I recently returned from the first ever Online Education Symposium for Independent Schools (OESES) conference in Southern California. Overall a pretty good conference, and on a topic that all schools need to be looking at seriously as they plan for the future. While I am interested in the topic of online education, and I think that it is important to stay abreast of the latest developments in all learning spaces and trends, what I was struck most with was my aversion to thinking about online education as the disruption that education needs to move to bring it to the next level of efficiency and efficacy. I’ve actually been meaning to write this blog post ever since reading Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson. The premise of the book, and indeed of the conference (Michael Horn keynoted) is that online education is the growing disruption that will — and needs to — alter the heart of our education systems. I disagree. Read More
Category Archives: EdTech
I recently attended a live demo of MBS Direct’s Direct Digital solution, in which I and several colleagues (teachers and techies) got to Q&A a top developer on the current product and where it is headed. The verdict in a nutshell? Overall all pretty impressed, but watch out for those DRM agreements!
(View a recorded demo here: Blue “WEBINARS” button, then choose the third pre-recorded option – “Direct Digital: Your Content, Your Reader, Any Device”)
I dutifully report here what we discovered.
Every student should have an iPad with textbooks in iBook form! Oh, really….?
(See more on iPads and eTexts in this blog in: Apple iBooks for eTextBooks- getting there?
In Michael Hiltzik’s recent piece in the L.A. Times, Who really benefits from putting high-tech gadgets in classrooms?, an important question is raised (the Times answers this question for us in the HTML page title of the Web version of the article: “Hyping classroom technology helps tech firms, not students”). I totally agree and disagree at the same time. Let me ‘splain.
I agree in that much of what tech firms are trying to sell to our schools is not going to help much (as it is designed to fit into the defunct mode of education we retain where school is walled off from the real world, in which the few “good” schools strive for relevant when we should be striving for real). Yes, much of what they are pushing is out of self-interest, and our major investment at this time should be to create well-designed learning with highly skilled and capable teachers (I prefer “learning coach”, but that is another post…).
…..Learning with technology is now as crucial as learning with books was when they first came on the scene: what we can do with technology is much more powerful that what we can do without it. Read More »
OK, so Apple launched its new authoring platform for iBooks which is supposed to revolutionize eTextBooks. I’m not sure the revolution is fully realized yet, but this would appear to move us in the right direction. We might be at or near step two of three in the near-term evolution of eTextBooks, which I see as:
- Textbooks transliterated for reading in eReaders. Basically, the benefit here is that students can stop carrying around those insanely heavy backpacks. Downsides include lack of ability to notate or highlight, or clumsy ways of doing these things.
- eTexts have rich media, ability to notate, some social/sharing component, and include a mechanism for backing up texts and associated meta-data.
- All of the above, but platform independent.
From the demo in link above, it looks like rich media and notating are fairly well developed, but I’m waiting to see what social components there are, if any, and how easily they back up meta-data. I’m also a bit turned off by Apple’s continued monopolism (see a discussion here about the controls on content development for the iBook).
MBS Direct has supposedly finally ironed out their web-based reader, and I will report back here after I have been able to test that (in the next couple of weeks). My problem with web-based readers is that, although they are platform independent, they require an internet connection when you want to access content (barring an “offline” mode which they may have or might develop).
Please comment below with thoughts on where eTexts are heading, what you are using, what you would like to see…