Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Active Book and America's Education Future: The Trust Factor

The textbook becomes increasingly outmoded. TExtbooks delivered content centuries after historical events had occurred, through the misperceptions of committees, and scholars that had a lock on how the information was delivered to the masses.

Committees even now decide what our students read, and they still rely on old texts, though they may be updated continually by, of course, committee. Big publishers have a sranglehold on the budgeting process and the delivery model. What we need is a device to send into the classroom that can deliver real time content, interactive content, and serve as a communication device.

But we have computers and the internet. Yes, but how many schools really let children build something with those devices? And do they really replace the textbook?

Amazon has come out with a support system for building active content on the Kindle. Before the much rumored Apple tablet comes out, here is your game-changer for now.

It's interesting that an online bookseller may be able to take the first steps towards bringing education a mix of active content, learning material and communications on an interactive hand-held device. Weren't the mobile phones supposed to do this years ago?

An active, real-time connected book appears, and education will again be challenged with the capitalist-market idea that it's not so much about learning the three Rs. It's about understanding that the world is global, interactive and not about what happens in a bricks and mortar classroom.

Traditional textbooks used to be about this, too, but they delivered content centuries after historical events happened, and, as I said before, scholars and experts, editors and gatekeepers delivered what looked right, true and sincere in the eyes of history's witnesses. That is true for every kind of content from mathematics and literature, to psychology to recipes.

But they are outdated and this kind of editing and delivery has become outdated. Now we can actually talk and engage with the legacies and the people those textbooks talk about, as they make those events that centuries ago would be considered important historical events, insights, eureka moments, etc.

At stake with the advent of real-time interactive devices is a breakdown of institutions that were built to support the creation of the systems that support these insights. We are beginning to see that everyone can have these insights, or start history, or create new models.

All we have to do is open the doors.

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