The Hybrid Classroom

21st Century Learning

The First All Digital Science Textbook...Wow!!

DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE US A COMMENT!!!


Science textbooks are born as clunky, out-of-date tomes the moment they roll
off the printing press. Research simply moves too fast for the
publishing industry to keep up. Digital texts could end this cycle.

Textbooks designed to be all-digital and interactive from the start (as opposed to simply converting print books) could bring not only
salvation to schools because they’re easily updated, but also a
revolution in how students learn science. Yet publishers are
comfortable with a $5 billion-per-year college textbook industry that
has recently seen price increases outpace inflation by more than 250
percent, and 99 percent of the market is tied to paper.

One not-for-profit organization is done waiting for the digital textbook revolution.

‘We’re trying to exploit the human brain, like videogames do.’

Within two and a half years, the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, named after the naturalist and founder, hopes to complete a 59-chapter digital textbook about biology called Life on Earth. As each chapter is finished, the foundation plans to put it into the hands of anyone who wants it. For free.

We have video of the first chapter, “Cell Division,” with interactive animations that will be integral to the text (see above).
It will be available for download within a few weeks.

“I had taught elementary biology for 42 years, and I didn’t need a lot of explanation to see immediately what a big difference this could
make,” Wilson said of the book in a promotional video (see below).
“This is, in my opinion, an authentically revolutionary advance in
science and technology education.”

Life on Earth digital textbookNeil Patterson, director of Life on Earth with 50 years of science textbook publishing experience to his name,
said the format could revolutionize science education for students.

“Motion and film are powerful ways of teaching,” Patterson said. “We’re trying to exploit the human brain, like videogames do, and it’s
not a small matter to use technology now available to us.”

By no “small matter,” Patterson means money. Completing the book’s chapters, laced with high-end interactive animations and video
interviews with Nobel laureates, could cost as much as $10 million.

“No publisher is doing what we’re doing, which is developing, from scratch, a serious digital textbook,” Patterson said. He added that
only $1 million of that funding — half of it from Life Technologies
Foundation — is in place, and the remaining $9 million remains to be
seen from private and public donors. “It’s expensive, but once you’re
done you can keep it up to date across time, globally, essentially free
of charge.”

The foundation plans to sell university-level editions for about 10 percent of the cost of the average print textbook, in part to fund that
continuous updating. Kindergarten through 12th grade editions will be
free.

Patterson said the idea is to provide any student in the world unprecedented learning tools, but acknowledged imminent backlash from
profit-seeking publishers.

“If we give away our stuff and they’re trying to sell it, that’s a serious threat,” Patterson said. “That will be disconcerting to them,
but eventually these publishers will be trying to produce what we’re
producing.”

Looming threats to the print industry aside, the effort isn’t without its digital critics.

Matt MacInnis, founder and CEO of digital publishing startup Inkling, said textbooks “have not yet evolved to meet the needs of today’s student.” But he suspects Life on Earth — which may come packaged with a homework server, community forums, a
student data hub and other systems — will have to compete with school
districts’ existing multimillion-dollar investments in similar products.

“I think it’s wonderful to see innovation like this, and it’s noble to make great content available to schools free of charge, but I hope
they’re thinking beyond the book,” MacInnis said. “By that I mean why
would I, as a school, want to mess around with so many systems just for
one text?”

Morgan Ryan, Life on Earth project director and a textbook developer of 20 years, didn’t discount such problems, but thinks content is king.

“If you can create something vital for classrooms, something that they need, it will find its way into those classrooms,” Ryan said,
noting that schools will be free to use whatever portions of the book
they see fit. “We’re aiming for the highest quality of content and the
lowest threshold of access possible here.”

Regardless of the digital content teachers choose, affordable reading devices remain the biggest hurdle to student access.

“We’ve gone from the $999 laptop to $499 iPad in no time at all,” MacInnis said. “I’m optimistic that in three to five years, device
costs will no longer be a barrier.”



Read More http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/wilson-free-biology-textb...

Views: 46

Comment

You need to be a member of The Hybrid Classroom to add comments!

Join The Hybrid Classroom

Latest Activity

Luis Casiano Ndong Mikue and Matinga Ragatz are now friends
Feb 27, 2014
Profile Icon2 members updated their profile photos
ThumbnailThumbnail
Aug 24, 2011
Chad Kaylor updated their profile
Aug 24, 2011
Profile IconSteve Gough, Chad Kaylor, Linda Rosenkranz and 1 more joined The Hybrid Classroom
Aug 23, 2011
Dan Sherman posted a discussion

Online Summer Math Programs - proven to reverse summer learning loss

Research shows that most students lose more than 2 months of math skills over the summer.  TenMarks summer math programs for grades 3-high school are a great way to reverse the summer learning loss - 82% of students who used TenMarks increased their scores in a post summer evaluation. There are more than 30 different programs, personalized and ideal for all levels of learning and achievement. “Step-Up” programs to review last year and preview the next; “Foundation” programs to build core skills…See More
Jun 2, 2011
Joanna Montgomery updated their profile photo
May 12, 2011
Joanna Montgomery is now a member of The Hybrid Classroom
May 11, 2011
Matinga Ragatz left a comment for jenifer
"Welcome to the Hybrid Classroom.  Please tell us what brings you here!"
Feb 16, 2011
jenifer is now a member of The Hybrid Classroom
Feb 16, 2011
JD MOK left a comment for Matinga Ragatz
"Hello Matinga!! Nice to meet you .... I am JD ..Korean teacher.. And I'm happy to see again throogh email...after mspil seminar. I have a qeustion. Maybe ..do you call me ..because I got international call on Wed in Korea.. I am busy ... I…"
Feb 10, 2011
Matinga Ragatz left a comment for patricia
"Welcome to the hybrid classroom.  Please take a minute to tell us what brings you here."
Feb 8, 2011
Matinga Ragatz left a comment for Lauren Sager
"Welcome to the Hybrid Classroom.  Don't forget to tell us what brings you here!!!"
Feb 8, 2011
Matinga Ragatz left a comment for JD MOK
"Welcome to the Hybrid Classroom. Sorry for the extremely long wait.  I have been traveling a ton and spreading the love about the hybrid classroom philosophy.  Please feel free to post questions, answer stuff and even post blog entries…"
Feb 8, 2011
Profile IconJD MOK and Lauren Sager joined The Hybrid Classroom
Feb 8, 2011
Matinga Ragatz left a comment for lara
"Don't forget to tell us what brings you here!!!"
Jan 12, 2011
lizzy is now a member of The Hybrid Classroom
Dec 19, 2010

© 2017   Created by Matinga Ragatz.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service