Thoughts are beginning to flow at Discovery’s #BeyondtheTextbook think-tank (Note: I’m not there), and I’m inclined to toss my own ideas out here. But the impetus for this post stems from the Apple’s announcement that has too many people, many for whom I respect, blindly looking to take a bite out of this new textbook, to put these items back at the center.
Our focus, however, should be clear. The Internet is the best textbook. Start there! Then, support/empower the experts in your school to create and curate learning objects* in an ongoing, collaborative experience with peers and learners.
Seriously. I can’t understand why we would begin elsewhere.
“I heavily buy into the idea that using a variety of resources, borrowing from current events when it makes connection, and exploring themes rather than just a timeline, allows for a student to interact with the information in a more organic, realistic manner; much the way they will need to interact for the rest of their days outside the classroom.
Don’t we want students to interact as the learners they are and will be? Don’t we want them to challenge deeply the variety of resources both curated for and by them?
Are there questions? Yes! Concerns? Disruptions? Time? No doubt!
However, the learning environment should no longer be governed by content created by publishing companies and delivered by teachers. The starting point should be that which allows us to maximize the human condition and experience. The starting point should be that which allows us to maximize learning and learner experience.
My bias stems from my teaching experience. I entered the teaching profession and an English Department that placed textbooks at the center – big thick suckers that led to more chiropractor bills than passionate exploration and learning. I quickly rebelled against this focal point of the classroom and met much resistance.
Members of the department including myself saw it a different way. We wanted to curate and create our own learning resources together and with our learners. What we simply called our online learning space (how boring, eh?). In its creation and ongoing growth, we found something considerably different would happen to the classroom, to the learning, and to us as educators.
When the traditional textbook produced by a publisher is at the center, I firmly believe that content and teaching are at the center instead of learners and learning. This places the type of learning experiences our students and teachers deserve at risk.
*learning objects consist of diverse resources including print publications.