March 19, 2012

Apple's New iPad: A Nursing Textbook Replacement Device?

After a long day waiting for the FedEx truck I have trying out the new third generation iPad (or New iPad) from Apple. I have been a big fan of the first iPad that I have been using for nearly two years. As much as I enjoyed it I found that reading books from the iBooks app or Amazon Kindle app was a struggle. The first generation iPad is heavier and, like the iPad 2, has half the screen resolution of the newest iPad. This meant that using it as e-reader was a challenge after a few dozen pages. I found it hard to get used to the weight and the slight fuzziness of the fonts grew tiresome.

With the third generation iPad the lighter weight and crisp display make reading a pleasure. There are still issues with glare in very bright environments but the overall experience is a big improvement. I found myself able to read much longer without eye fatigue. Text is now as sharp as the Kindle and other e-ink style readers but with full color and the versatility of a laptop computer.

For nursing educators I think this new iPad would be an acceptable substitute for a paper textbook. This is the first time I have ever thought that. The increased clarity means that texts can have richer content and smaller text while still being legible and useful.

Of course the next step is up to the publishers. They will need to direct energies to exploring the best way to design texts for iPad use. Apple has already created a textbook store in its iBooks Store. These books are currently aimed at high schools students but I suggest you take a look at the free Biology text they offer. It shows off the capabilities of the iPad to do more than display text. It includes 3D models and videos embedded in the text. Just imagine what nursing faculty could do with such a tool.


Unknown said...


Please continue to share your experiences with the iPad in your classes! I am currently part of a faculty learning community at my college and investigating uses of the iPad in different learning environments. I would love insight into your experience or just advice for educators just dipping into this technology.

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

The resistance I am getting from students is their expectation that e-textbooks should be at least 20% less than a print version. Publishers argue that their production costs are not much different between print and e-text and are reluctant to agree to this differential.

I would argue with the publisher that since e-textbooks cannot be sold as used texts they should have greater overall sales on a title.

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