Article in Technology / Software
Apple's recent elephantine entry into the textbook world is another evolutionary step in technology's reach into our lives. Let's hope that like Apple's other innovations, it aligns technology to the well-being of children and families.

Apple's iBook 2 is the new elephant in the room for textbook publishing.

Many textbooks are already digitized at a basic level. There are general pluses to digital textbooks, including the saving of paper, interactive engageability, customizeabiliy to individual students and those with special gifts or needs, and the orthopedic relief to youngsters who now often schlepp 20 lb book bags.

But as a child-psychiatrist and technophile, I see vast potential benefits to a sensible coordinated system of digital textbooks. There are two overriding advantages to systematically and carefully integrating textbooks into the richness of the digital universe.

First, a broader collaboration of stakeholders: Textbooks, as do books in general, traditionally have created civilized communities of their readers across time and space. Now, on a day-to-day level, real time collaboration and sharing among librarians, teachers, students, parents, therapists, and primary sources could enlarge and enrich learning communities well-beyond the school walls, and do so not only through text, but also by audio and video. The modern classroom teacher, who personally knows the student and his or her learning and social experience, is the natural leader of such a student-centered community and must be given needed training, resources and support.

Secondly, the collaborative tradition could only be amplified by deep and broad well-managed accessibility to other resources through hyperlinking, also individualized, carefully edited, and filtered. Educational videogames can become integrated teaching tools, such as those of Houston's Archimage's Playnormous. Additionally, hyperlinked sources should include older texts, for example as digitized by Google 's visionary Book Library Project. Additionally, new worthwhile material related to the iBook 2 project must be well-annotated and organized and accessible to future generations, rather than disappear into the vast noise of cyberspace.

BTW, concerns about the distractions of other iPad content are not trivial. The device is engaging and magical. Teachers, parents, and software developers must bring technical solutions to maximize the benefits of media consumption while minimizing their power to distract (for example, Chicago's MyDigitalFamily's just introduced ZillyDilly for the iPad, which offers curated content while minimizing distraction.)

Finally, let's remember that the basic skills necessary to integrate and deliver great educational content do not need reinventing. These are already developed and well-practiced by the talented and expert folks who bring us our current wonderful textbooks. Working with these folks is the visionary power of Apple's iBook 2 project.


Aligning technology with healthy family life and child development to Shut Down Permanently on December 31, 2017

If you want to save a copy of your content, you must do so before the website shuts down on December 31, 2017. We will NOT be able to provide any assistance after the website shuts down. We are available at only until the shutdown to provide more information and assistance.

It was a noble 10-year experiment, but it turns out that the writers with the best content are the least adept at the tech required to publish under our model, which in hindsight, makes perfect sense. If you are dedicating your life to becoming an expert in your specialty, you don’t have a lot of time left for figuring out publishing tech.

It hasn't helped that we have entered an age of unprecedented polarization and antagonism which doesn't foster demand for a website dedicated to the respectful engagement of diverse views.

Thank you, everyone!

Eitan Schwarz, MD FAACAP DLFAPA Identity Verified

About the Author 

Board-certified general and child and adolescent psychiatry. Education: Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and trained at the U of Chcgo, now Northwe

Recent Content by Eitan Schwarz, MD FAACAP DLFAPA

"HER" -- Robots as Women in Recent Movies

The time is soon, place here, and regular people are tethered to technology...It is a world where the virtual realities we ourselves create bewitch us into epidemics of addictive perversions and obsessions. Her can make it nicely as a cute basic romantic comedy: Sensuous virgin (Samantha, voice...

How Talking and Listening Are Crucial for Psychiatry...

These ideas are worth bearing in mind as parity for mental health coverage and major healthcare reform take us into uncharted waters. Our brains give us language, and used expertly it can be an awesome neuroscience tool. In fact, the profession that trained me -- modern psychiatry -- was...

Robots and Language: What is "I"?

ROBOTS AND LANGUAGE -- WHAT IS HUMAN? We now build very special personal machines that speak with us uniquely, so how we interact with them tells a lot about us as individuals, cultures, and civilizations. The stuff of Pinocchio is here. Are we confusing ourselves about what it basically...

Part 2: Report From The Field

Continuing a chronicle of a doctor's journey, will include children's services, discussion and personal remarks.

Robots as Women

The time is soon, place here, and regular people are tethered to technology "alone together", as Sherry Turkle quips. It is a world where the interactive virtual realities we ourselves create can bewitch us into epidemics of addictive perversions and obsessions.

Neuroscience and Psychiatry: The Roots of Humane Mental Health Care

I have a mind, therefore I am: psychiatry bridges neuroscience, language, medicine, consciousness and daily life. Where is it heading?

Latest Ebooks