Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Future of Textbooks

The Textbook, one of the great "social innovations" which changed the entire educatioin field. As Drucker says it made possible for ordinary teachers to teach high quality courses to many students which was previously only possible for great teachers.

This is what Clayton Christenson would call a disruptive innovation.

However the rapid change we are experiencing in the world has made the "old textbooks" obselete. That is one of the reasons for the CMP course I have one textbook, one study guide with a set of readings from journals and chapters from various books, 2 major references and 20 other references and 5-8 videos! That's a lot of stuff to read and even borrow from the library.

In a way there is not much a good Prof can do if he wants to provide the required study material to his students. How can he create his own textbook? Or Can he?

Welcome to the future of textbook : SafariU

The O'Rielly newsletter brings to me this great new innovation.

Technology's impact on education shouldn't be limited to state-of-the-artlabs, wireless networks, and dare I say, iPods. Innovations can improveteaching tools as mundane as the college textbook. This is an area thatO'Reilly's been exploring for some time now.

A project called SafariU enables college instructors to assemble textbookschoosing sections and chapters from thousands of books and articles. Thebooks are created online via an easy-to-use web interface, then printedand shipped directly to the instructor or the university's bookstore.

Check out the interview with Jon Preston is Interim Chair of the Department of Information Technology at Clayton College and State University who is using SafariU successfully in his course. Unfortunately this service is only limited to O'Rielly publications which are mostly concentrated on IT and Computer Science.


Blogger sumandatta said...

talking of next gen books, i think wikipedia is already far into this territory...with collaborative wikibooks and even wikiversities! (there's a wiki school of business too which ppl cna update with courses,materials!).

Another step towards customized course content is open courseware (MIT). encourages ppl to create open reusable course repositories which individual teachers can customize. If the world's leading univ s and ppl join in, I think it wud be a huge leap forward for dissemination of knowledge.

25 May, 2005 16:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of freaking expensive books and the fact they keep coming out with new editions that have like a picture changed every five minutes. I have been using the site which has really helped though, they gave me really good deals on a bunch of book sites. I just can't wait until everyone uses sites like this one so the college bookstores stop making so much money off of us.

01 May, 2006 11:48  
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