E Reader

Indian readers are now gearing up to ebooks. At the recently concluded New Delhi World Book Fair, a new ereader was launched. Here’s more about this new ereader. The iReader App was launched at New Delhi World Book Fair 2018 by Zhang Jianxin, Hon. Cultural Counselor, The Embassy of the People's Republic of China and Subhash Goyal, Member, National Tourism Advisory Council, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. The launch was organised by Kaushal Goyal, Managing Director of GBD Overseas Pvt. Ltd. as agents for and on behalf of iReader Technology Co Ltd, China. The event was presided over and conducted by Kartik R Kushvah, Secretary, Delhi State Booksellers' & Publishers' Association. It was very well attended by major Indian publishers & readers.

Here, Kaushal Goyal shares more info about the same, in conversation with Varsha Verma.

AABP: How is iReader placed vis-a-vis its competitors?

Kaushal: iReader is number 1 in China and South-East Asia. Now they are entering Indian market with an eye on selling English, Hindi & Urdu books of Indian publishers not only in India but all over Asia and the world. Kindle is the only competitor of iReader. They will officially enter Indian market in June-July 2018. By then, they will manage to get enough Indian eBooks with the help of GBD.

AABP: What is its USP?

Kaushal: The USP Of iReader is that it is user friendly; simple but stunning; healthy -protects your eyes while reading; very smart- iReader can work itself; different formats support-TXT, UMD, PDF, EPUB, OFFIC are all supported very well; and has 500 million users worldwide.

AABP: What are your targets for the coming year?

Kaushal: iReader would like to capture India market as it enters in July 2018. By the year end, we would have 100+ million Indian users of iReader. iReader has collaborated with OPPO & VIVO phones for India and all their new phones will come with pre-loaded iReader App. For any other smartphones, iReader App can be downloaded free from Google Pay or Apply Playstore in less than a minute.

AABP: Who would be your major target audience? Any institutional sales?

Kaushal: To start with our major target are the young people: between the age group of 18-40 years. At present no institutional sales but can think about it after 6 months or so.

AABP: In your opinion, is India ready for the tech revolution and ereaders? What percentage of the total population is tech-savvy?

Kaushal: Yes, India is very much ready for technology revolution. Narendra Modi, Hon. Prime Minister of India supports Digital India. By iReader App on smartphones, anybody and resources real levitra online without prescription everybody would be able to read eBooks on their phones without having to buy an iReader/Kindle device. eBooks are 50-60% cheaper than printed books. We did a survey of 500 college students and 73% prefer to read eBooks on their phones as they can read more books at less price. Many ebooks are also free so they get a digital library of their own.

AABP: Do you think people will switch over ebooks soon?

Kaushal: With support from Government of India, very soon we are going to be fully digital. Movie-tickets; bus, train & air-tickets are booked digitally; most payments are nowadays made digitally via Paytm, BHIM & other such Apps; most of the shopping is done online from Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Paytm etc. The same way, slowly but surely, people will switch over to eBooks.

AABP: What are your future plans?

Kaushal: Initially we are going to upload Indian publishers books in Hindi, English & Urdu but from January 2019 onwards, we plan to add other regional language books as well: like Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Marathi. There is a huge scope in the regional languages as we would be the first to add these Indian regional language eBooks.

Repro India offers Rapples which just not provides e-learning solution, it hand-holds and trains teachers in the use of technology by providing on-site full-time support for initial three months for smooth adoption of new technology-enabled Rapples solution. It’s fully supported LMS empowers teachers by effective delivery & smarter assessments of all students individually. Rapples is being launched at after three years of development, investments in the solution and successful trials in some schools.

The idea that technology can revolutionise education is not new - in the 20th century almost every new invention was supposed to have big implications for schools. With the advent of computers, again it was said that this is going to change the way education is delivered. But the core of the system has changed little since the Middle Ages: a teacher standing in front of rows of students and delivering lessons. This time it is different. As per Bill Gates, this is a special time in education. This is largely because a number of big changes are coming at the same time: high-speed mobile networks, cheap tablet devices, the ability to process huge amounts of data cheaply and sophisticated online gaming and adaptive-learning software.

