Free May Not Be Easy: Print to Multimedia

EdWeek outlines the challenges of moving from print to digital:

Most school districts have the technical infrastructure to support the basic digital textbooks of today. But as far as supporting the kinds of textbooks tech-savvy educators would like to see—multimedia-rich, interactive, Web-based materials—schools have some serious catching up to do in increasing network speed and connectivity, providing professional development for teachers, and persuading lawmakers to revisit state textbook-adoption policies.

If districts are worried about multimedia texts, just wait until a curriculum rich with games, sims, virtual environments.  Neeru Khosla from CK12, provider of open high school and college textbooks points to barriers to adoption:

It’s quite a daunting process,” she says. The fiscal situation of California schools, in particular, makes it difficult to embrace innovations, says Khosla, and at this point, digital textbooks are still new territory. “We have to think about things that people haven’t thought about before,” she says, such as what kind of Internet speed and connectivity schools need, the amount of professional development teachers should undergo, what platform and format digital textbooks should be created for, and how to provide the teaching materials that accompany most textbooks.

The article concludes with a review of Beyond Textbooks, a districtwide digital instructional framework in Vail AZ.
Districts and content groups are using Edmodo to share digital curriculum.  Teachers can drag-n-drop an instructional sequence into her library, make final accommodations, and assign work to groups of students.  (Edmodo is a Learn Capital portfolio company)

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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1 Comment

Joe Ganem

How far we have come since the days of "Anytime/ Anywhere" learning project in Junior High. And yet, we have miles to go. I suspect the slowness of progress is due to funding and educators reticence to adapt to change. If they are still uncertain, let them look over their shoulder and see a future filled with textbooks written in Chinese. The battle is on and we aren't going to win by pandering to old ways.
America has the resources. Do we have the will? Will we reset our priorities to ensure a truly educated populus, or become subservient to those that do?


Tom Vander Ark

Remember when Jack Stanford came to a laptop community meeting and said, "I thought we were talking about lapdogs?"

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