I’ll show you what I mean while simultaneously badgering publishers of digital textbooks. (As I do.)
Think about the stretches of time when your smartphone or tablet is in airplane mode.
Without any connection to the Internet, you can read articles you’ve saved but you can’t visit any links inside those articles. You can’t text your friends. You can’t share photos of cats wearing mittens or tweet your funny thoughts to anybody.
In airplane mode, your phone is worth less. You paid for the wireless antenna in your tablet. Perhaps you’re paying for an extra data plan. Airplane mode shuts both of them down and dials the return on those investments down to zero.
Airplane mode sucks.
Most digital textbooks are in airplane mode:
Textbooks authored in Apple’s iBooks Author don’t send data from the student’s iPad anywhere else. Not to her teacher and not to other students.
HMH Fuse includes some basic student response functionality, sending data from the student to the teacher, but not between students.
In the Los Angeles Unified iPad rollout, administrators were surprised to find that “300 students at three high schools almost immediately removed security filters so they could freely browse the Internet.” Well of course they did. Airplane mode sucks.
The prize I’m chasing is curriculum where students share with other students, where I see your thoughts and you see mine and we both become smarter and life becomes more interesting because of that interaction. That’s how the rest of the Internet works because the Internet is out of airplane mode.
This is an awesome post by one of my favorite bloggers. He was one of the bloggers I found early on in this research, and his approach really pushed me out of my box. I continue to find his work motivating and inspiring – even if he does teach math and I‘m in social studies!
This chunk of his post is especially relevent to my world right now…. I wish it was easy to create this, as he wants. But it isn’t — yet. I know it’ll get better, easier to do. And I will keep pushing for it. Just can’t quite get there yet. The technology just isn’t there to do in a large scale (at least in a way for a small publisher to do), and honestly, not all teachers are at this place yet.
Thankfully, he’ll keep asking. That’s what will get content to the right place.