. The use of handheld devices adds a level of mobility and access to reference that was heretofore impossible, which makes this format ideal for distance education students, or students who cannot otherwise use paper based materials. The eBooks and reader can act as a personal reference library for students, allowing constant access to resources. Currently numerous online libraries and bookstores distribute freely or sell eBooks which range from copyright free texts that include much of classic literature, science and philosophy to current best sellers, reference books, and instruction manuals. Instructors can add notes, advance organizers, comments and questions to the texts before converting them to eBook format. As the material is in electronic format, students can copy and paste information to use in reports, to take notes, or for analysis. Some readers allow annotations, enabling a student to take notes within the book, allow bookmarking of locations within the text and have interactive dictionaries for just-in-time learning. Instructors could distribute annotation files for texts that make adaptations for special needs students, such as highlighting and providing graphic organizers, or the annotation file could contain specific questions for students to answer and return.
EBooks allow instructors to carry with them and have at their desktop or handheld computers a professional library, with texts, sites, articles, and writings. Instructors could carry all their course syllabi, along with course packets, and possibly textbooks and reference materials, available at an instants notice anywhere. Educators can easily create and carry with them their own professional portfolio or could convert a student’s work into an eBook for portability, then evaluate or edit it by making comments using the annotation features and send it back to the students with the annotation file for review. An instructor can read a book, highlighting important sections, adding comments, book marking important locations and then have the student read that book, with the instructors annotation file providing the student with an advance organizer including comments and directions.
The future
The electronic book is by no means finished in its development. Hopefully in the future there will come a time when one content format is finally agreed upon. Currently companies are working on adding audio, video, and text-to-speech components for eBook software. Online bookstores are expanding their holdings of eBooks, with some of the college bookstore organizations including eBook forms of texts. As handheld computing devices continue to improve in their abilities and continue expand their market, it is expected that eBooks will expand with them.

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