(This Chapter updated Sept 24, 2008)
Volume III – Chapter Seven
FUTURE OF ONLINE `TEXTBOOKS' AND MODULES
Papert [of MIT, author of Mind Storms] is working with Nintendo to understand better how people
Textbooks have long been crucial to providing the content of education because they organize information and make it convenient and manageable for learners. The printed textbook, however, is becoming overly expensive for American students, not to mention the world's poor -who desperately need better learning. Also new information is being added to human knowledge so rapidly that a textbook may be out of date by the time it appears in print where digital online textbooks--downloaded from the Internet-- can be regularly revised and updated. Clearly, traditional printed textbooks alone will not be adequate to meet the world's education needs. Fortunately, powerful new technologies can greatly overcome those limitations. The first electronic textbooks arise through the convergence of print, video, sound, film and graphics with a variety of delivery media including cell phones, digital radio, TV and wireless Internet connections. These will converge and the resulting educational instrument may in a decade cost as little as ten dollars. Meanwhile in 2008 one publisher was preparing to offer e-textbooks free to students. (With advertising included?)
Already by September, 2004, many USA high schools had abandoned printed textbooks, replacing them with electronic materials. That, of course, required each student to have a laptop computer, cell phone or other instrument to use in downloading learning materials (until they are combined in another stage of technology.) Some educators are discovering that electronic textbooks can be tailored to the needs of each individual, and textbook publishers are discovering that feedback from students and teachers is as essential as more animation and sound. They will not just link to sources but will contain the sources with multidimensional links. They will let the user try alternative analyses of data and annotate and augment the documentation…making the electronic book a `living document that can be daily updated online for paying users. Then last year's edition can be given free for those who cannot afford the current updated online version.’ For wiki free textbooks, many languages and subjects see: <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page>
Many aboriginal languages, including some Indian languages in the Western Hemisphere, are being lost. And the families of many of the world’s aboriginal children—who have no schools or adequate education-- have an income too small to afford decent schools. And printed textbooks, soon are out of date, are too expensive. Some of the hundreds of thousands of aboriginal children in Peru who are experimenting with X-O computers have never seen a book and most could not afford one. (See MIT Technology Review, June 2008 about hundreds of thousans of X-O's in Peru schools..
The inventive X-O `so called `Hundred Dollar Computer' or OLPC (one laptop per child) , Talbot (see (2008) reported that by 2008 Peru had ordered 486,500 for its poorest school children. Some pupils in the experiment had been using them since the summer of 2007. “The computers came loaded with 115 books including novels, poetry and classics; also introductions for teachers, a word processor, art and music programs, games including chess, a camera that can capture video or still images. They were being given first to fifth graders, many of whom have never seen a book. They can search google and that is the first English word that X-O using youngsters in Cambodia learned.
Ironically, pupils in the poorest Lima slums did not qualify as they had electricity!! So the computers were being given to pupils in 9000 rain forest area schools. So a question here is: what imaginative new exciting kinds of online textbooks should be created and made available free, especially for young poverty-area children who cannot afford printed textbooks? (And later for job training for impoverished, illiterate adults?) The X-O in 2008 was available in only eleven major languages. However, disappearing languages can in time be added.. In time this technology can bring quality education to all of the education-neglected aboriginal children in the world, as well as for otherswhere efforts to build schools have faltered for lack of resources, (The X-O can be turned over and be used as an e-book reader.) Where a learner has no electricity its batteries can be recharged by a wind-up lever.) Probably a future version will include a cell phone now that there are millions of them in Africa. (Corbett 2008) See: Eisenberg (20008) on a cell phone book reader with a roll out page for larger type and a book appearance.
Levy (2007) reported on Amazon's Kindle'--as in kindling a fire--that in 2008 begins to transform `the book.' It is a stage in electronic book development that can highly influence future textbooks, for it is a reading machine that looks and feels like a book. It is connected to the Internet to download book reviews and books. It will enlarge type for people who see poorly. It can can store 200 books and can facilitate interaction between author and readers with feedback. It can search for a word of phrase and can work anywhere. In 2008 a child's KINDLE textbook was unveiled and in May 20008 the X-O computer project announced that by 2010 they would offer X-O-2 that would be somewhat like Kindle with text downloadable onto electronic pages. Perhaps this will help secondary school students and with global-scale job training. Next is a cell-phone size device with a roll out electronic page on which one download textbook pages.
However, where the money and possibilities exist, better education for the poorest and problem children will need more than technology; for example, a tele-center school building that itself teaches and chairs and tables that teach . Also teachers who are counselors and guides, with better salaries. Also in neighborhoods where students are unruly and non-cooperative, a teacher and next year's pupils can go together for six weeks of summer camp before school begins in the fall, where playing together teacher and pupils can develop an affectionate relationship that has been shown to develop better behavior that year in class. Also it is now possible for teachers to have more information about each unique pupil's talents, gifts and needs to be the basis of a tailored program for each (made more possible with electronic textbooks that can be more inspirational and challenging with music, video, etc..
The knowledge explosion and vast amounts of information available online requires textbooks that organize what is needed, and not only for young children. Already available online are many free Wiki textbooks in 37 languages. In time free electronic textbooks and can be made available in every one of the world’s dialects, thus helping preserve Indian and other aboriginal languages that are likely otherwise to disappear, (<http://nativeamericanfuture.blogspot.com>.) . Many steps in this direction are being taken by UNESCO’s online conferences and the Hewlett Foundation’s projects. What is an e-book? Nelson (2008) says that it is an electronic book that can be read digitally on a computer screen , on a special e-book reader" or "even on a mobile phone." Unfortunately too often now they are merely digital forms of printed books. However, that is not the future. E-books can have "interactive features, built-in dictionaries and pronunciation guides, ..video, audio, animation and interactive simulations. Theoretically they can provide materials that can be must cheaper for learners.
announced in July 2008, in relation to the Annual World eBook Fair that
there will be an
Electronic interactive textbooks (interactive to provide for feedback, for example) can be combined with computer/video games related to material. Patten (2007) reported on the creation at the University of Indiana of "Arden and the World of Shakespeare," a multiplayer online game using technology similar to the World of Warcraft that has involved thousands of players all over our planet. A game like Richard III can help players learn geography, language, crafting skills, group dynamics and more, indeed learning in a way that does not seem like homework as they explore places and experiences that are not possible for them in the real world. Many educators were worrying that video games would continue to be too violent, but in 2008 one was built around President Eisenhower's farewell speech on the dangers of the military-industrial complex.
