Publisher Touts 20-Point Boost in Student Performance with Textbooks for iPad

With Apple announcing its iBooks Textbooks initiative yesterday, the company has been pushing its view that the iPad can help revolutionize education by keeping students engaged with unprecedented levels of interactivity.

harcourt fuse algebra ipad
In an attempt to assess the effect of iPad textbooks on student performance, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) performed a year-long pilot program using an iPad version of the company's Algebra 1 textbook for middle school students. The study, conducted at Amelia Earhart Middle School in Riverside, California, saw 78% students taking the course using the iPad textbook rank as "Proficient" or "Advanced" in the subject, compared to only 58% of students using the traditional print textbook.

The first assessment of the pilot— Riverside's district Algebra benchmark –took place during the second trimester of the 2010–2011 year. Students using HMH Fuse scored an average of 10 percentage points higher than their peers. The app's impact was even more pronounced after the California Standards Test in spring 2011, on which HMH Fuse students scored approximately 20 percent higher than their textbook-using peers.

Educators noted increased motivation on the part of students using the iPad app, as well as the personal level of interactivity, as factors contributing to student success. Students also found the iPad experience more natural and put them more in charge of their own learning, factors that increased student interest and engagement.

One important consideration is that the iPad textbook offered by HMH was not an official iBooks Textbook as introduced by Apple yesterday. The publisher's Fuse program has offered iPad versions of its Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry textbooks as apps in the App Store since last year. The apps are currently offered as free sample downloads with the full textbooks available via in-app purchase at $59.99 each, considerably higher than Apple's maximum price of $14.99 for titles in the iBooks Textbooks program.

HMH was the only one of Apple's three main partner publishers to not release any iBooks Textbooks at yesterday's event, with Pearson and McGraw-Hill each releasing a small handful of titles to kick off the program. It seems that HMH may now be working to transition its Fuse program to iBooks Textbooks, accounting for the later launch of its titles.

Top Rated Comments

overcast Avatar
117 months ago

Technology like this (and textbooks like these) would have definetly helped me to stay focused and be a better a student while in high school. For me a thick old textbook on the desk, with a list of chapters or pages to read marked on the chalkboard, always seemed like such a daunting task.

But now become more interactive and interesting, and of course more visually stimulating to your mind. I would have loved to have these! :)

Until this becomes old, boring and the norm.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
117 months ago
For those thinking there is only a positive side to this technology based learning let me share some real world experiences.

We live in a world (now) with incredible access to information - yet people still can't use google or a search function (ie - on this site) to find information. Instead - they are so used to immediate gratification/etc that they post a new thread or ask questions which are easily answered via google.

It used to be going to the library and looking up periodicals. Photocopying. Writing by hand notes/etc to write a report was labor intensive.

Now students of all ages (I have several friends who are teachers) complaining about having to even copy/paste information from various online sources.

It's quite sad how the English language is fractured because of sites like Facebook and Twitter. People spell Pls instead of please. Not just online anymore - but on papers. And so on.

Am I being "doom and gloom" - perhaps. But my point is - that as great as technology is - it doesn't always advance intellect. On some levels it cripples it. Or at least alters it in ways that aren't 100 percent improvements.

I think interactive books are a FANTASTIC idea as a learning tool. Not exclusively as one.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chupa Chupa Avatar
117 months ago

Educators noted increased motivation on the part of students using the iPad app, as well as the personal level of interactivity, as factors contributing to student success.



My goodness! Makes you wonder how all the intellectual achievements from the beginning of time ever happend without an iPad app. :D

Seriously, it's a little disingenuous to say a short, limited pilot is much proof of anything. Obviously kids are going to be more engaged with something new but ultimately, as always, learning comes down to quality content and human (be it peer, teacher, or TA) interaction with the students. The iPad is not going to save our schools. At some point normally unmotivated kids will become as bored with iPad books as paper books once the novelty wears off.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
117 months ago
I wonder how this will affect ADD rates. And then Adult ADD rates.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
117 months ago

It's part of the education process along with socialization. What is the difference if they are in class and have their head in a book for quiet time of 30 mins or 30 mins on an iPad?

Textbooks are antiquated. The iPad replaces the textbook. It doesn't replace the classroom experience and socialization with classmates.

You need to separate the two entities.


Gateway drug so to speak.

Do you have young kids or are even near young kids? They are more anti-social and are constantly using their ipod touches/ipads instead of interacting with people. And heaven forbid you try and take it away or talk to them/engage them in conversation.

Again - I'm not against technology. I just think it's a TOOL - not the answer to learning in total.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ejisfun Avatar
117 months ago
I always dislike studies like this because I feel bad for the kids that get stuck in the "stupid" group.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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