STEM-based learning programs are being introduced in schools all across the globe. The intake is slow, but it is gradually starting to make its way into most K-12 schools.
And why not? STEM has proved to be a much better educational program in terms of learning effectiveness and leading to better career opportunities than the regular curriculum. Students gain valuable experience with the help of hands-on learning activities practiced extensively in STEM-based education.
Over the last few years, eBooks have become synonymous with flexible learning. Easy to carry, easy to access, interactive and engaging, and so on. And STEM learning includes advanced course work that promotes creative thinking and supports experiential learning to drive innovation.
eBooks can work very well in sync with STEM-rich programs, providing the right amount of engagement and interactive learning opportunities. Therefore, eBooks make for the perfect study material to deliver STEM courses.
In this blog we will look at how educational publishers and students can benefit by creating and using eBooks for STEM learning.
Advantages of STEM-based eBooks for students in STEM Learning:
1. Digital Libraries Offer Additional Learning Resources
With digital content libraries that consist of thousands of learning resources, students can pick and choose the content that they find relevant to the topic at hand. Compared to the internet, where they can find probably hundreds of links, relevant and irrelevant, for free, an eBook content repository mostly has carefully curated curriculum designed by SMEs and teachers.
Instead of searching for the right materials on the web, students can access multitude of content that are specific to their learning needs in the library and on their smart devices. Say for example, a student needs more information about kinetic energy. S/he can search the library for videos and other materials focusing on kinetic energy, complete with explanations and exercises.
2. Active Learning with Interactive Elements
eBooks are embedded with a lot of interactive features, including click and reveal, drag and drop, videos, animations, simulations etc. The courses are designed in a way that it compels the user to take action, either by way of a quiz or by a simple tap to proceed to the next topic.
STEM is all about a practical approach to learning and student engagement. And eBooks offer the necessary engagement. Students can be active participants in the learning process while going through the course materials as well as while engaging in classroom-based practical activities. They can also make notes, highlight texts, bookmark pages and more in their eBooks.
3. Experience Immersive Learning with Augmented Reality
Augmented reality offers an immersive learning experience by allowing students to explore the concepts in-depth. With AR, students can bring objects to life on screen, turn them around for a better view, and zoom in to reveal further details. These augmented visuals are often accompanied by supporting texts, videos and hyperlinks.
Students opting for STEM subjects can utilize this feature for a more engaging learning experience in addition to their classroom activities. And all it needs is an AR enabled app. AR is already being used in teaching professional-level engineering and science students.
Using this technology in schools will help students gain a better understanding of the concepts and can then apply the knowledge in real-time while solving a problem or building a prototype. It improves their ability to quickly understand concepts and recall information. Here’s how augmented reality can transform the classroom.
4. Collective Learning with Social Features
Online learning has ensured that learning is not confined to classrooms. It also ensured that learning is not an isolated experience. Just like students are habituated to talk and discuss amongst each other in classrooms, eBooks provide them this opportunity in the digital space. With chat forums and discussion groups, students can always continue their classroom discussions online.
This allows them to share their work and assignments with their classmates as well as with teachers. Teachers can also view their work and give immediate feedback or answer their queries. eBooks thus provide a collective learning experience at all times.
5. Develops Problem-solving Skills
Students can access various online assessments and activities that are created to improve their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Scenario-based learning is one such learning technique, where students are given a situation and they have to determine the right course of action from the options given on screen.
This can be used as a means to introduce them to real-world authentic problems. Teachers can also combine the online scenarios with hands-on sessions in classrooms, connecting their skills to real work. Students can learn through trial and error, exploring multiple solutions for a given problem.
While assessing the situation and coming up with possible solutions to tackle the challenges, students could perhaps develop an interest in a particular field of study from a career perspective.
How Publishers benefit from creating and distributing eBooks for STEM learning:
1. Opportunity for Global Expansion
Every publisher aims to get their books to reach far and wide and hope that people purchase these books. Digital publishing has brought their dream closer to reality. Publishers can now explore global markets through the digital space.
With localization and translation services, they can even cater to students of different natives. The STEM curriculum for K-12 students the world over would more or less be the same, with all forms of sciences including biological, chemical, environmental, and medical sciences along with technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
So, publishers can create a courseware that is mapped to the global curriculum. This makes their eBooks more reliable and acceptable by educational institutes globally.
2. More Adoption Equates to More Revenue
Once the global market has been captured, with institutes and students opting for your eBooks for STEM learning, the revenues would start flowing in. With the increased adoption of STEM in schools, you can be assured that more and more institutes would raise a demand for good quality learning resources for their students.
But you must be aware of the rising textbook prices driving off students towards used book and rental markets. What you can do to keep your audience base loyal is to provide a subscription-based package. It will keep the prices reasonable and will keep the students coming back for new subscriptions.
Once you have established yourself as a trusted and feasible eBook provider, you can focus on upgrading the eBooks to provide better content for STEM students.
Can the Education Publishing Industry Leverage A Subscription Model
3. Edit and Update Content Without Incurring Much Cost
Digital publishing also allows easy updates to courseware, eliminating the hassles of reprinting and the associated costs. Most of the content is saved on the cloud, which means, when the publisher makes any changes on the cloud content, it will be reflected in the eBooks of all the students.
This allows you to always ensure that the content is up to date with the latest information, facts and statistics, providing you an upper hand over traditional publishing method. This makes the reliability factor stronger for students, teachers and parents, knowing that they have all the latest data to study and teach.
4. More Growth Opportunities
Not many publishers are in STEM publishing right now, because of slow adoption in schools. Which means, that if you start with creating STEM based eBooks right about now, it will help you establish yourself as a major STEM book publisher in the market.
This would of course lead to more sales and growth opportunities for you in the future, just as you can see the dominance of the big 5 right now in the publishing industry for school textbooks. And even they are moving towards creating digital learning resources.
5. Analyze the Trends and Focus on Marketing Your eBook
Another advantage that digital publishers have is that they can make use of analytics feature to identify the consumption patterns of the users. They can see the uptake of their books and accordingly create content which will guarantee student engagement and better interaction.
Marketing is something that publishers these days need to pay attention to. With numerous eBooks available online, students have a plethora of options to choose from. Make your eBooks stand out with the best-in-class content, multimedia and graphics, and by offering the books at a price that is affordable by students. Here are 5 ways to use learning analytics in education.
eBooks have a way of building user engagement through its many interactive features and widgets. In a way it complements STEM education by offering an engaging learning experience. Publishers can also leverage STEM-based eBooks to drive sales by offering relevant and high-quality content.
Since both the students and publishers stand to benefit from STEM-based eBooks, it is wise for publishers to invest in creating STEM-focused books for K-12 students.