I also like physical textbooks, especially for mathematics, but I also have a few in PDF format. There's something to be said for being able to carry 4 big textbooks in a device that's a few millimeters thick and about as big as a medium-sized envelope. I have a tablet I use for reading, and prefer it to paper books when I'm reading novels. This is primarily because I don't have to bring more stuff into my house and also because I can carry a library in my handbag. Adjusting the text size, having a built-in dictionary, and web access are also good. Web access is nice when I want to know a bit more about something mentioned in a book.

But for textbooks, flipping back and forth between pages is cumbersome at best in a large PDF document. HTML or similar is better, provided I'm not paying an annual license fee.

One weakness I see is that questions in electronic format are always multiple choice. When students don't have to write out answers that are then graded, a lot of teaching and learning opportunities are lost. IMO, this is a significant weakness of electronic learning systems as practiced today.

FWIW, some of the messages here have convinced me that iPads may have classroom value for specific cases, though I'm not sure if they're better than (cheaper, etc.) laptops. But I do also think that their value needs to be proven, both for 2E-type problems and especially for the general student population.

Last edited by Val; 08/28/13 10:40 AM. Reason: More detail added