Such projects can now provide every poor child in the world with a many years' worth of textbooks" that are downloadable wirelessly. Also experiments show that digital satellite radio and cell phones can be used to provide educational materials to learners in Africa who otherwise could never have them The Swiss company, EduVision, (Herren 2006) developed the technology. Also an "electronic environment for group work--a textbook wiki of sorts--" can enable students around the world to share information and collaborate "at the same time as it teaches academic material itself." Students in different countries can solve problems together.
Online e-textbooks can be continually upgraded, revised and be available to the learner for a lifetime. PEOI (Professional Educators Organization International) "considers all material subject to update and expansion for ever." Also for each electronic page, there can be a large number of temporary and/or archived files. An editor keeps track of the state of work on any piece of material, a data bank is maintained with the changes made with color coding for proposed material, gray for work in progress blue for material completed and subject to editing and black for content that is approved and published. Beyond that, Justin Hall (2003) has asked why American schools have been so slow to use video games to `captivate young minds.' In South Korea the largest textbook distributor and a software designer have "joined forces to make ...a game in which children study math, science and history." Michael Macedonia and J. C. Herz (2001 Forum) provided illustrations showing how what is being learned from computer games can radically transform learning strategies. A new dimension and shape of digital textbooks may rather unexpectedly come from video games and computer gaming and as "students evolve their own best practice in cyberspace." Online games, Herz says, can "illustrate the learning potential of a network." It may be true of online digital textbooks--as it is now true of many of the commercial computer games that are played by 18 to 34 year olds--that users can continue to develop, improve and expand them once they are on the market. The computer-generated characters in the game do not change, but the players grow and become more challenging to partner players.
One game, Herz reported, attracted a million players who immediately began to improve and enlarge the game, even though that was technically illegal. If only ten thousand of the million players "contributed to innovation in the product," that was "ten thousand people in research and development." Digital textbook producers should be interested in developments beyond `Sim City',- on city planning, that "racked up' 340 million dollars in sales." The designers of The Sims' game "incorporated player feedback and collaboration with others before, during and after the game was released." On learning games see: <http://www.marcprensky.com/>. However, such 3-book developments are `medieval' compared to what is coming. For example, Newsweek, May 23 2005 reported on a new game from the `Sim City' developer where players can learn physics, chemistry and more while simulating the creation of the universe itself, starting with a single cell. It can teach design and creativity. Also on games as a part of electronic textbooks or vice versa see: <http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=198>.Shulman (2007) reported on "games with a purpose"
Textbooks on the Internet already become integrated with course content and curriculum development and planning. For example, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 26, 2007 reported the development of an inter-disciplinary course on Shakespeare that creates the virtual world of 1633, using Google pictures from outer space, to explore history, culture, geography and more that breaks down the boundaries between academic disciplines. The course had proven so successful for both teachers and students that more such courses are planned and some see them as a foretaste of the coming transformation of education.(Blogging is 20% of the course grade.)
So what is next beyond `e-textbooks’ in the coming decades as computer technology becomes more and more powerful and is within everything? A textbook can be adapted to the unique needs and talents of each learner and be made available to everyone in the world. In the 2003 film Homeless to Harvard a student asks a history teacher, "Why do we use photo copied pages instead of a textbook?" The answer is: "Because a textbook presents only one point of view." It can be very helpful for a beginning student to have an electronic history textbook that selects and organizes the chaos of vast data, structuring it around a philosophy of history and presenting it in a manageable way. ELTIS could link every idea or any word to a whole library of original sources and to other opinions and points of view. It will select and organize data from the increasingly vast amount of information and opinion that is available. The authors of the textbook decide what to leave in and leave out and—from the chaotic vast amount of historical information that it available--it creates a framework, an organization to help the learner cope and learn. On the other hand, what is here called the ELTIS online `textbook' can present and link to many points of view.
So the very term `textbook’ is not adequate for a future `electronic learning and tutoring instruments system’ (here called ELTIS). While the meaning of the words `text’ and `book’ may and could change in the future, `text’ implies the printed word and leaves out sound, graphics, film, games and more; and the word `book’ should be used only for pages bound together for convenient and more pleasurable use – even when the pages become `smart paper’ that itself is computerized, such as that already under development at Xerox Parc—to which changing text can be downloaded. David Broder placed online for international use an electronic textbook on robotics that includes three-dimensional images. <http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article10679.phtml>.Already (Zacks 2004) a projector could be included in a cell-phone reader to project a large page onto a bare wall or screen for better reading
In the September-October, 2003 issue of the Futurist, David J. Staley debated whether or not `the book’ has a future. He confirmed our view that it does, but that there will be many kinds of books and e-books. However, the future `book’ is but one `learning resource’ among many that can be part of a new continually changing `electronic learning/tutoring system’ on the Internet—or whatever may expand or replace the web. Before the book, there was the written manuscript and before that the oral recitation and memorization of history and facts. All these have continued into the present, and alongside `the book’ will continue into the foreseeable future, alongside other possibilities we cannot yet imagine. However, it is not only in higher education that learners are no longer responding will to lectures and talk. Soo (2008) proposes hat the boring one-hour lecture can be replaced with a spectacular interactive video that can make learning enthralling.
