These are my notes from the second phase of our morning discussions on March 19, 2012, at the “Beyond the Textbook” forum in Washington D.C. Participants are included on this Twitter list. Follow these continuing discussions with the Twitter hashtag #beyondthetextbook. See my post from earlier today, “Required Reading for #beyondthetextbook” and initial morning post, “Morning discussions on digital content, textbooks, & learning” for more background.

Via Alec C:
We need strategies around not just the introduction of a technology
– need to address how knowledge is negotiable, how creditability and expertise is distributed

David J:
– shift in culture
– having a framework for cultural change, these are the things ‘this device’ can bring
– I want ifttt for the platform of the textbook: be responsive and programmable

Alec: things you can do are going to come down to licensing

We next brainstormed questions which we can use with teacher groups to grapple with these issues.

What is the level of textbook use?

Why do you use textbooks?

Can you imagine teaching without a textbook?

What are the obstacles & opportunities if we stop adopting textbooks?

What would happen if our district decided to stop adopting and purchasing textbooks?

In your classroom, how much are students allowed to create and share content?
– (if students are basically consumers, they have little to no expertise / they are not honored as originators of ideas — just consumers)
– by allowing students to curate and create, students can be authors

In what ways do we want students to author ideas?

How do students, besides reading things, connect to experts?

How do you, as a teacher, connect to experts and learn with experts?
– textbooks are indirect ways to help learners connect to expertise

What voices are not reflected or included in your current textbook?

What do you do now when you find something in your textbook that is wrong? (an error)

How are ideas shared in your learning environment?

How are your students publishing?

What discussions around licensing (Creative Commons and others) are happening around the ownership of knowledge?

How are students becoming mashup artists? (as a teacher how are you?)
– we need to ‘de-geek’ this, because essays are mashups
– Remxier’s Manifesto is good in this regard
– when does something become original?

RIP: A Remix Manifesto

Group 1 ideas (shared by David Jakes as our ‘reporter’)

new kind of textbook ecology
– learning agent
– what can learning look like
– negotiated content within that textbook ecology
– metadata for data, different licensing approaches
– wikipedia: content within textbook is built/created, there is a history and conversation around it that is accessible
– textbook as conduit for conversation
– recommendation engines needed
– what is discovery really good at? learning objects
– repurposeable objects which can be included in different contexts
– shift from user interface design to learner interface design
– this is introducing a whole new mindset
– push/pull idea with content and ideas (Diigo meets Google Alerts)
– dashboard of learning analytics within this textbook (what you’ve learned vs what you’ve done)
– how central was your voice in this?
– could this conversation survive in schools?

Table Notes 1 of 2 by David Jakes & our #beyondthetextbook group

Table Notes 2 of 2 by David Jakes & our #beyondthetextbook group

Group 2
– having some pre-made content available, but the option to seek what you want
– clipboard: content is pushed out as teacher creates a resource collection, kids can login and have whatever the teacher wants students to have
– teachers being able to differentiate for students individually (like reading levels)
– UDL features: text to speech
– translation for ELL
– a ‘grabber’ option, like Pintrist and Posterous, social bookmarking for sharing features
– pulling content from where you want
– building a culture of shared knowledge
– ePortfolio: kids creating content

Group 3
– we talked a lot about platform: does it need to go beyond content and let students create around it
– is that then an LMS?
– how do you inspire kids when they are stuck in a classroom all day?

Group 4
– content is open to contributions by many
– product by nature is social, driven by social community at class/school levels
– differentiation by student
– pulling in different modules
– huge warehouse of content, different modules can be pulled together
– participatory
– contributing content not just at teacher level but at student level gets you peer recognition (leader board via drakes)
– we want to collect community intelligence
– community guidelines for teachers and students are important
– “the product celebrates the messiness of getting to understanding”

Angela M:
– we need to shift from celebrating the textbook, to celebrating the teacher’s guide

David W:
– iPad was 1st tech I bought where I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it initially
– function has been clarified with apps developers have created

Jon B:
– instead of discussing ‘what it’ or this will look like,
– flexibility and modularity is key
– Discovery should keep putting out great content, Frozen Planet was really compelling content

Alec C:
– all technologies are heavily value laden
– the values the textbook represents today may not be the values the masses want
– based on idea of scarcity
– misshapen approaches to intellectual property, Napster has changed everything about how we look at ownership of content
– whatever is introduced: we need to look at the value it introduced
– knowledge is much more distributed, malleable: technology reflects this
– we need to acknowledge in this discussion technology can be introducing radically different values into the culture

Joyce V:
– possibilities for gaming here? Role playing, multi-player

David W:
– instead of adopting textbooks, could we have a budget for learning modules in our schools?

This article: “Putting Students on the Path to Learning: The Case for Fully Guided Learning” by AFT was shared via Twitter by Michael Walker as “an example of what we’re up against…”

Now it’s time for lunch!

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  1. […]  I would point you to better reporters, Audrey Watters (Hack Education) and Wes Fryer (here, here, here and here) and others who will come linked in the #beyondthetextbook Twitter thread that certainly […]

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