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Discussing the future of the textbook. Add your voice!
Despite a stupid broken knee, I’ve found a way to get down to Silver Spring, MD tomorrow for Discovery Education’s Beyond the Textbook Forum.
I am honored to be among a small group of teachers and thinkers I truly admire, but I am conscious of the fact that Karen (my dear generous friend and driver) and I may be the only practicing librarians in the actual room.
Happily the room doesn’t need to be so small. Our sponsors will learn and improve their product. We will learn too.
Discovery asks us to use our blogs and Twitter to solicit ideas from our readers, our tribes.
This is an opportunity for us to share the power of our voice in the conversation. So, let’s all think a little bit–today and tomorrow and beyond–about what the new textbook might look like. Please share your thoughts in comments here or use Twitter combining the hashtags: #tlchat and #beyondthetextbook.
I’ve been thinking a bit about this myself. (Here’s just one older post on building a text.) I’ve worked with social studies teacher colleagues to help teams of students develop digital Chapter 37s to add to their US History texts. And they were great chapters–media-rich, dynamic, and each very different in scope, approach, and point of view.
Looking back at my personal history with textbooks. I can’t remember loving any of my high school and college texts, with two exceptions.
To those who want to blow up textbooks completely, this may seem incredibly geeky and traditional, but I LOVED my Norton Anthologies and I LOVED Janson’s History of Art.
I still do.
They are still occupy some of the limited space on our basement bookshelves despite years of weeding.
There is something authentic about those books. Real art. Real literature. A little expert context.
But what might those beautiful books look like today?
Could I hear the voices of the poets or a theatrical reader of the drama? Could I see it performed? Could a modern painter or an exceptionally articulate docent add to my understanding of great works of art? What if the Renaissance sections of those books talked to or connected with each other?
Could I discuss my reactions (and my notes and highlighting) of these works with my teachers and fellow learners? Could I include my own juried masterpieces?
I envision an unlimited container with unlimited potential to meet the needs of all sorts of learners. I see a container that can be customized, made universally accessible, differentiated, locally and personally relevant. I see these new texts as being completely portable and updatable and keepable.
At the high school and college levels, I want to be able to keep and grow with my texts and refer to them as I move forward in my learning.
I see an opportunity for these texts to be networked, interactive dialogs, allowing learners to contribute to growing content, discussion, and knowledge building.
And I see teacher librarians as major curators of these learning containers.
In my discussions with fellow SLJ blogger, Marc Aronson, I also see a huge role for the nonfiction writer community. Why not have our best subject area experts, our best writers, contribute?
I’ll be tweeting tomorrow.
Please remember to think well outside the box/book. And PLEASE add your voices to the conversation by commenting here or by using Twitter with the hashtags: #tlchat and #beyondthetextbook.
For more information and thoughts on tomorrow’s event, see these posts by
- Angela Maiers
- David Warlick
- Audrey Watters
- Richard Byrne
- Wes Fryer
- Bud Hunt
- Mary Beth Hertz
- Diana Laufenberg
- Chad Lehman
- Karen Hornberger
Thank you, Karen.
About Joyce Valenza
Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza
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