Slader already supports the newly released iBooks offered by the big three K-12 publishers: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson.
Because the homework and review exercises are almost exactly the same as those in the print editions, the step-by-step answers written by Slader’s users align with the iTextbooks released this Thursday.
Unfortunately, the math textbook content — and the experience delivered to the student — is also largely the same. It’s akin to reading a PDF copy of the printed textbooks that exist in classrooms today. The interactive features promised are virtually nonexistent. Beyond the usual iPad features (highlighting and in-page definitions), there’s nothing new included in the publishers’ math iBooks.
Provided with the opportunity and tools to create a ground-breaking learning experience for students, the established textbook companies took an easy route. Given first dibs at a new, revolutionary platform, they chose to push the same stale content. We were hoping for more multimedia and more web tie-ins, and we certainly don’t like allotting 1GB per book. (That’s a lot of Bieber we no longer have room for on our 16GB iPads.) The innovative approach to digital curriculum promised is close, but it doesn’t exist quite yet.
The most exciting piece of Apple’s announcement this past week revolves around the ability for anyone to author a textbook; Apple has provided the tools and distribution network to develop content that far surpasses the current offerings. New authors could easily exceed the publishers’ low standards. Is that enough to shake up the textbook market?
But back to our specialty: the homework. There isn’t likely to be a shift in the way homework is assigned by teachers using iBooks. Students will still get the same exercise sets for homework, still write them in ruled notebook paper, still struggle when they get home and haven’t mastered the concepts, and still need the same immediate and specific help Slader provides.