The emergence of digital electronic books reveals future possibilities and problems. Early in 2004 MIT began putting its entire curriculum on line, free for anyone in the world to use. It is explained that this will be no substitute for an on campus MIT education where students and teacher cooperate in the creation of knowledge as well as in learning how to do creative thinking and use it. No matter how it develops, what we call an ELTIS system cannot replace the human teacher/counselor/tutor/coach/guide—except in situations where no adequately competent teacher is locally available. So who will provide guidance and help to the resident coach/counselor/guide/teacher at the rural tele-center in the poorest parts of Africa, or at the tele-center in slum neighborhoods of a huge Latin American or Asian city? The online tutor who is part of the electronic texstbook system.
A valuable innovative feature of a learners’ ELTIS tutor system may be its streaming video connection to whatever will have succeeded the CD and DVD. This can make it possible in a history course to visit something like the virtual reconstruction of a 2900-year-old Assyrian palace. Prototypes already existed in 2002 at the `Virtual Site Museum’ of the State University of New York, Buffalo (Read 2001). Now a learner can thus at home walk around the rooms of that palace, “focusing on his or her own particular areas of interest” and listen to lectures about what happened there. Learners can use virtual reality `touch-sensitive gloves’ to feel the `virtual sculptures’ they see in this painstakingly accurate virtual reconstruction of the palace, since it is a teaching tool. “While the complete tour may never be posted on the Internet, it will serve as the centerpiece of a DVD that will also feature texts, a bibliography and a timeline detailing museums’ acquisitions.” The project may become a “part of—or even a model for—a `blossoming’ of digital archeology.”
Staley (2003) referred to the 1991 book by Jay David Bolter, Writing Space; The Computer, Hypertext and the History of Writing. Bolter discussed the emerging electronic book in the context of the history of communication--oral, artistic, the invention of writing, the scroll, the codex and the printed book--which, he says, has probably been the most important tool of modern science and education until the arrival of computer technology. The idea and ideal of `the book,' he predicted, “will change; print will no longer define the organization and presentation of knowledge as it has done for five centuries.” The shift to an ELTIS system will make communication more flexible. It will reduce the permanence and inflexibility of printed text and “will reduce the distance between the author and the reader.” Writer and reader have always, in a sense, been partners in the enterprise, but now that relationship will be deepened as computers and related technology make possible a “new writing space.” It may take decades, Bolter said, for all this to unfold, as it did following the invention of the printing press that at first just tended to duplicate hand written manuscripts. Yet the wondered if the electronic book could ever replace the convenient, inexpensiveness and portable printed book; even the pocket-sized battery-powered e-books that can be read in the hammock on summer afternoons; indeed that can hold a library of possibilities for hammock reading? Yes, she `Kindle" below.
For example, in a novels course studying Mark Twain, there could in the ELTIS system be links to all that he wrote, to all criticism, reviews, films, books about Twain and his life, plus film “visits’ to his town of Hannibal, to the Missouri River, to Nevada and other locations for Twain’s work. This would build upon and expand hypertext networks that already do that sort of thing.” There are more and more significant experiments of this sort, such as the "Valley of the Shadow' history project at the University of Virginia. It (Utterback 2004) enabled "students to deeply engage historical materials in a totally new way--to learn by doing, through guided experimentation and mentoring--but also enables them to make scholarly contributions...and break new ground."
How can mass use of electronic materials online system be funded? Publishers and creative teams—artists, scientists and experts in pedagogy and content areas, among others—will need to be paid and will need profits to stay in business. So users and learners might pay to use or download segments much as they now pay for textbooks. If there are billions of users, the charge for segments can be very minimal for brief use, but copyrighted film, TV tapes, dramas, published scholarly monographs or whatever will have varied charges, sometimes very expensive especially the newest and most up to date. Note wiki books <http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page>. Perhaps the first editions of sophisticated texts would be sold to provide funds for writers and sources, then the next year the modules could be made free (or available by voucher) to those who cannot afford to pay?.
At present there are billions of potential learners who cannot afford the best print textbooks. Current kinds of e-books can be connected to the Internet for periodic updating…but who is going to pay for that where incomes of a billion people are two dollars a day? (Not advertising on them, as with some experiments. )However, once the newest scientific discovery and research is used to update the contents, the price of last year's `edition’ can be minimal or even become free to educational institutions. Isn’t MIT in a sense making last year’s `text’ available free of charge? In an ELTIS system new scientific and copyrighted information will have to be very expensive for a time—although there can be a trade system where I give what I have learned to you in exchange for what you have learned. More important, last year’s `second hand textbook’ information can be provided free of charge or at affordable cost to the poorest in the developing world
Printed textbooks have been very profitable for publishing companies. As books have enlarged with full-color graphic illustrations they have become increasingly expensive…and heavy in learner backpacks. Publishing houses want to keep control of the electronic books that will supplement if not always replace printed text. In the future, therefore, the term `e-book’ might best be used for the digitalizing of existing printed textbooks, which then add interactive graphics, web connections and many other excellent features. (As of 2008 publishers are offering many options. Perhaps we should also limit the use of the term e-book to those that can be read only on a book-like `reading appliance’ that may now cost two hundred dollars or more but is going to become very cheap. Such electronic reading appliances can simultaneously hold many books and in time will contain many more features; such as the text of thousands of books on one disc. Because of the expense, few publishers early in the 21st century “have included “snazzy, built-in multimedia elements—like animated maps in history books that show how national boundaries have changed over time—that would make e-books a more compelling teaching tool.” (Blumenstyk 2001). John. R Campbell's McGraw-Hill textbook, Animal Sciences, for example, in 2003 had twenty appended online lectures and many more CD features in international editions. IN 2007 it was being made available in Arabic in a non-profit edition. In 2008 it was being translated into Arabic in the Middle East.
