The idea, frankly, of Apple iPads, Amazon Kindle Fire tablets (even the upcoming one) and the Nook Tablet replacing textbooks seems far-fetched. Maybe that’s because I’m in a PhD program and Old School, literally. There’s the expense of the device, which easily gets lost or stolen, for one thing. You lose a book and you just replace it at the library or buy a used one.
But this gave me pause. Check out this most excellent infographic from the folks at OnlineTeachingDegree and let us know what you think.
Just when I’d concluded that the infographic genre as a whole was was as intellectually nourishing as cotton candy, along comes this one. Nice find Gina.
There’s no doubt that iPads, Kindles and other intelligent devices can be useful tools in a classroom. And years ago, I wrote some stirring articles calling for their presence in every school. But that was before I subjected my own kids to public schools in Texas–where we’ve had the “benefit” of standardized testing and the mind-numbingly awful curricula that administrators adopt to support it–far longer than the rest of the country.
It’s clear to me now, that in an era dominated by shrinking education budgets, ever-increasing class sizes, and standardized testing regimens that crush any attempt at creative teaching in the mindless pursuit of higher scores, it is unconscionable to consider investing education dollars in these expensive and fragile gadgets. Unfortunately, I have no doubt that it will happen anyway as lobbyists for hardware vendors line up alongside the purveyors of those standardized tests and workbooks to convince school boards that they can get something for nothing, even as another generation endures 12 years of public education without ever learning how to think or being given any reason to view learning as anything but a chore.
Today’s electronic textbooks are mostly re-purposed print books — we can and will do better. (See Requiem for the textbook).
The budget cuts you mention are impacting universities as well, and that is driving a spate of innovation and investment in online education. (See Many models for online learning).
Some cool stuff is being developed, but I fear that we run a risk of further widening the gap between a good and a drab university education. (See Stanford cannot deliver a Stanford education online). That will exacerbate social inequality in the long run.