And more or less everything is getting remarkably cheap to provide, thanks to faster processing, widely available broadband and the resources of cloud computing.

“Having said this, tablets are a very recent invention. Their use in education is still at a nascent stage. Rapples is a pioneering effort in this direction. In fact, the solution being provided by Rapples is the latest, state-of-the-art with very few other comparable solutions available globally,” tells Pramod Khera, executive director, Repro India, the provider for Rapples. Repro is known for its significant backward and forward integration which involves managing customer’s content, printing and delivering in different formats. This has helped Repro to build strong relationships with over 500 publishers in the education sector. Mumbai based Repro India has state-of-the-art facilities in Navi Mumbai and Surat.

Rapples unfolded...

Over the last three years, Repro has been working in the digital space to provide the Rapples and ReproCloudstore platforms to publishers for distributing their content electronically. With this, Repro is able to offer the complete value chain of services to publishers as described in the diagram below: Telling more about Rapples, Pramod informed, “Rapples is a comprehensive School solution provided to schools that enables them to deploy technology based education in their schools.”

The components of the solution includes converting all the subjects books into digital books (e-books), delivering all the subjects through a dedicated Tablet for each student as well as the teachers. Apart from the e-books, they also offer Server, Wi-Fi connectivity, projectors in classroom; student-teacher interactivity, etc. “The content is continuously enhanced by teachers, students and integrated and shared. We also offer back-end LMS to track student data and provide reports to teachers and principal,” added Pramod.

The USPs...

So, how is Rapples different from the current digital classroom solutions available in the market? “Firstly, it is minimally disruptive – the existing method of teaching and resources used by teachers need not be changed, which means that the existing printed books used by school are used as e-books and existing manual procedures / methods, assessments used by teachers are integrated onto the technology platform. It uses current resources with teachers like lesson plans, videos, presentation, documents, assignments, projects etc. It can also utilise existing infrastructure available at school including servers, white-boards, projectors, etc,” told Pramod.

Besides, Rapples uses teacher-determined content, which means that the school / teacher decide what content is required. It provides access to repository of free supplementary learning resources that can be used by teachers to enhance the eBooks. It also integrates Digitised learning resources available with school / teachers. “It also provides additional paid learning / reference eBooks, learning material, etc. from multiple sources and content can be continuously enhanced by teachers, students and integrated and shared.

Augmenting teacher’s capabilities...

The LMS (Learning Management System) which is implemented by Rapples helps in Augmenting Teachers’ Capabilities. It allows teachers to organize tasks for the academic year; schedules assessments, formative and summative tests, activities, projects, etc and provides Lesson Plan which helps teachers to plan their lessons that they need to teach. “The assessment plan includes projects, activities and tests while assessment marking helps teachers to track the students’ performance level on each subject. Besides, teacher can evaluate essay questions once students submit for evaluation. Reports can be generated on the system as well,” told Pramod.

Converting users into ‘fans’...

Rapples platform is technology independent. It runs on all platforms – Android, iOS, Windows and on all devices. “Today’s generation is very comfortable with technology. Most of the students are familiar with the use of smart phones and tablets. Rapples provides them a platform whereby the students are able to use technology for their education – this excites them and increases their interest in learning. Wherever we have implemented this solution, the students have become instant fans of Rapples and have started viewing learning more as fun rather than a chore…,” proudly informed Pramod.

Challenges faced...

“All school and University boards still upgrade their texts and equipment on slow, unsynchronised cycles. Education is a highly regulated public utility in which rules can govern everything, from what goes into textbooks to what should be the composition of a classroom. Teachers fear technology is a means for replacing properly trained humans. Hence, it is important to enable teachers with the technology for it to be successful,” told Pramod.

Future of e-learning solutions...