Publishers predict that most people will continue to prefer reading from the printed book rather than on a screen, (see Epstein 2008) it may want both printed and electronic editions. Many textbook publishers push e-book versions—whether the book is downloaded from the Internet or is purchased as software—because it provides a way for the publishing company to preserve its control and profits “within a context of intellectual property rights management enforced by hardware and software systems.” (Lynch 2001) In the future, as with some chain stores, book profits may be pennies on tens of millions of copies rather than dollars on more limited editions. Some pages can be printed out on a by-page charge. The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 11, 2008, reported that two companies are helping students download online textbooks illegally without paying, much as many students have been pirating, downloading and sharing music without paying or permission, to the dismay of book publishes..The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 12, 2008 reported that University Press sales of textbooks has greatly decreased, and that up to 44% of students go online in search of free textbooks. It was also reported that a professor chose to help students by putting the new textbook he had written online in digital form, and had arranged for two experimental publishers to offer a print edition at a very low price.
Already, of course, there are other creative compromises, and various types of electronic books will no doubt continue to compete and co-exist at the same time. Some venders encourage professors to create their own electronic CD or Web page textbooks, selecting material from many sources as long as they pay royalties for the use of the chapters or journal articles. Those costs, of course, are passed on to the learner. Publishers can build in controls to make sure that their product can be used only when they are paid and can make it impossible to copy. Therefore the text will disappear at the end of the term. Lynch (2001) discussed some alternatives and problems.
Hundreds (perhaps 5000?) of e-books are now available from major publishers. Most of them in 2008 tended to continue the lecture form of instruction while neglecting many more effective teaching possibilities provided by new technologies such as electronic games. This has been true at the turn of the century whether the textbook is supplied on CD-ROM, on a Web page or via the Internet. And as more and more students have personal computers, especially laptops, this is the way that e-books are read at the turn of the century. On one approach to publishers to make online courses easy to prepare, see: <http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/?name=News&file=article&sid=8590>.
Smith (2002) reported efforts to create RLOs --Reusable Learning Objects--that can contain `metadata tags' to identify authors, technologists and publishers so that "anyone who adds value will be compensated" as "the user pays for information." RLO's will be available on the `data grid" (an aspect of what may replace the Internet) and can include "multimedia content, instructional content, , learning objectives, instructional software...and tools," plus needed information about people, organizations and events. Other ways to fund and provide profit will also be found. http://www.microsoft.com/reader/default.asp.
3.7.2 "TEXTBOOK" TAILORED TO LEARNER AND SUBJECT
A report (MIT 2000) said that handheld devices would soon move computers from personal to intimate as a new generation of wireless networking begins to keep everyone connected all the time. Circuit boards are now being created for the next generation of handheld devices to access the Internet and films. “They blend humans and machines perhaps better than any prior invention.” They are being readied for the next stage of network development--the mobile Internet--and are “harbingers of an explosion” that may dwarf the growth of personal computers. Indeed, some maintain that computers as we know them are already beginning to disappear into more helpful devices that can even be built into clothing to keep hands free.
In 2003 it was anticipated that a billion people would soon be able to access the Internet through portable wireless devices, perhaps like an ‘electronic-tutor book.’ On existing demonstrations of automatic tutors that can be included in an ELTIS learning system, see Bork (1990, 2000, 2002 and web pages such as http://www.ics.uci.edu/~bork/iCS.htm. . Physicist Alfred Bork (3.9) proposes an automated tutor for for global use. It based on thirty years of experience at the University of California, Irvine. The `skilled tutor’ can be made available in a students' native language and can provide a learner with something meaningful every twenty seconds, such as reply in free form fashion to a question from the computer. Learning units allow individual pacing and students may use different learning strategies. Additional help within the program is available until all students achieve mastery, regardless of gender, race, economic status, handicaps, or other factors. An automated tutor could also include an `ombudsman.'
Benjamin Bloom, Bork has said, has shown that mastery is possible for all students. “This is democracy in learning. People should participate in the world on an equal basis” providing all learners with the opportunity to realize their potentials. Bork’s own experimentation has been in science. Instead of just `telling’ students the important results of science, the automated science-tutor helps each student discover and create scientific laws and use them. Students themselves work as scientists in making these discoveries. A program for discovering MendelIan genetics, for example, “is in the Scientific Reasoning Series where even very young children construct their universe in this fashion, and all students, given appropriate learning environments, can actively create their own knowledge.” Cheating can be reduced if the instructor sets the system so that a learner cannot move on to the next level until essential content is undersood or mastered.
Bork has proposed that learners be encouraged by the computer program to work in `learning circles’ of about four, for the benefits of peer interaction. Learning is enhanced when technology directly links students into “collaborative learning groups” which can be established electronically and take place online. “Highly interactive units involve students actively all the time. The computer stores student information frequently so that these records to guide future interactions The units and the full courses will work both in resident classes and distance learning.” On evaluation of e-books: <http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march03/diaz/03diaz.html>.
Student assessment is different in this sort of mastery environment, as compared to a standard course. The system constantly probes to find what the learner does not know. For the learner, this testing and assessment is not distinguished from learning in a seamless process. Students are not criticized for learning problems but offered additional help. The learning modules will be tested with large numbers of users of all type, using them in different kinds of situations, at home, in class and in informal environments. They will be usable with distance learning in any location, and at any time. No fixed schedule will be necessary.
