Making Science Leap From The Page

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, December 19, 2011

When a college textbook, “Principles of Biology,” comes out from the Nature Publishing Group in January, one place it won’t be is on the shelves of school bookstores.

That’s because the book was designed to be digital-only. Students will pay not for a printed edition at a bookstore, but for permanent access on the Internet ($49).

And when they open the book on their laptops, tablets and smartphones, they will find other differences, too. True, the text is packed densely with definitions and diagrams — it is meant to teach college-level science, after all, and is from the publishers of the august journal Nature.

Still, this isn’t your usual technical tome. The pages have some pizazz: they are replete with punchy, interactive electronic features — from dynamic illustrations to short quizzes meant to involve students rather than letting them plod, glassy-eyed, from one section to the next. Audio and video clips are woven into the text.

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