They are the latest innovation of the era of our new media, that thanks to the tablet pcs is now becoming suitable for the mass. What it comes down to is a digital book that is supported with audio or video material.
According to the video, enhanced ebooks are “the sort of thing that changes the way people learn”.
With the free 2007 initiative “iTunes U“, a “service created to manage, distribute, and control access to educational audio and video content for students” all over the world, Apple again was a pioneer in this technology.
According to Dr. Harald Henzler, lecturer at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, enhanced ebooks can transfer knowledge in a didactic more powerful way. Appropriately applied they were able to present a content ludically as well as meaningful. “If we can encourage kids to engage in books through an iPad, that’s a win already,” says Carly Shuler, senior consultant for industry studies at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a non-profit organization that did a quick study on children’s learning through enhanced ebooks. According to him, children prefer enhanced ebooks to ordinary books.
However, the understanding does suffers from the distraction: “Kids were more focused on tapping things and that took away from their comprehension”, Shuler admits. Also the content-related actions between the child and the parent reading with them decreased, as did the imagination, too. Tracy Pease, grad student studying mental health counseling, predicts a problem with the financing: “No one wants to pay for a book that’s not “real,” and they don’t understand why they cost so much. But, people, there are still authors, publishers, developers, and artists to be paid, just to name a few of the costs.”
Whether enhanced ebooks will become part of our everyday life or will be only employed in niches, like for instance in working with disabled people, as Carol Rasco, president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental and parent of a disabled child, suggests, we’re going to see in the future.
However, it is unquestioned, that there has to be done far more research on how enhanced ebooks are used, how people understand this medium and when parents or teachers should use this medium instead of a print book.