Those who were impressed with the Internet at the turn of the century may be astonished at the way a networked ELTIS learning system could smooth `the rough edges of intellectual life.’ So far, connecting a cell phone into the Internet has required more efficient miniaturization of memory, processing, power supply, keypad and screen. Soon learning instruments will have astonishing computer power and connecting abilities. In time the electronic tutor part of ELTIS will likely enable learners to take much more control over their education. Their learning system will be continually connected to the Internet through wideband wireless access and will contain all the content and everything that is needed for a course; for example all recommended lectures (with a choice of printed text, audio or video), access to `frequently asked questions,’ proposals for Internet chat discussion-seminars, movies as illustrations, and navigation maps to help learners move through vast amounts of optional material. In addition to the course outline and syllabus, reading lists, proposals for discussion sessions and regular announcements, the automatic tutor can provide regular automatic testing while a learner studies. To make sure he or sje is mastering the essentials, it can provide evaluations and grading at the end of each module/segment. (Some of these features can be seen at <http://www.metatext.com> - <http://www.sirs.com> - <http://www.course.com> And we may still be talking about primitive beginnings!
Also an electronic tutor-book—part of an ELTIS system--could be made to look like a book and be read like a book. McDonahue (2002) described a plastic electronic book page that is made from recyclable materials and which when discarded is biodegradable. It can be read like a book but content, using electronic ink, can be replaced from time to time. This and other kinds of e-texts can be continually be revised and updated through its Internet and Web page connections. Learners can add their own highlighting, annotations, and can add for instant retrieval their own personal indexing to the built-in comprehensive index. As soon as a learner begins to use it, the tutor goes to his or her computerized profile to adapt the current project to his or her learning style and previous knowledge, etc. –thus customizing the learning module or unit for his or her individual use. Previous knowledge? Yes, existing computers already have the capacity to store most of what an individual has learned in a mechanical memory that can be easily and quickly searched for something the learner cannot at the moment remember. If learners come to a foreign word they can touch it with the pen that replaces a computer mouse, and immediately the word is translated. If the optional definitions offered are not satisfying, learners can bring onto that page an encyclopedia paragraph with more detailed and graphic explanations and links to sources. Learners can move text to their own electronic notebook section --or to a stored term paper being written --to insert a quotation, a paragraph of text, a photo or graphic table. (Plagarism will be difficult because the source of the material is automatically cited in a form that cannot be removed.) If the learner finds an appealing new idea that is not immediately needed, it can be added to his or her personal memory system.
It would be
a big mistake, however, to judge the potential future of electronic
learning materials by what is now available and on the drawing boards, however useful and exciting they may be.
In the future, Bolter suggested, the e-book “can change for each reader and each reading.” Sometimes the learner will want to browse a vast reservoir as now one browses in a library of books. For serious learning, however, the `digital textbook' will need to be organized around current priorities. Instead of just text and photographs, and that are also still linear, and ELTIS system will be able to jump around as the human mind does, its multimedia structure having more in common with the index at the back of a book. In time it will automatically translate materials from other verbal languages as well as picture languages, such as artistic and scientific symbols, math, music and computer languages. Aldrich (2003) has written about "rules for a post-textbook world." that will "reflect and enrich learning" and that would make use of all three `content types:' linear, cyclical and open-ended.
What Bolter called the electronic writing space can be “extremely malleable. It can be fashioned into one tree or a forest of trees.” The `tree,’ the hierarchy of ideas (paragraphs, chapters for example), is an attempt to impose order on chaos. “The act of writing itself can release a flood of ideas. An index transforms a `tree’ into a network, giving birth to hypertext, a literature of interconnected documents. A hypertext network can be extended indefinitely and hypertext can become hypermedia with films, graphic images and sounds, etc., not just written text.” In TV, he says, text is absorbed into the video image; the televised image becomes part of the text. “The computer makes possible a kind of historical atlas in which battles and and the growth of population and cities are shown in time as well as in space,” hopefully to enhance the imagination rather than replacing it as TV and films often do.
Future electronic learning materials--often modules-- can be--in ways we cannot yet imagine--more dynamic and modifiable, much more under the learner’s control. More than conventional printed materials, they can be more flexible for adapting to different cultures and instructional situations, and, therefore, will not need to be “watered down to the least common denominator,” as is often the case with printed books that are limited by lack of space (Bolter 1991). Wulf (2003) has pointed out that humanity has "the tools to make all books available to everybody." For ten million dollars "all published works of humankind back to the Sumerian tablets" can be digitally stored with connectivity and search capacity. Rather than just `doing away with paper,' learners can have an enhanced learning and physical world."
An online ELTIS
`textbook’ system’ could also be continually improved and regularly
updated (by multiple editors in many languages and research areas) to take account of feedback from users, both students and
teachers, and from researchers.. Rather than being discarded after
use, it can continually grow in quality, as the users become partners in
the process of continuing updating and evaluation and feedback. Much of
this feedback could be automatically built into the process so that
extra time for evaluation of materials is not required of the users.
Electronic materials could themselves keep a record of how they are
used. A most important
experiment and demonstration—available for several years--was Dean
Thomas J. Mitchell’s (1996) experiment. MIT Press published his book,
City of Bits, in both print—with attached CD-ROM--and online
editions. In the online edition, readers could enter an `electronic
agora’ (or meeting place) and go to any section of the texts to make
comments and to read comments left there by previous readers. The
footnotes and endnotes of the online edition were linked web pages and
readers were invited to add web addresses. Thus, Mitchell has reported,
the online book “became a conveniently organized entry point for
exploring an enormous amount of related information.”
