CES 2013: McGraw-Hill Unveils SmartBook E-Reader for iOS & Android, Eyes Windows 8/RT

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At CES, McGraw-Hill Education rolled out the SmartBook adaptive textbook software platform for iPads and Android tablets, while hinting that a counterpart for Windows8/RT might also be on the way to help students master course material.

The tablet-based e-reading software can cut school failure rates in half, maintained Ulrik Christiansen, chief executive of Area9, the McGraw-Hill partner that worked with the publishing company to develop the SmartBook. “So if 25% of students might fail a class, that can be reduced to about 12.5%,” he said, in an interview with TabletPCReview at the show in Las Vegas.

Essentially, the SmartBook assists students in two ways, according to Christiansen. First, it highlights areas of a textbook which McGraw-Hill has found from previous experience to be particularly difficult for people to learn. McGraw-Hill has discovered these areas by analyzing students’ learning success rates on its current LearnSmart e-book platform,

As of last semester, about 1 million students were using LearnSmart, mainly at the college level, Christiansen said.

Beyond that, the SmartBook analyzes individual learning experiences, to give students personalized assistance.

The new software quizes students while they learn to determine retention and learning style. Based on the results, it can then present the material in alternative ways. The SmartBook also reminds students about what they need to remember.

McGraw-Hill plans to make the SmartBook software available in around 90 different subject areas by the end of this year.

When asked whether the SmartBook might also make its way to Windows 8/RT, Christiansen replied, “We’ve been giving it some serious thought, but that’s all I’ll say.”

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