Sunday, August 22, 2010

Technology and Reading

The Austin Statesman had an article today about e-Textbooks. Normally, I am not a fan of books on the computer (I prefer holding a sturdy book, the smell of new pages, and being able to make notes and mark it up as I please), but I like this idea.

Let me clarify what they mean by e-Textbooks in its true form. Rather than simply a PDF format of the book (which is the way some of it is now), it is a resource with links, forums, interactive quizzes and activities. That would be cool.

Textbook companies make MONEY...and they certainly use a lot of trees. I like my textbooks, but...I use them as a resource. Kids can't make margin notes...they can't highlight in them. I use them to teach text structure, and, thanks to their attention to updates, a few good selections of literature if I want the whole class to read it simultaneously.

E-textbooks would open all new ways of learning. Kids could extend or remediate simply by selecting a pathway. That's neat. It could individualize learning.

BUT...I am old school. I love my books. It's hard because I realize that our kids are a technologically savvy generation, and they love it. When do we say, "Ok, textbooks are now all online." I like the idea of not breaking my child's back carrying them home, but, what about the value of learning with a book in hand? There are skills and strategies specific to reading that way -- will we lose that?

If we grow those synapses strictly with technology, those other parts of the brain will not grow. Hmm...will that eventually change the brain make up entirely?

The discussion grows. I think I am at the point where I want my boys (and myself) to use technology, but to keep a balance right now. It's not like going from the old record player to CDs to music's much more than just improving what is existing.

Maybe that's the scary part for me. It may be CHANGING entirely what exists.

For now, I like holding my newspaper with my morning coffee AND coming to the computer to blog...

1 comment:

  1. I read your blog with Andrew to find out what happened in school today. It's so interesting seeing him relates to the details in your writing.