The online version made possible a hierarchical structuring of the book’s content and “the operating of searching.” Readers appreciated having both the hardback print edition and the online edition, each useful for different purposes. The print edition in hand was convenient for scanning. For more serious study, the online edition presented hotlinks to click on Aristotle’s Politics, for example, with “immediately access the relevant passage, online, in either English or Greek.” The team that kept the book up to date could regularly add new relevant links found by search engines. The two major problems encountered during the experiment were: (1) finding and removing links to web pages that were no longer there. Special software helped with that. (2) The worry that advertisements and inappropriate material would be added to the agora. For a textbook, that discussion area could with the use of passwords be limited to those registered in a class or otherwise authorized. A survey conducted by Crocker (2002, much detail at <http://www.planetebook.com>) found the more advantageous e-book features to include: text search; the ability to open the book at the place it was last used; updating of book from the Web or network; the fact that a reader can create his or her own in index and search across a series of e-books; and the ability to change the format, for example to provide larger type or page format and to include one's own electronic notes in the margins.
The 21st century, we hear it said, will see a fusion of the real world and the world of media. The book, even that on computerized paper, could `burst from its confines and undergo a profound transformation.’ At the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Tokyo, Rekimoto Jun'ichi has been working on a system that uses a terminal, known as the NaviCam, to pick up previously embedded information -- from a sensor in a wall, for example. The NaviCam then downloads data, linked to the embedded information from a network such as the Internet. The user can display the downloaded information on a computer screen. If a link of this sort in placed in the wall next to an exhibit at a university teaching museum, the NaviCam will respond to that signal and provide a lecture and the NaviCam then will guide him to the next relevant exhibit. For an illustration of the use of three-dimensional moving illustrations.
The same Sony system could be used to create a `module or e-book' with bar codes--and their improved sequels--on each page. As a learner turns the pages, the NaviCam reads the bar codes, accessing a network, and downloading relevant information. Such a system could put the latest information at any learner’s fingertips at all times. Wearing a virtual reality headset, a learner could view a 3D model of a molecule or a 3D image of a dinosaur fossil. Or the system could be used to create a` book’ of nothing but links. The pages would appear blank but link to information for the NaviCam to access. The contents of a novel, a dictionary, or a picture book are stored on a network server; and the learning instrument in a student’s hand is nothing more than the link to this information, because all the contents are on a network where adding to it or updating is simple. The actual process of `turning the pages' and gleaning new information from every `page' is the same as before; the electronic paper volume can still serve as a learner’s point of departure for accessing information. Such a system has tremendous potential for encyclopedias and other reference works from which we seek the most up-to-date information possible.
Even at high resolutions, few learners never have been completely comfortable reading text on a display screen, even the best like <http://www.mattbamberger.com/Main/updates/TheSonyLibrie>. In 2008 Amazon began to offer Kindle (for kindling a fire). This next stage electronic book looks, feels and reads like an ordiinary printed book. However bookcan be downloaded to its electronic paper pages. It need no screen or electricity connection (In time its battery can be recharged as pages are turned. It can be held the hand, can turn to whatever page we like, and can be read at our own pace. Kindle can store 200 books and download one in a few seconds. Couple this with access to a network, and there can be a true fusion of physical and virtual reality. Note that future role of picture language: <http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol7/issue3/gammack.html#Conclusions> Font can be enlarged for readers with limited vision (and in time can read aloud to the blind or to those who want to listen to it while walking, plowing a field, waiting in line for a bus or, while lying in bed.. At MIT it is suggested that the graphics or movie content can be projected onto special eye glasses.
The `T’ for technology in an ELTIS learning system can be almost invisible, portable and it can replace a laptop computer, for computers will have like electric motors almost completely disappeared. Learners can listen to it and give it verbal instructions while jogging, bicycling, driving a car or just walking or standing in line. At times a learner goggles are a `monitor screen.” When a question occurs, learners have only to talk to send it to a search engine or to a professor via e-mail. Also from time to time they can put automatically into the seminar web page any ideas or questions that occur to them while reading. They can save for the face-to-face seminar any photos, graphics, or text they might want for class use or for discussion. With this personal activity mixed up with learning and study, learners can all the time be alert to both. On intelligent e-books that respond to the user.
However, it will be a long time before much of this technology can be afforded for the developing world. So once Internet of Satellite connections are available to any school, an interim system can be provided like the `Digital bookmobile project' in Uganda. `AnywhereBooks’ in 2004 was enabling the national library of Uganda to download, `print-on-demand' and bind books from the internet and distribute them to schools, libraries and children. The bookmobile was delivering, on paper, subject-oriented journal articles, pharmaceutical information and books. There are many other such experiments.
Types of digital or e-textbooks can help transform education in the first half of the 21st century as they begin to include all necessary information, link to needed resources and provide continual automated testing to guarantee mastery of each unit. They can include some automated tutoring, or explanations as once demonstrated in the Voyage of Mimi visit to a museum in the Yucatan. When visiting it via interactive television (in a way similar to the recorded lecture often available as one contemplates a work of art in a museum) a learner approaching a particular item in the museum could access an explanatory lecture by a historian, or an archeologist or an anthropologist. More interesting for a future ELTIS system, that lecture could be different for different kinds of visitors, different for a child, a secondary school pupil, a graduate student, a teacher or for a top expert for a scholar in that field.
These and other trends suggest that the technology that does the most now to transform education and empower future learning may be as different as the motorcycle is from a space ship. A few learners, studying together outside of class could interconnect the ELTIS system to work together on a math problem in biology. Each can have `personal assistant’ avatar, that when properly programmed, can keep working for a learner, during class, recreation, meals, or during sleep That `virtual self ‘can search a million web pages, can organize the information it finds and put it in the right place in one of a learners outlines, thus make it possible to do ten times as much research than would otherwise be possible The ELTIS tutor will call to a learner’s attention related information collected in previous courses or personal reading. It has access to thousand of books, films and other materials in a learner has collected in a personal electronic library; not only those on the course bibliography, but also all the dictionaries and reference books that might be needed and any books/materials the learner has indexed from previous study. His or her avatar knows how to find and scan tables of contents, bibliographical notes, library catalogs, distant databases and the most important critical reviews of books and journal articles from various perspectives. The avatar can especially call attention to unanswered questions and areas of needed research. On George Landow and hyperweb see: <http://www.altx.com/int2/george.landow.html>.
