Monday, March 28, 2011

eReaders and eTextbooks - some thoughts

"The Future of the Textbook" is a great read.   Thank you Mike J. for sending it to me.  If you deal with library media, textbook adoption, instructional technology, curriculum adoption, implementing standards, you should click on the link and review the article.  I registered as I want to read the rest of the articles in this series. 

Why?  I am dealing with this issue right now as the Brighton Early Morning Rotary is working with our school district through a grant to provide ereaders and ereader textbooks for our students. Currently the only adopted textbooks that are available as ereaders are the language arts selected library books that are part of the curriculum. How are other schools and districts doing this?  Where are they getting the eTextbooks?  I can't really find any.

Someone or several folks have helped me to realize that since we have access to current information via the internet, that with a "good" teacher and "good" standards, the world is now our textbook - or should be. . . Of course we have to teach students to "drive" the internet and follow the "laws" and we have to "enforce" the consequences of not "driving" appropriately also.  And we have to give kids and teachers access to the information that they need to use and it has to be available at a moments notice.  Is that still too big a list of requirements for districts without proper funds, or families without enough income to supply the access tools?

I think it boils down to if you provide it, it will happen and yes we'll have to provide course corrections and displine when mistakes happen and most folks don't want to be the bad cop, they'd just rather never risk.  But at what cost is that to students when they get out in the world and don't know how to drive properly?  I think that option is even more deadly.  I'd rather my kids make a mistake while they are with me at home, so that I have the opportunity to help them with their mistakes, rather than let them make the mistake once they are on their own and they have to deal with the real police, and permanent results of bad decisions.

Experiential, just-in-time learning, evaluating resources to be sure they are correct rather than just accepting a textbook as totally perfect (which nothing is, right!) are some of the requirements and benefits of using the world as our textbook.  Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to have anymore textbook adoptions?  Districts could certainly save money and time and keep the resources current and up-to-date all of the time. :)

I believe schools are at a point in this process where with curriculum standards, textbooks no longer need to be adopted, but curriculum standards need to be followed in instruction and resources for accomplishing that learning needs to be just-in-time, current sources from where ever they may be accessed. Being limited to only one district adopted textbook for a class now limits learning potential as there are so many ways to get better information online.

Other benefits include student and teacher engagement, increased, active learning, and always staying current as a teacher as well.  Of course, there is always the danger of the teachers doing as they have "always" done (not a real rationalization on my part, but) and using their same old materials that are tried and true (and yes probably boring).  Teacher evaluation systems need to provide the accountability and motivations to keep that issue from being an issue.

Another benefit is students will be learning what is up to the minute.  Teachers will know what is up to the minute and our society will be better as a result and hopefully keep up a little better with the speed with which our world is changing.  Maybe there needs to be speeding tickets for the fast pace with which the world is changing.  Yeah, right.  That will never happen.  Thanks for listening.  Let me know your thoughts through your comments below.

Happy internet driving!

1 comment:

Panic Attacks said...

Online education is vital these days. You are right, we do need eTextbooks. I don't know of any right now. Surely, soon, there will be these kinds of books.