The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of major textbook publishers have recently struck a deal with ScrollMotion Inc., a software company that will help publishers prepare their textbooks and test preparation materials for the upcoming iPad. Some of the publishers signed up include McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, and the Washington Post owned Kaplan Inc, which is well known for their preparatory courses for the SAT, LSAT, MCAT, and a host of other graduate level entrance exams.
Though Apple didn’t outline its strategy to target the educational sector with its iPad last week, people familiar with Apple’s thinking have said that the iPad’s use in schools was one of the focal points of discussions in developing the product. In its exploration of electronic book technology, it thought particularly about how it could re-invent textbooks, these people said. Apple declined to comment on the role of textbooks on the iPad. Apple has an edge in the educational sector becauseits Macintosh computers have always enjoyed a strong following in the academic sphere, and it already offers educational audio and video content through its iTunes U service.
Now as for how textbooks might be adapted for a tablet device like the iPad, the possibilities seem endless. Embedded video, virtual highlighting, text search, and “interactive quizzes” are just some of the features that we might soon see on e-textbooks.
A few weeks ago, a group of textbook publishers released a concept video showing how educational materials might present themselves on a tablet device. The video pretty much speaks for itself.