A learner’s avatar (<http://www.isi.edu/isd/ADE/ade.html> ) can have access to many short-cuts and systems that free up more study time and enable creative work at a greater depth that the student of 2004 can believe; especially the way he or she can participate in original research projects which his professors are conducting locally or on another continent. On an Accounting course, for example can make use of excellent electronic modules for the best available instruction. (Such packages were already in 2002 being `manufactured’ for the 25 basic introductory or remedial courses offered by nearly all colleges.) The resident instructor in Accounting can therefore spend all class time (seminars) on ethical and other crucial issues in Accounting. Since students do most of the preparation and research themselves, these seminars become an engaging form of teaching that often only top graduate students and faculty had in 2002. For French class the tutor-book takes over nearly all of the boring routine and drill work and makes it possible for Leon to discuss French history, culture, literature, etc., with students in France who are studying English.
How else might a learner use an online ELTIS textbook? Dede of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s article, “The Future of Learning Technologies, in the Sept./Oct. 2004 Innovate provided an example.. An inner city student where asthma is a growing problem can use a simulation game (1) to assess daily the severity of a friend’s asthma by measuring lung capacity, (2) in the context information from a national database, and (3) using a map that provides “color visualizations” that show complex ecological, meteorological and pollution factors that affect asthma in the region. (4) The student compare the data she collects with findings elsewhere in “order to recommend allergy alerts and design public service announcements. (5) For the student this can also involve learning about biology, epidemiology and urban planning. (6) In a MUVE simulation she can in the future imagine herself `on the other side of the screen” (as in ALICE IN wonderland, on the other side of the looking glass), playing different roles: researcher, physician, teacher, and as having asthma herself. (7) She can explore how to solve some crucial social, political and economic problems involved in causing autism. (8) Also she “learns complex inquiry skills such as hypothesis formation and experimental design via a MUVE dimension of her electronic textbook. Dede also discussed how a Middle School student in Milwaukee--as he navigates the Starship Enterprise-- learns math, and engineering as he maintains the warp engines, and anthropology as he learns to communicate with alien species. net via satellite digital radio.
THE DISTANCE LEARNER'S ELECTRONIC MATERIALS\
Meanwhile a 2005 article (<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4304375.stm> Web initiative was launched in November 2005 to “connect anyone with Internet access to a world of free, high-quality open educational materials. This Development Gateway Foundation's "Open Educational Resources" portal aims to equalize access to education and help people in developing countries improve their chances for a better life.” Available will free course materials and other educational content offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Chinese Open Resources for Education and other institutions around the world. While content on the Open Educational Resources portal is particularly geared to educators, students and self-learners in developing countries it is available for everyone. The goal is to encourage more citizens and universities in the developing world to tap into the wealth of free, educational resources available online so more people have a chance to improve their lives and their future. The African Virtual University is the hub for a network of African universities working together to support open, distance and eLearning initiatives via 57 learning centers in 28 African countries. See: <http://topics.developmentgateway.org/openeducation>. (Or try Google.)
An ELTIS system and materials can make learning more interesting and help ill-prepared teachers (perhaps everyone as the knowledge explosion expands like an infinite universe) do a better job. Learners will begin to use ELTIS in early childhood and will continue to use it lifelong. It will also aid primary and secondary school students who are increasingly ill behaved in class because of boredom and because films and TV have caused them to have less interest in printed text. Blair (2001) reported that an increasing number arrive at higher education unable to read very well. Few qualified teachers at the turn of the century wanted to take on the challenge of working in those urban school systems where a high percent of students live in poverty. Guttman (2001) found that many countries now face the same problem as the United States where “up to 50 percent of teachers leave the profession within the first three to five years.”. Electronic books may make it possible for teachers to supervise the learning of more students, essential because of the teacher shortage. Also, e-tutor-books can help the more than half of American physics and math teachers who are not qualified to teach. Faster learning to read at the kindergarten level can occur when a child can, for example, touch the word `table' in he electronic book and be shown a photo of a table. The electronic math textbook will lead a learn as each stage is mastered to the next and next stages until it culminates at the most advanced and sophisticated math, and by the junior high level it can contain a program like `mathematica' that can automate simple math so that a learner can quickly move to new uses of imagination iin math.
The SYLVAN system (Yang 1996)--that could translate through its high quality dictionaries that at the turn of the century--had encoded more than 2.4 million words and expressions and facilitated “automatic linguistic analysis.” In 2005 a learner could use such dictionaries online as the LEO German-English on-line dictionary with high speed, with a hyperlinks key words to other words in the same semantic network. It provided grammar information, information on easily confused words and a ways for users to make comments and suggestions. Those sorts of help can more and more become available when learners or teachers encounter a new idea or something else unknown. For example, the Hitachi World Encyclopedia led the user to ”335 magazine-related entries listed by geographic location” and “a conceptual map” to make it eas for the user to find what is needed. (Hitachi 2000) That was just the beginning. “The encyclopedic approach to `ordering' history and culture, to examining those worlds with loving but critical care” (Ferris 2000) offers “a sweeping view of the landscape of knowledge.” Steps towards the cosmopedia (Futurist, May/June , 2004)—the bringing together of a comprehensive inventory of all knowledge—are underway as encyclopedias in all countries and cultures bring together their experience and share it with the globe. For example, in the USA the National Endowment for the Humanities has been harnessing the talents of thousands of scholars to create encyclopedias that “will focus their gaze state by state, region by region, city by city.” In time such electronic reference books will be inter-linked and available online in formats accessible to people at different stages of learning
Already in 1998 “the Scribner American History and Culture CD-ROM was planned so that users could instantaneously search the ten volumes of the Dictionary of American History, the three volumes of the Encyclopedia of American Social History and the two-volume Dictionary of American Biography.” And any such search could include maps, chronologies, prepackaged search paths and “make the process fun.” (Miller 1998). . Linking every word to a dictionary or search engine is discussed in Educause, April 2005.. Many open source free textbooks are offered by: <http://www.peoi.org/Partners/Partnersen/partnersframe.html>. They are intended for use by insructors but also ocan be made available to online students.
