Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reinvented Textbooks : Jim Burke's Use case.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will try to convince XORIHK that a mass under served market for digital Printing is just waiting to be served, as the American educational system is going from here to Jim Burkes "there."

Jim Burke has pretty impressive credentials.

From the Heinemann's Author's website,
Jim has received numerous awards, including the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award, the NCTE Conference on English Leadership Award, and the California Reading Association Hall of Fame Award. He served on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Committee on Adolescence and Young Adulthood English Language Arts Standards and recently worked with ACT on their high school English Language Arts standards. In 2007, he participated in the national Adolescent Literacy Coalition roundtable and worked with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
But I'm pretty sure he must have it right, because he teaches "at Burlingame High School every day as I have for the last sixteen years and plan to do for many more to come" and he says that "My dad worked in the printing business for thirty-seven years."

Some cut and paste from his February 13 post.

In five years (three? two?!) I will not ask my high school students to open the 6.5 pound textbooks that currently sit on the floor under the desks. . . . Here is what will be different:
  1. The article they read might be from that day's San Francisco Chronicle, downloaded for free as part of the digital version of Newspapers in Education program.
  2. Those who find it more helpful will, instead of reading the words with their eyes, pop in their earbuds from their iPods and hit the Audio button to listen to the book read to them (choosing from a menu of different voices) while they follow along with their eyes.
  3. When they encounter a word they do not know, they will simply highlight it and click a button and the definition will appear with the option of an audio link. If they encounter references (cultural literacy references) they will highlight and search the encyclopedia (or wikipedia) for the necessary background knowledge in context.
  4. They will read actively, marking up the text with a stylus or some other means, saving these to a notepad on the DBook where they can jot down brief notes to prepare for the subsequent discussion using the keyboard on the DBook.
  5. When they finish, I will flash a quiz on the screen which they can use the embedded interactive wireless voting button to answer the questions. I will ask them all to choose the answer they think is best for each one; we will discuss these as we go, using wrong answers to provide opportunities for discussion and clarification. It will feel a bit like a game show; it will be fun; it will be instructionally productive and effective.
  6. For homework, they will write (or use the voice recognition option to orally compose) a paragraph in which they summarize and respond to the article.
  7. When they come in the following day, I will ask them to upload their homework wirelessly, after which we will discuss what they wrote (for they will still have it to refer to).
  8. After warming up with this discussion, they will click into the assigned novel they are reading, the previous day's news article having prepared them to read the next section in the novel.
  9. After they read for a bit to answer the questions I provided them, they will click a button that will take them into a social network within which students post their remarks, interacting with each other through writing in a threaded discussion, their visible avatars and real names keeping them accountable.
  10. After ten minutes or so, we come back as a class, at which point I use comments from their discussion--which I have monitored and joined to nudge their thinking in certain directions when needed--to lead a focused discussion about what they meant, what the author was saying, and how that related to(which is only a click away to return to for easy reference).
From what I've read, but NOT tried, Kindle 2.0 enables almost all of these experiences. Meanwhile, it's going to be a bumpy ride to Jim's "there." It will emerge at different speeds in different forms in different places. But there is little question that's where the train is heading.

As I argued in this morning's post , the College train will start to leave the station February 2009. K-12 is not far behind.


  1. I began thinking about these issues some years ago when I created my own digital textbook (called The Weekly Reader) which is up and newly revised at

  2. Do you have thoughts you might share about the role of print?

    Keep in mind, these days almost anything that appears on the web can be printed in ultra short quantities, with automated layout - not quite ready for prime time.

    That means no layout, no further approvals. We are pretty close to push the button, fill out a short form with how many and where to deliver and in a couple of days, 30 copies of X can be delivered to your classroom.

    Do you think this would be as cool as I do?

  3. Just thought A little clarification was in order,
    when I said "we are ..." The we I was referring to is our industry. Not my company. I really am out of the game.

    I took a look at My Weekly Reader. Based on my reading and working style, I would love to have this in Print.

    Do you think that would help on the ground to get the info into the hands and the heads of working teachers?

  4. Humans resist change, having the new ideas implemented from the schooling itself would be a great way to teach new ideas to the generations. I personally appreciate that thought.

    I feel that humans cannot get on with digital media as the information size grows. Using state of art technology for organizing things in a better is very pleasing, but usually replace conventional methods.

  5. ... but usually CANNOT replace conventional methods.

  6. In this era of web 2.0, we easily get nice & updated information for research purposes... I'd definitely appreciate the work of the said blog owner... Thanks!

    write term paper-Essay Writing Help