The tablets offer a unique opportunity to provide education content to all economically and with enhanced effectiveness. The cumbersome middle layer of production and distribution of textbooks can be replaced by an electronic delivery of the right enriched content in the hands of the student. “In fact, the tablet can become a powerful e-learning tool that can improve the effectiveness of education multi-fold. It is a unique opportunity, especially for the emerging economies of South Asia, Africa and China to spread education to the masses in a short period of time. In fact here, the promise is of better teaching for millions of children at lower cost,” told Pramod. “Over time the solution will become more adaptive and will be able to offer customized teaching for each student. The vision is that the solution will offer from 'one-size-fits-all' education to a more personalised approach, with technology allowing each child to be taught at a different speed, in some cases by adaptive computer programs, in others by 'superstar' lecturers of one sort or another, while the job of classroom teachers moves from orator to coach.”

What’s next?

“Initially, solution will be offered to all school. After six months, Rapples will introduce a solution for higher education that can be deployed in colleges and universities. We also have plans to take Rapples international starting with Africa and some Asian countries,” shared Pramod.

Message to educators/learners...

“An e-learning solution that enhances the teachers’ capability is the one that should be selected because even the best technology will get nowhere without the teachers’ support. The promise in all this for teachers is less drudgery, since some of their duller tasks can be automated, and interesting new challenges as they work out how to reorganise their classes. If the technology can be used as an extra pair of hands in the classroom, teachers will find it possible to do more,” concluded Pramod.

STUDYeBUDDY.com offers an ocean of educational content across all subject matter at its eBookstore, and much thought has gone into the design to give users an enhanced user-friendly experience. What’s more? It opens up a new revenue stream for publishers who can re-purpose their content for e-learning. The advent of the educational eBook study trend has certainly opened up a whole new way students learn and absorb information and knowledge through the Internet in virtual forms. The trend has been further simplified and expanded by the steady emergence of improved electronic devices and platforms to support the resources being made available online to the student population. Accessing and storing electronic resources in the eBook form has indeed become child’s play with eBookstores and eLibraries evolving to meet the trend.

STUDYeBUDDY.com (SeB), as one of the leading eBookstore in the country, has conducted extensive and detailed research to get a hands-on feel for the need of the hour with regard to the grand evolution that is taking place in the education field. Besides ensuring that every study need or requirement of students, teaching staff and students pursuing professional courses are met on a single platform, SeB goes the extra mile to enhance the eBookstore experience.

The site offers users a hassle-free and fluid navigational experience to locate, sample and store content in an eLibrary. This option allows for easy storage, and users can then access the content from anywhere at any time. The ePub content format functions on most platforms and Internet-enabled devices, and can be accessed anywhere, anytime. All ePub content can be read after downloading appropriate apps available on the STUDYeBUDDY.com site.

The site ensures that all streams of educational requirements are met diligently, and its audio/video learning material comes in the best quality. Medical students can access videos to better understand how certain medical procedures are conducted by doctors around the world. Other subjects also have options for AV. Besides study material, the site also offers project and examination related content and material for school and college students.

SeB is currently a ‘digital home’ to material required for all subjects and courses for schools, colleges and specialty institutions. SeB site users can highlight important points, write notes, add bookmarks and search for relevant words while reading content online as well as offline. This facility ensures that users enjoy a personalized reading experience.

Besides simplifying the way students get an education, SeB also provides publishers worldwide the opportunity to maintain a competitive position in the marketplace. Publishers now realize that they have new ways to serve customers by re-purposing content, and that this is the doorway to endless possibilities in this realm.

STUDYeBUDDY.com participated in the Delhi Book Fair 2013 held at Pragati Maidan, Delhi, during August 23 - 31. The response was overwhelmingly-positive with publishers, students and faculty members of educational institutes making a beeline for the SeB stall.

Oxford Educate wins IDA Award 2013

Oxford University Press' (OUP) new digital aid, Oxford Educate, has won the IDA Award 2013 in the category ‘Digital Content and Software in Education.’ Oxford Educate is an exciting digital aid that integrates an e-book with interactive teaching tools and learning materials. It incorporates a variety of resources: interactive animations, videos, poem and prose animations and audios for ELT courses, instructional slide shows, lesson plans, answer keys, additional worksheets, image references and much more.

