Discovery Education offering schools free digital textbooks

Experts said that the digital divide is education’s greatest challenge. Discovery will offer its Techbooks free through June.

During a conference on digital learning, award-winning Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told peers, publishers, and congressmen that going digital in schools is more than just incorporating cool gadgets–it’s a moral imperative. Matching Carvalho’s message, Discovery Education announced that it will give all schools a free trial of its digital “Techbooks.”

“Not providing kids access to the internet and digital resources is not a skillset deficiency, or a resource deficiency,” said Carvalho. “It’s a political courage deficiency. We must erase the digital divide in urban and rural areas to truly unify our country.”

Carvalho’s stirring presentation was part of a day-long conference by Discovery Education and Digital Promise—a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to spur innovation in education—along with Connect2Compete, ERDI, ISTE, NCERT, and many other organizations, to discuss the state of digital learning and its impact on college and workforce readiness.…Read More

Discovery Ed expands Techbooks to include math

Math Techbooks offers interactivity to boost student engagement.

Discovery Education has announced that it will expand its digital textbook series to include mathematics.  The Math Techbook is the latest addition to the company’s Techbook line, which now includes K-12 science and middle school social studies offerings.

In response to input from educators across the country, Discovery Education’s first Math Techbooks, launching in 2014, will address middle and high school mathematics subjects with six specific courses: 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math, and Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry for high school.

Built in conjunction with a team of experts, including educators, students, and technologists, Discovery Education Math Techbook will provide students interactive, engaging learning experiences that help support their procedural skills, fluency, understanding of theoretical mathematics concepts and ability to solve real-world problems.…Read More

Barnes & Noble weighs its eReader investment

Even for a company with a lot of bad news lately, the bulletin from Barnes & Noble this month had an ominous feel, The New York Times reports. Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest book chain, warned that when it reports fiscal 2013 third-quarter results on Thursday, losses in its Nook Media division — which includes sales of eBooks and devices — will be greater than the year before and that the unit’s revenue for all of fiscal 2013 would be far below projections it gave of $3 billion…

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No-book library? BiblioTech is coming

A book-less library. It sounds like an oxymoron, but come the fall of 2013, San Antonio’s Bexar County is going to be home to the BiblioTech, the country’s first book-less public library, ABC News reports. Of course, there will be books — just eBooks, not physical books. The 4,989 square-foot space will look like a modern library, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who was inspired to pursue the project after reading Walter Issacson’s Steve Jobs biography, told ABC News. (A glance at the photo shows that its inspired by Apple in more ways than one.) Instead of aisles and aisles of books there will be aisles and aisles of computers and gadgets. At the start, it will have 100 e-readers available for circulation and to take out, and then 50 e-readers for children, 50 computer stations, 25 laptops and 25 tablets on site…

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Pearson invests in Barnes & Noble’s Nook

Major technology companies have looked for inroads into the digital textbook industry.

Pearson, the U.K. publisher and education company, is buying a 5-percent stake in Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader as technology companies seek new inroads into the potentially lucrative business of digital textbooks for schools.

Pearson PLC will pay $89.5 million cash for a 5-percent stake in Nook Media LLC, which includes the bookseller’s eReader and tablets, its digital bookstore, and its 674 stores serving U.S. colleges. Barnes & Noble will hold 78.2 percent of the business and Microsoft will have about 16.8 percent, the company said Dec. 28.

Major technology companies have looked for inroads into the digital textbook industry, seeing tablets like the iPad and the Nook as replacements for the dozens of books that students must lug to and from school each day.…Read More

Watch: Best eReader for under $100

eReaders are some of this year’s hottest gifts. And good news: they have dropped way down in price. But in the battle for Best E-reader for Under $100, which one comes out the winner? Asks Yahoo! News. The basic model Kindle, the Nook Simple Touch, and the Kobo Touch all share a few traits other than a reasonable price. They all feature 6-inch screens, 2 GB of storage, Wi-Fi for downloading books, and good readability. But a few differentiating factors may tip the balance…

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Amazon launches Kindle content service for kids

Amazon is launching a subscription service for children’s games, videos and books aimed at getting more kids to use its Kindle Fire tablet devices, the Associated Press reports. Amazon.com Inc. plans to announce Wednesday that the Kindle FreeTime Unlimited service will be available in the next few weeks as part of an automatic software update. Amazon said subscribers will have access to “thousands” of pieces of content, though the company did not give a specific number. Kids will be able to watch, play and read any of the content available to them as many times as they want. Parents can set time limits, however. The service, aimed at kids aged 3 to 8, will cost $4.99 per month for one child. It’ll cost $2.99 per child for members of Amazon Prime, the company’s premium shipping service. Amazon Prime costs $79 per year for free shipping of merchandise purchased in the company’s online store…

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Everything you need to know about eReaders

Whether you’re buying, gifting, or expecting an eReader this holiday season, the market’s changed a lot from last year and the year before that. Here’s a complete buyer’s guide, starting with the basics and working through the latest trends, says Yahoo! News. Kindle, Nook, or … ? What exactly an “eReader” is, to you, might depend on where you first saw them. Barnes and Noble is pushing its Nook line pretty hard through its retail stores, while the Kindle takes over the front page of Amazon.com every time a new model comes out. There are other eReader devices, though. Kobo sells a line of basic but dependable black-and-white eReaders, which have tons of fans of their own, and a color version’s on its way. Other companies, like Sony, have their own lines; and there are eReader apps for PCs, smartphones, and tablets, which tie into your Kindle, Nook or Kobo device and can even save your place in a book…

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Amazon looks to get Kindle into schools

Whispercast will help Amazon reach the school market more efficiently, a Forrester Research analyst said.

Amazon.com Inc. has launched a service to help schools and workplaces manage Kindles used by students and employees—by sending out eBooks or blocking certain types of activities, for example.

Called Whispercast, the free service lets businesses and schools buy and distribute books and documents to Kindles over a wireless internet connection.

This means teachers can send out books to students in their class, and businesses can send out training materials, schedules, and other documents, Amazon said. Schools also can block Kindles from accessing the web and can prevent students from being able to make purchases on the device.…Read More