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Can electronic textbooks help children to learn?

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journal contribution
posted on 15.09.2008, 15:28 by Sally Maynard, Emily Cheyne
Purpose – This paper investigates the potential electronic textbooks (e-textbooks) have to augment the learning and education of children. Design/methodology/approach – The study consisted of a total of 60 pupils, split into five groups of 12 participants (six boys and six girls). Each of the five groups were in turn split into two sub-groups of six (three boys and three girls): one sub-group used the printed textbook, while the other used a CD-ROM on a laptop computer. The pupils completed a group test and an individual multiple choice test on information found in the textbooks. Findings – The study showed that the e-textbook was widely accepted by the participants, and motivated group participation. Those using the e-textbook achieved significantly higher test results on average in the group test. Higher (but not significant) average results were achieved by e-textbook users in the individual test. Research limitations/implications – An acknowledged limitation of the study is that the textbooks used for the study were not identical in content. They were equivalent according to subject and recommended age range, but did not contain specifically the same information. Further studies would benefit from making use of an electronic version which is identical, or more similar, to a printed textbook. It would also be worthwhile to investigate the effects of long-term use once the novelty value of the electronic book has subsided. Originality/value – The paper aims to fill the gap in the original literature on the subject of how children relate to and learn from electronic textbooks. The research is of particular interest to teachers, librarians and parents.



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  • Information Science


MAYNARD, S. and CHEYNE, E., 2005. Can electronic textbooks help children to learn? The Electronic Library, 23 (1), pp. 103-115


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This article was published in the journal, The Electronic Library [© Emerald Group Publishing Limited] The definitive version is available at: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0264-0473.htm