Nova Scotia

N.S. eyes e-textbook developments

Nova Scotians can expect tablets and e-books to play a bigger role in the classroom.

Nova Scotians can expect electronic tablets and e-books to play a bigger role in the classroom.

The Department of Education is watching announcements like the recent one by Apple about its iBook 2, which allows users to download and view electronic textbooks that combine text, audio and video.

Sue Taylor-Foley, director of learning resources and technology services, said that would make the tablets an even more valuable learning tool.

"E-texts, e-books are certainly something we do expect to see and we hope also to be part of the cutting edge of that as well," she told CBC News.

Some schools are already using tablets. In some cases, the devices are used to help elementary students learn math and other subjects.

Taylor-Foley said cost and curriculum requirements are two factors that decide how widely the government and school boards can distribute new technologies.

For university student Mohamed Ibrahin, e-books would mean no more heavy backpacks of expensive textbooks.

"Just downloading your book, that would take minutes and paying $15 for a book would be so much easier," said Ibrahin, a student at the University of King's College.

The transition is already underway, though slowly.

The Dalhousie University bookstore says e-books represent less than one per cent of its book sales. However, the store is already anticipating how more elaborate e-textbooks could change its business.