Monday, October 14, 2013

Learning with Technology/ EduBlogger (ED504)

So I stopped by my old work today to work on my RWT. I spread out everything that I was using for the task. I had my laptop (on which I was writing the document), the Kindle Fire (which I was using for a as a web browser/second screen), the Kindle (which is where my "Intellectual Character" text lives) and my Camcorder (which I used to redo my mentor interview).

Behind this pretty picture is my backpack. It has a couple of binders, two Geometry books, a teaching Middle/High School Mathematics books and a Diff Eq book. It makes my back hurt. I can't wait for the day when all textbooks are digital. Dan Meyer writes about his disappointment with digital textbooks. For Dan, the difference between conventional textbooks and e-books is not different enough. Both just present the information with little interaction between the reader and the text. In Dan's world, textbooks would include social networking. Students would be able to modify the text and offer alternate examples and explanations. Rather than reading a problem that said to "draw an octagon" students would be prompted to take a picture of an octagon (e.g. a stop-sign or MMA ring). The textbook would include basic quizzes and integrated formative assessment tasks. He sees the current world of digital textbooks and looks longingly to a future of interactive learning applications.

For me, I have much lower expectations. For the $150 or so a Kindle Fire retails for, I already get a lot. I can search documents. Documents can be automatically updated and can include hyperlinks. I can watch videos and listen to podcasts. From a literature perspective, I have thousands of free classics available within a click. With digital textbooks, I have the option of carrying one device and bringing along every textbook my school owns. So, if I am in Calculus and struggling with partial fractions, I can check out the digital copy of the Pre-calc book to look over some extra examples. For me, the added costs of going digital is worth the pristine shape and clear text of a digital textbook. Digital texts aren't all that different from printed texts, but they are still significantly better.

1 comment:

  1. I've been kind of back and forth about where I stand on digital texts, but your post brought up some good points. I can't deny the fact that I also hate lugging around my heavy backpack every day. And it is a lot easier to skip between chapters and notes on my Kindle Fire. At the same time, I'm still one of those people who likes to hold a book, and I've found I take many more notes when I'm using a pencil verses digitally highlighting.
    However, I hadn't thought of turning digital textbooks into a social medium before, like you say Dan Meyer suggests. That's certainly an interesting idea. My only apprehension would be how something like that would be monitored. Would it just be the student plus their textbook, or some kind of network of all the students across the country who were currently using that textbook? There seem to be a lot of possibilities..