Transforming the Digital Textbook: A Modified Delphi Study
Digital textbooks continue to hold the potential to revolutionize the dissemination of knowledge to anyone, anywhere. The understanding needed to reach a new digital paradigm includes tools that are consistent with the needs of a new generation of educators and students. This qualitative modified Delphi study provides a foundation that defines the function, structure, and role of the textbook in education. The textbook is defined as a basic educational resource that provides definitive knowledge, defines and bounds the scope of discussion and learning, and helps assure that the stated learning goals are met. A textbook is an educational resource and may contain other resources. As such, the textbook functions as an educational workspace; digital textbooks need to function as the principal resource in an online or interactive educational workspace that supports a mix of materials, including and regardless of multiple media formats. As is the role of the best technology, a fully functional digital textbook seamlessly encapsulates the educational materials and resources needed by the specific course. The consideration of linear and nonlinear study functions in terms of existing devices and interfaces played a critical role in understanding textbooks. Current PDF-based digital textbooks do not meet students’ needs. A list of functional considerations, that need to be part of the next generation of digital textbooks, is included in this study. Students need to be able to tailor the interface to best suit their individual preferences. The importance of reducing costs in the marketplace will ultimately decide which technologies will succeed.
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