Free online textbooks from top private school

BBC.co.uk, 19/01/15, a leading private school, with some of the best results in England, is publishing digital textbooks which are available to download free online. HMC member school the Stephen Perse Foundation features.

The Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge is publishing 12 multimedia textbooks for IGCSE biology.

They are being made available on Apple's iBooks online store to use on iPad tablet computers.

It is believed to be the first UK school to publish free online textbooks covering an entire exam syllabus.

Schools and pupils are "hungry" for such digital resources, says principal Tricia Kelleher.

With the exam revision season approaching, the Cambridge school is pioneering the publication of its own bespoke textbooks, which will be open to anyone without charge.

The textbooks will be available for download worldwide and cover a course taken by 500,000 students in 160 countries.

The school, the current Independent School of the Year, has already made resources available online through iTunes U. It has been a leading innovator of the idea of schools using digital technology to produce their own customised course materials.

"It's important to us that these resources are being offered to the world without charge. There is a world of learning and we want to continue to be at the hub of this approach," said Ms Kelleher, the principal.

A study from the National Literacy Trust and Pearson, published last month, suggested that touchscreen computers were particularly useful in helping boys and poorer pupils to learn to read.

It showed children in poorer households were particularly likely to read on touchscreen computers rather than printed books.

Another study from Ofcom last year showed how tablets have spread quickly within families with children. About 70% of five to 15-year-olds had access to a tablet at home.

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