FROM PAPER TO BYTES THE TRANSITION TO DIGITAL BOOKS IN SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING: THE ITALIAN EXPERIENCE
In recent years, IT and digital technologies have entered massively in the education and training sector by changing it from different points of view.
At the beginning it came in as the digital hardware, or as instrumental support: the computer was an aid to do homework, to word-processing or calculation, then the LIM, as a interactive tool to support teaching and as activators of participation. Finally, the tablets are ushering in a hybrid use of digital technology - hardware, software, wireless and mobile - which at the moment is still difficult to assess the impact.
The technology, however, provides only new tools, but at the same time change teaching methods impacting directly, albeit still not managed, and on educational models and learning practices.
In Italy, in particular, a recent law – n. 133/20081 – imposed as early as the school year 2011-12 the transition between the paper version of the book to a version “on-line downloadable from the Internet and/or hybrid” and the digital form – by law: Note 25 January 2013 Prot MIUR AOODGOS 3782 – becomes mandatory from the school year 2014-15, resulting in the adoption of the tablet as the primary learning tool for students of primary, secondary and high-schools.
The scholarly publishing, the other major player in the education market, then find themselves having to move from paper editions – the core business of the professional chain defined and consolidated for decades – to the production of ebook or interactive applications, typical of the IT sector.
The issues opened by this transition, are many: from the educational point of view the rethinking of the model, the transmission of knowledge and its supports, teaching methods and updating of teachers.
From the point of view of publishers the rethinking of the production chain, the role, the skills and the competences of the authors, the design and distribution, and the new marketplace.
But the main hub rhyme rethinking the concept of schoolbooks, a little text, a little interactive workbook, a little audiovisual support, a little video game, a little collaborative platform for e-learning, depending on the point of or view of the potential of design and development.
The paper explores this potential and map models, best practices, design patterns referring, in particular in the field of language learning and foreign languages to establish a critical framework of the emerging phenomena.