Picture a learner who lives in a developing country that in 2020 is still poor and she has no way to get to a campus. She has tried correspondence courses with lessons sent back and forth by a very slow post office. However, just one of the many textbooks she needed could cost as much as her family’s income for an entire month. Pirated publishing was very common; that is, one copy of a book was bought and then photocopies of crucial pages were shared. But even a photocopy of a hundred pages could cost an African learner her food money for a month. That discouraging situation could end when she begins to use a `community learning tele-center center’ and its TV, VCR and CD player.
Dertouzos has shown that a video-movie style of learning can be
extended to show people how to deal with personal conflict and other
aspects of human relationships as well as how to repair a car. He has
suggested that a learner could use simulations of “a friendship,
marriage or divorce situation” and “be wiser for it.” Similarly a
learner could live out alternative solutions to potentially violent
situations, or to the implications of moral versus immoral behavior.
Dertouzos also proposed that a `tutor’ could engage learners with
questions and interaction while something is being constructed. Also
the computer system could build
a `map’ of each learner’s strengths and weaknesses. The
automated tutor can then “exercise weak spots by tailoring problems to
strengthen them.” Traditional
universities have sought to organize and package information and by
creating courses and textbooks. Soon now, for the learner who is engaged
in distance learning at a neighborhood tele-center, that packaging
process can in time involve ELTIS electronic `modules’ and
`courseware’ that include lectures, readings, discussions,
experiments, demonstrations, and even videotaped field trips. For
reasons of economy and technology limitations, a distant learner may do
only what is essential on the Internet, her important learning for a
time supplemented with CD textbooks, videotapes, audio tapes and
computer cassettes. Until
an ELTIS-type system is available, those kinds of `textbook packages’
are the first step into a worldwide electronic learning system. On t he
future of electrornic textbooks:
The development of ELTIS will require much research, bringing together many kinds of learning devices into a globally available electronic textbook replacement that will involve continuing feedback from users, teachers and learners, as well as the expertise and experimentation of those developing many kinds of technology that may be brought together in learning devices within an ELTIS system. The Sept./Oct. 2004 issue of Educause, has articles including Joel Foreman’s, “Game Based Learning: How to Delight and Instruct in the 21st Century,” and articles on blogging, mobile technology, `wikis' as well as video computer and video gaming. Foreman also has an article, “Video Game Studies and the Emerging Instructional Revolution” in the Sept./Oct 2004 online journal Innovate in which he reports research in many universities, including that of Peter Raad of the `e-center’ at Southern Methodist University who says it will “affect not just the curriculum but every aspect of instruction from kindergarten forward as an integral part of an instructional revolution.”
Can an opposition/critic be built into every instructional system from the design stage? Learners need help in choosing between alternatives. It has been the job of Hiroshi Ishi (1990), “computer-supported cooperative work” researcher at the Human Interface Laboratories in Japan, “to help people think together across boundaries of time, space and different cultures.” His experience in academic groups such as the Association for Computing Machinery led him to be aware of “the importance of culture in the design of computer-supported communication tools.” How people use tools is affected by culture, and software for international electronic education must be based on an adequate understanding of the nature of cross-cultural communication. Now that “the telecommunications infrastructure for delivering powerful information tools to large numbers of people is being built,” he said, “it is time to devote more effort to the human side of the system.” People should interact through computers, not with them. Emerging high-speed networks and other communications technologies “have created the foundation for doing things with groups of people that haven’t been possible before.” But first “we must design systems that will help people overcome the cultural barriers to communication.”
In the earliest schools and universities lecturers were needed to transfer information to the minds (or notes) of the learner. Then when printing was invented, the lecturer began to publish, making his knowledge available to a wider audience. Ideally his lectures the next year did not repeat what the students could read in his book but instead updated and enlarged his thought in response to criticisms by other scholars. The time formerly required to cover the basic content of a subject area could then be given to seminars, to discussion and debate with students, to tutoring and guiding the reading of students, and to reading and responding to the writing of students. Learners who cannot physically go to a campus, can already meet online (largely e-mail) with a distant professor, and soon for such a seminar, alongside learners in other countries with an ELTIS philosophy of sharing and learning together, not just transferring knowledge.
Learners using an ELTIS multimedia need not just “read about the chemistry of rubber, they can participate in the experiment. They do not just read about Jupiter but board a spaceship to visit the planet. Literacy becomes much more than the ability to read text. Nadin (1988) has pointed out that we are entering an era of different kinds of illiteracies. Resnik (2001) wants people to be digitally fluent; that is that is to know how to construct with digital technology, comparable to the ability to discuss complex ideas in a foreign language. Until now, literacy-based education has helped with the use of language and numbers, but “not in the use of sounds, colors and shapes.” Now “the goals of education will have to be redefined” to integrate the visual, the kinetic, the aural and the synesthetic. This means that “education has to become `a living process,” involving access to all kinds of information sources. Instead of speaking of "digital divide" educators should be coping with a `fluency divide.' The access gap can be bridged while the fluency gap remain, Resnik says. Music students can participate in online events, as seen in <http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/arts/music/23MIDG.html>.
A professor in Greece in an e-mail suggests
that "what will be more interesting, perhaps, is to help the children
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The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View