MLE, Google eBooks, FREE Textbooks, Smart Phones, etc.

At some point, when you want or need to read a book, you may not even have to turn the page of a “traditional” book as seen in the graphic on the left.  No more cutting down trees to produce fiber-producing pulp to manufacture the paper out of which the books are made.

One of the welcome tech developments in the last few years, especially for multilingual education (MLE), is the growing popularity of “reading” e-books (those digital versions of the paper books) via a slew of ever-improving digital devices (desktop PCs, laptops, portable pads such as the iPad, ebook readers such as Kindle, and now the tiny smart phones such as the iPhones.  And they are becoming affordable, too.

Smart phones, as opposed to the regular cell phones, are “smart” because they have their own operating system.  If you have a smart phone, you may want to check Pocket PC Central, or a number of other sites to find out what software you need to enable your smart phone to store and/or display the ebooks that you wish to read.

We’re aware of the selfish interests which hold DepEd captive with their contracts with the department to supply our school children with textbooks (some of which have become notoriously maligned and less than desirable because of some “errors” in them).  This is one area where the Aquino Administration should step in and surgically remove the costly cancer afflicting DepEd and consider an alternative textbook delivery system via the digital process such as smart phones and using carefully selected AND edited FREE textbooks from several online sources, notably, CK-12 (science, technology, engineering, mathematics),  MERLOT (arts, business, education, humanities, mathematics and statistics, science and technology, social sciences), Google Books, and others some of which are included in the FREE eBooks page of this blog. Go on and click on any of the highlighted subject category to see and gauge for yourself the quality of these FREE digital textbooks, some of which are peer-reviewed and used as textbooks in some schools.  After looking at these FREEBIES, you will wonder why the Philippine government has to pay those selfish interests which have held the DepEd hostage with those hefty contracts to supply textbooks to our children through DepEd.

Instead of paying a king’s ransom to those traditional textbook suppliers to DepEd, the government could establish a national financing system that would help our children’s parents finance the acquisition of the soon-to-be ubiquitous smart phones which will surely help revolutionize the way our children learn, not only mathematics and the sciences, but reading, listening, and learning languages, in addition to serving as a cell phone, children-tracking and entertainment device. I think these devices which have multiple uses are more cost-effective in the short term and in the long run, as well.  And the smart phones are more convenient to carry around, to and from school. To some, the smart phone has become a necessity.  To top it all, they’re easy to learn to use–we’re approaching the Koreans and the Japanese in terms of being obsessive mobile phone users

Our MLE folks, therefore, should consider the digital method, most especially smart phones, as a viable means to deliver MLE content, a means for teachers to communicate lessons/lesson assignments, a means for our children to access the vast resources of the Internet and, in general, an indispensable tool for our children to communicate either via voice, email, images, or texting.  Including, as you guessed it, jejemon!

Google takes on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble with new e-book store

Books from Google eBooks will be readable on most devices, including smart phones, the search giant says. More than 3 million volumes will be available for access and download, it says.

By David Sarno and Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
December 7, 2010

Google has opened its own digital bookstore, pitting itself squarely against and Apple in the fast-growing market for electronic books.

In creating one of the largest online catalogs, the Internet search giant said Google eBooks would have more than 3 million volumes available for access and download.

Most of those titles are free, public-domain works, such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Moby-Dick,” but the store will also feature hundreds of thousands of titles for sale from major and minor publishers, including Random House Inc. and Hachette Book Group.

Unlike digital bookstores run by Inc., Apple Inc. and Barnes and Noble Inc., Google’s venture, unveiled Monday, is not tied to a particular reading device, Google said. Instead, its electronic books can be read on most devices and not just on those that the seller manufactures. An e-book bought from Apple, for instance, can be read only on an Apple device.

“Google is essentially going to try to break that model open” by allowing users to purchase books online and read them on as many devices as possible, said James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

Google is entering a market that has more than tripled in 2010 and is expected to grow by nearly 40% next year, to $1.35 billion, according to Forrester. By the end of 2011, more than 25 million U.S. adults will be regular e-book readers.

Google also has a big ace up its sleeve: The company has been scanning library books since 2004 and says it has digitized about 15 million books — close to 12% of the world’s estimated 129 million books.

That effort has been ensnared in a protracted lawsuit with authors and publishers, who in 2005 sued Google to stop it from publishing copyrighted books. The two sides have since created a settlement that would allow Google to share the books while paying rights owners, but the pact is awaiting approval in federal court.

If that happens, Google’s digital bookstore could become by far the largest anywhere.

Google’s books can be read online through a reading interface the company also debuted Monday. Google e-books will also work on a number of tablet and e-reader devices, including Apple’s iPad and iPhone, Android-based smart phones like the Droid X and e-ink devices from Sony and Barnes & Noble.

Amazon Kindle users will not be able to buy new books from Google, though the Kindle will be able to display some of Google’s public-domain (non-copyrighted) books.

