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2017.01.17 How will textbooks change? London FutureBook Conference 2016
Enthusiasts of ed-tech (education technology) gathered earlier in December at London’s 2016 FutureBook Conference to listen to talks about how current and future text books used in classrooms or at home may be changed to a digital format.

Tom Hall of Pearson, the world’s largest education company, suggested that the ed-tech market, worth 2 million dollars in the US last year, may grow to up to 200 million or 300 million dollars’ worth by 2020. He however stressed that “getting your content mobile-ready is vital”. Hall noted that publishers tend to have little experience in providing mobile content, and lack knowledge about devices and Wi-Fi connectivity.

In a 2014 survey of UK primary and secondary schools by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), about half answered that Wi-Fi connectivity in classrooms is “not adequate for effective digital devices use”.

Kate Worlock, vice president and lead analyst at Outsell, Inc., mentioned the cautiousness of classroom teachers who “do not want to mess things up for their students”. “Education is not a market that moves at huge speeds,” she said.

In Japan, the digitization of school textbooks is also being discussed by the Ministry of Education. However, its implications, not least financial, must first be carefully considered. For places of learning all over the world to make better use of ed-tech, it is necessary to allow enough time to make provisions for the changes.

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