The future textbook? Wrong question. Better to ask What’s the future of the textbook?

Textbooks of Tomorrow
Via: I love this graphic. It’s a great illustration of what today’s textbook could look like. But I think it’s more like the text book of this afternoon. It will be a little disappointing if this is all we have tomorrow. I’m not knocking textbooks as such, but we already have them. No amount of interactivity changes the fundamental structure and function of the text book as a vehicle for what John Seeley Brown has called Cartesian pedagogy, or teaching as knowledge transfer. The future textbook? Maybe we need to ask what is the future of the textbook. The exciting part of Apple’s foray into eBooks is not, as I’ve said elsewhere, textbook pricing, distribution or interactivity. It’s the way Apple has made it possible for students and teachers to make their own books. If we think there is any substance to socially-constructed knowledge,tomorrow we’ll be looking at socially-constructed textbooks, things made in-class or perhaps collaboratively with several classes. It’s the change in authoring that’s revolutionary. Socrates distrusted print because it stunted dialogue: print takes on an air of unquestionable authority that inhibits critique. And he’s not weong. Maybe, with rapid authoring and editing tools like iBook Author, we can ease his mind.

One Comment

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    Joe Campbell January 24, 2012

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