“Our philosophy is ‘Buy anywhere, read anywhere,’ ” said James Crawford, the director of engineering for Google Books.

Google’s system is meant to allow readers to keep their books stored on remote servers in the so-called cloud, enabling users to read a single book on a variety of devices. Readers who pause on a given page while reading on the Web, say, can continue on the same page later on a smart phone or digital tablet. This mechanism will not initially work for e-ink devices. Nor will Google’s Web interface allow for highlighting or note taking.

Google will sell the books through two main online channels: The first is its eBookStore, where it will sell directly to consumers and share the proceeds with publishers. The second is by way of online bookstores, which will add a Google e-book sales widget to their websites and split the retail proceeds with Google.

Books sold by the largest U.S. publishers (excluding Random House) are sold under the so-called agency model, in which the publisher sets the list price and takes roughly 70% of the sales revenue, leaving the retailer — in this case Google — with the remaining 30%.

For all other (non-agency) books, Google will use an algorithm to choose a price based on a number of bits of market data. Google then keeps the proceeds from that sale, minus about 52% of the publisher’s original list price.

Google representatives said the proportion of the revenue split can vary somewhat depending on the specifics of deals with individual publishers.

Google has also reached deals with hundreds of independent bookstores under which if customers buy Google e-books through stores’ websites, the stores split the proceeds with Google (after the publisher’s cut). Google said it made deals individually with each store, and it has not disclosed the proportions of the revenue sharing.

Independent booksellers haven’t yet found a way to sell e-books effectively, but more than 100 members of the American Booksellers Assn. have signed with Google eBooks, hoping it will provide an entry point.

“We can do it the same way the big guys can,” said Kerry Slattery, co-owner of Skylight Books in Los Feliz. “I think it’s important for us to let our customers know that we’re not some dusty little business.”

Skylight, Vroman’s in Pasadena and Book Soup in West Hollywood are all now selling Google eBooks through their websites.

Copy protection has been a concern among publishers of e-books, who worry that the digital book files can be copied and widely circulated online. Google said it would use a variety of copy-protection mechanisms, including a patented copy-protection scheme for books displayed on the Web, encrypted files for iPhone and Android devices, and Adobe Inc.’s ACS 4 system for e-ink devices.

One thought on “MLE, Google eBooks, FREE Textbooks, Smart Phones, etc.

  1. Smart’s school conference promotes new technologies for education
    (The Philippine Star) Updated December 16, 2010

    MANILA, Philippines – Leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART) recently gathered more than a hundred key officials from academic institutions based in Luzon and NCR for the first ever Schools Conference held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Makati City.

    With the theme “Shaping Communities for the Future: Empowering Schools through Mobile Solutions”, the event was spearheaded by Smart’s Community Solutions department, which partnered with the academic community to develop breakthrough applications that benefit both the school administration and the student body.

    One of the conference highlights was the recognition ceremony for partner schools of Smart’s Infoboard information system (Infoboard). A two-way web-based information system that allows schools to send and receive real-time announcements via SMS broadcasts, Infoboard has become a preferred information tool of schools all over the Philippines. Infoboard facilitates the effective dissemination of relevant updates and information, and likewise gathers feedback from among members of the school community through a customized SIM card. The innovation has earned a nomination in the 2009 GSMA Global Mobile Awards held in Barcelona, Spain.

    To date, there are more than 200 partner campuses across the country that have been distributing to their students customized SIM cards powered by Smart’s Infoboard technology. SMART recognized several partner schools during the conference based on four Infoboard categories.

    1. Highest registered Infoboard users: Arellano University, Malayan Colleges, Mapua Institute of Technology, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Philippine Women’s University, Systems Technology Institute (STI)

    2. Highest number of broadcasted Infoboard messages: Far Eastern University FERN College, Philippine Women’s University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines

    3. Highest Infoboard downloads (Multimedia content): Batangas State University, Malayan Colleges, University of Baguio

    4. Best practices in the use of Infoboard: University of Baguio, Ateneo De Manila University, Our Lady of Fatima University, Mapua Institute of Technology

    The Schools Conference also featured resource speakers who expounded on how new technologies are impacting education in the Philippines.

    Professor Michael Tan, UP dean for College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, spoke about challenges of educational institutions that are related to social media; UP Open University chancellor Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso shared the benefits of online learning; Michelle Casio of Microsoft Philippines, Inc. presented their group’s new innovations that are specific for schools and educators. Prof. Brad Geiser, co-founder of Geiser Maclang Marketing Communications, Inc., discussed social media’s impact on students.

    Representatives from Smart who presented the company’s future plans included Dr. Rodolfo Alberto Villarica, department head for Network and Platform Services; Tricia Dizon, department head for Buddy and International Services; Giovanni Bacareza, Department Head for Broadband, Internet, and Data Services; Joy Y. Sanchez, Department Head for Customer Care; and Direk Carlos “Bong” Agustin, Media Consultant for Smart.

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