Monday, April 27, 2015

A look at the future of textbooks

Today I was able to attend four textbook presentations put on by our district with 5 other teachers from my school. What did all the presentations have in common? Everything was shifted to an online environment. Students could log in at home and see videos for problems in the book, see step by step instructions for the solutions, and one even had an online chat service for students to contact if stuck. A few even had some sort of program that kept track of what students understood and what they needed remediation on.  Most of them also had some sort of LMS, like Google Classroom or Edmodo.  That will be interesting to work with.

Everything is shifting to online, which made even it more ironic when the internet went down district wide for about 2-3 hours this morning.  Clearly, devices like Chromebooks are going to stick around for awhile.  One publisher had Desmos & Geogebra activities built into the online book, sounds familiar. Students log in and interact with the lessons.  They all seem to have a self-discovery portion built into it and the teacher fills in the holes.  This is how I have been trying to do it 2nd semester.

So from a teacher standpoint, do you need a pc to use all the materials or can Chrome OS handle it?  I mentioned before how more and more publishers were moving to online test generators and today confirmed it.  All of the publishers already had online test generators, except Pearson's version of ExamView, but they said they were in the process of shifting it over.  So no disks to install, no textbook software that you need to having running, everything was browser based.  No more trying to find a disk or installing it at home, always ready online.  Some mentioned you could write and give the test online and get reports, like Socrative, but I have used one before and it was messy, so unless it gets cleaned up, I will be sticking with Socrative.

This really reinforces my belief about shifting to Chrome OS. It is obvious things are changing and need a full blown Windows pc isn't necessary for the general teacher anymore.

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