Ranjan Kaul, managing director of OUP India, said, “It is overwhelming to learn that Oxford Educate has won the IDA Award 2013 for ‘Digital Content and Software in Education.’ Providing teachers with a breadth of high quality materials and support is central to our educational work at Oxford University Press. Oxford Educate is an exciting digital teaching aid integrating interactive e-books which include animations, audio and video clips, slideshows and other multimedia content for all key Oxford University Press school courses. As a department of the University of Oxford, we create world-class resources and make them available as widely as possible in pursuit of the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship and education.”

The IDA Awards recognize and reward products and services that demonstrate excellence in innovation, implementation, impact, sustainability and scalability in the field of education & training.

The fourth edition of the International Conference on Digital Libraries (ICDL) with a theme of ‘Vision 2020: Looking Back 10 Years and Forging New Frontiers’, was inaugurated by M Hamid Ansari, the hon’ble vice-president of India, in the presence of large library fraternity.

Dr MM Pallam Raju, the hon’ble minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India, also graced the occasion.

Welcoming the dignitaries and delegates, Dr RK Pachauri, director-general, TERI, stated in his opening remarks that the 21st century is going to be a century of knowledge and there is a need for clearly setting out programmes and policies for digitization of massive resources.

While, Prabir Sengupta, chair, ICDL 2013, spoke in detail on the theme of the conference and its relevance for professionals in the field. Dr Pallam Raju stated that India has always been a hub of knowledge and is known as an institution of higher learning. Tracing back some of the digital techniques used presently to the great thinker Panini, the hon’ble minister emphasized that digital technologies provide competitive advantage to nations and therefore need to be effectively leveraged.

Delivering the inaugural address, Hamid Ansari dwelt upon the changes which are taking place in the world of knowledge and transition from print to an electronic medium. He also said that mass-scale digitization is leading to empowerment and more informed decision making.

While, Dr Shantanu Ganguly, the organizing secretary, ICDL quoted eloquently from a poem by Rabindranath Tagore to drive home the objectives of ICDL, that is, the spread of wisdom and knowledge.

The serene and stimulating environment fostered an unleashing of intellectual creativity, debate and discussion during three days. The well attended event sourced together nearly 600 delegates and experts and participants ranging from library professionals, educators, computer scientists, software engineers to technocrats, bureaucrats, both from academia and industry, representing nearly 40 countries of the world.

Besides, the exhibition at the ICDL was inaugurated by Dr Prabir Sengupta, Prof. Ian H Witten, Prof. Michael Seadle, and Prof. Paul Nieuwenhuysen. A total of 32 exhibitors displayed their products and resources, which attracted large crowds.

(Compiled by Dr Shantanu Ganguly, organising secretary, ICDL 2013 and Dr PK Bhattacharya, conference coordinator, ICDL 2013)

Libroid – more han a bookWhile around the world people are still puzzling over how the book of the future will look and what it will be called, in a virtual workshop somewhere between Berlin and Hamburg, Jürgen Neffe has launched Libroids.

Libroids can do everything a book can do - and more. They can be read like books or their electronic equivalents, the ebooks, and the written word is still very much at their heart. But it is multimedia that gives them the edge - still and moving images, noises, sound bites, audio recordings, sheet music, graphics, maps and plenty more besides. Of course, as in any good book or ebook, you can underline, take notes, and mark pages at will. And you can read the Libroid in even the most remote corners of the earth where internet is still a foreign word.

It is when connected to the web, however, that Libroids enter a new dimension. New worlds open to the ‘reader’. Links lead to selected internet sites - ranging from simple films to the inner reaches of research institutes. Reading is now interactive. You can set your own links and share these, together with your notes and comments with other readers. This is social reading in a virtual bookclub. Due to their state-of-the-art technology, Libroids can be updated, extended, and embellished according to individual needs. They can also be published simultaneously in any number of languages - and by their authors, independently of publishing industry and book distributors.  The only thing you can’t do with Libroids is print them.

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