The role and benefits of ebooks in modern education

Sponsored: Interview with Yaz El Hakim, Director of Education and Learner Experience at Kortext

1. Describe your typical ebook

Yaz El Hakim: One that allows technology to bring it to life and has engaging content… sometimes the files we are sent do not empower all the content to be engaged with as fully as we might like. ebooks can typically benefit from lots of technological capabilities.

2. What are the key features?

Some of our features include: Highlight, Add Notes, Read Aloud, Draw / Ink, Search and Share. My personal favourite is Search – really quickly finding lots of content around a specific theory or research area, great for building up my wider reading too! 

3. What benefits do they bring to lecturers?

If I was still teaching (I was previously a Sports Psychologist at the University of Winchester), I would have loved to support students with digital learning content as part of their degree fee which many institutions are now doing. Indirectly, the learning analytics that are created by digital learning content are some of the most exciting and potentially impactful that I have seen to date. 

4. What benefits do they bring to students?

As a student the benefits are numerous. Immediately you are getting something for free and everyone loves that. In this case though, the etextbooks being provided mean no more going to the library to get them (or paying for them yourself after they have been booked out for six weeks), you can draw all over them, write your notes next to the content as you read it, share key bits with your friends or tutors and search quickly for key theories or concepts.

“The learning analytics created by digital learning content are some of the most exciting and potentially impactful that I have seen to date.” 

5. What benefits do they bring to institutions?

Efficient workflows, time and cost savings from many universities’ print textbook schemes, but most importantly awareness of content that is being used and learning analytics to better support student learning and academic performance. 

6. Are there any limitations to this resource? 

None, apart from the battery dying, but then you could just switch to online version on laptops… 

7. How do ebooks help contribute to sustainability? 

We save tonnes of trees and tonnes of carbon! According to The Guardian the average family owns a whopping 7.4 devices, if we all put them to good use and downloaded an app that we could download all our ebooks from, imagine the benefits. 

8. How do you see ebooks integrating within the classroom or lecture theatre environment?

One of the most important elements of teaching is collaboration. By using ebooks students can easily highlight, annotate and then share their notes with friends, tutors or study groups. We’ve seen a great adoption of this at the University of Plymouth, who find this one of the most engaging features of our platform. Another way I see ebooks integrating in the classroom, is a lecturer might use them on a separate device to refer to, use them to set their students reading at home, or even put an ebook up on a projector or interactive whiteboard to work through specific concepts or models with their class. Due to the malleable nature of ebooks, there are no restrictions to how they are used – a great way to integrate ebooks into teaching. 

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