Bookstand with large textbook

Image via Wikipedia

After two decades, the World-Wide-Web is really starting to deliver on the promise of readily available, high-quality content for nearly every subject imaginable. Nearly all of this content is free, and is therefore “open content” ready to be used, modified, and shared again. With such a vast repository of content available, we need to come up with ways to index and share it that are meaningful to educators and address their specific goals. If these needs can be met, schools can leave expensive textbooks behind and move towards the future of Open Content.

In two days, I will be joining a group of educators and industry thought leaders as a participant to Discovery Education’s Beyond the Textbook Forum to explore the implications of this Open Content Revolution. 

I feel quite honored and excited to join my friends colleagues to discuss the future possibiliteis of learning that extend beyond the textbook. I want to invite you to participate virtually and share your ideas with the team  as it relates to the future of textbooks or the future of reference materials.

Here are some questions to consider posting or tweeting about at using the #BeyondtheTextbook  Hashtag

  • What materials are you currently using?
  • Are they adequate and representative of the knowledge and expereince you want to enagage your students in?
  • What are your thoughts about open source courseware and materials?
  • Where is your number one place to turn, when you seek information that is beyond the scope of your textbook and curriculum materials?
This week I explored this topic in  a presentation panel at the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas. I was joined by Matt Federoff, Principal in Vail Arizona.   In 2005, he led the opening of Empire High School, called the first textbook-free school in the United States. As part of Empire’s initiative, all students are issued laptops, and technology helps form the core of their learning experience, much of which is self-directed. He was named the 2005 Arizona Technology Director of the Year and is currently involved in the Beyond Textbooks Initiative, extending the Empire methodology across all grade levels.
In the following video clip, Matt shares how the New Content Revolution we are experiencing can be an opportunity for students and teachers:

I look forward to your comments here and on Twitter. I will be sure to share our discoveries in a follow up post!
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