The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off this week in Las Vegas, and that means lots of tech gadget announcements are headed our way. The month is shaping up to be filled with tech news, with Google officially announcing the Nexus One “G phone” at 10 am Pacific today, and Apple expected to announce their long awaited iTablet on January 26th. In my Christmas day post, “Get ready for an exciting year to read (and share) media,” I predicted Apple’s new tablet will position iTunesU in a strategically disruptive way to open up eTextbooks with iTunes like Apple did with digital music and the recording industry. Coursesmart’s video for the Wall Street Journal, “Apple’s Tablet, as Imagined by Book Publishers,” was released in advance of CES and specifically prepared for the tradeshow. It lends strong support to my Christmas Day prediction.

The key quotation in this video which gets my attention is the title of this post:

…access your notes even after your textbook subscription expires…

A new day of textbook consumption is dawning, where digital texts will be rented for the term. If you’re a used textbook store owner in a college town, this probably won’t significantly affect your sales THIS term, but it definitely will in the years to come.

used textbook

If you’re an aspiring textbook author, as Karen Montgomery and I are, these forthcoming announcements promise to disintermediate the traditional publishing process in beneficial as well as exciting ways.

Amidst the excitement and tweets of techno-lust which are sure to fill the twitter ether this month, we should keep in mind Gary Stager’s reminder:

…Information access is not education…

To this I’d say information access is PART of education, sort of like cooking ingredients are critical to the eating of a delicious, gourmet recipe. It’s hard to have a pecan pie without pecans. Or a pan. Or an oven.

pecan and maple pie

If we have a microwave, does that mean we should do all our cooking in it? Hopefully not.

Given the choice, however, I’ll always opt to have powerful ingredients in my blended learning kitchen, just in case I want or need to use them to cook up some great digital learning opportunities. I’m looking forward to seeing what Google, Apple, and many other tech companies have in store for us as digital learners this month. :-)

H/T to my cousin, Devin Henley, for sharing the link “Textbook publishers dream of the tablet,” which includes this video.

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