This video shares professor and student comments about a new learning spaces classroom at Seattle Pacific University.
Here is a tag cloud created with Tagxedo showing what I tweeted about in 2011. My Twitter handle is dwicksspu. I shared lots of links using the hashtag #mlearning as I prepared for several presentations on mobile learning. My role as co-chair of the MacLearning.org Steering Committee had me frequently using the tag #maclearning and the handle @maclearning to tweet about how Apple products were being used in teaching and learning . I began a project with five other professors on blended learning in August and used the tag #blendedlearning to share resources that I found. I am predicting that it will be one of my most popular tags in 2012. The hashtag #et5online should also be a popular tag for me in 2012 as I am the program chair for the 5th Annual International Symposium for Emerging Technology in Online Learning. I hope to see you in Las Vegas this summer.
Happy New Year!
Six Lessons One Campus Learned About E-Textbooks
Is it time to switch to ebooks? Not quite yet, according to Chronicle writer Jeffrey R. Young after he visited with Northwest Missouri State University faculty and students about their venture into the world of e-textbooks. NWMSU has been a leader in student communication technologies since the days of OTPDR (That’s one-terminal-per-dorm-room for those of you who have trouble remembering the great acronyms of the past).
Young shares six lessons he learned about the current state of ebooks in the classroom. Here are my thoughts on each of his points.
- Judge ebooks by their covers – All ebooks reading software is not created equal. Sony’s ebook reader is different than Amazon’s Kindle. There are lots of ebook reader options for laptops. Publishers have even created proprietary readers that work within an LMS (Blackboard, Moodle, etc.) The point here is that with this many options, you will need to do your research, and try before buying where possible.
- Learning curves ahead – Students have had years of practice learning how to learn from paper-based textbooks. Institutions should offer training as part of any e-textbook initiative.
- Professors are eager students – This may be puzzling to some but I’ve always been able to find professors eager to experiment with a new technology IF (and this is an important “if”) they can envision how it might be meaningful to teaching/learning.
- Dead batteries – Hopefully this problem that will go away as better battery technologies are developed. For now, we need to make sure that there enough power outlets in classrooms and learning centers (and hopefully not just on the back wall.)
- Subjects are not equally e-friendly – Some disciplines may be better suited to e-textbooks than others. I’m not sure that I agree with this statement, especially if we leave out Amazon and Sony, and just talk about the use of a laptop or iPhone (both support color) as the ebook reading device. Both would allow students to zoom in and query images for more information. Think about the possibilities with a subject like Geography. Maps within a paper textbook are static while ebook maps can be dynamic, allowing students to ask how borders or populations have changed over time. The result may be customized maps that help students understand current political issues.
- Environmental impact matters – Saving trees is an important consideration but a move to e-textbooks could ultimately reduce the cost (and amount of fuel used) to provide textbooks to students in developing countries. Textbooks are already expensive. Add the cost of shipping overseas and the price may double. Instead, these students could be outfitted with multi-use resources (laptop or smartphone) to access up-to-date content. Easy access to electricity is a major issue but one that can be eased with longer battery life.
While I don’t believe it is time to make wholesale changes to e-textbooks, it is time to begin experimenting with ebooks in individual courses and programs. What do you think?
(delicious tags: Education technology textbook academic college kindle ebooks)
The University of Manitoba uses a wiki as an online textbook for their Emerging Technolgies for Learning certification program. I like how they are practicing what they preach about the use of open source technology.
Trent Batson defends Google and Web 2.0 technologies in his response to the popular Nicholas Carr aricle “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
Here’s a site for those of us who are always looking for Web 2.0 tools to improve teaching and learning.
This article discusses some of the benefits and challenges of President-elect Obama’s plan to add more technology to classrooms. I’m not seeing anything especially new here. From what I read we still have the same issues of funding and lack of training. The only effective funding plan is permanent dollars, which doesn’t seem realistic at this time. A short-term plan to put more computers in the classroom may seem like a good start but that technology will get old and we’ll be right back where we are now. We also need dedicated funding for professional development. Staff need ongoing technology training addressing how to use technology for instruction, learning, assessment, and professional productivity.