The 21st Century Textbook

Don Tapscott’s latest book is not actually a book but an iPad app New Solutions for a Connected Planet.  It was created in partnership with Thinkers50 and sponsored by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

What makes this app innovative is that it is an evolving ‘book’ full of real-time, rich media content that allows readers (users) to navigate and interact in a way that a hardcopy or even eReader book couldn’t accommodate.

This is the start of a new breed of reference books that shows what you can do to take digital content to the next level. Think of the potential for learning and teaching… a 21st century textbook that allows the learner to navigate, press, wipe, slide, watch, listen and share all in the one place. It’s served up in a highly interactive and engaging way for a digital savvy generation.

The app itself is well worth a look offering Don’s latest thinking on how we can rebuild 10 institutions, including education, for the networked age.

In his Ted Talk, Four principles for the open world Don talks about the notion of sharing IP (intellectual property) to provide the rising tide in order to ‘lift everyone’s boats’. He sees the potential of the digital, global ecomony as a ‘turning point in human history’ requiring organisations and businesses to become more open, porous and fluid. It’s likely this thinking is the reason why he has made his new book free via iTunes.

There are some tools already available like iBooks Author app for users to create something similar with text enriched by multimedia and the ability to publish/share the book via iTunes and other channels.

I’m sure we can expect to see even more sophisticated ‘books’ like this in the future. I would love to hear your thoughts on the 21st century textbook?

4 thoughts on “The 21st Century Textbook

  1. Don Tapscott’s ipad ap is very thought-provoking and I’m sure that this is an example of the reference books we will all be using this decade. Beyond that? The mind boggles.

    But why is it so many school leaders and teachers are stuck in old ways of doing, communicating, learning and sharing? The low level of response on your excellent blog is but one example of the reluctance of educators to build new knowledge together. Can anyone think of one strategy to move our profession forward in using collaborative online tools? I believe that until we use the tools ourselves, we won’t really be able to understand the powerful ways we could incorporate them into our students’ learning.

    1. Barbara, I think we are seeing a shift here as school leaders and teachers are increasingly engaged in new ways of learning and teaching and collaborating. The growing conversation on Twitter is a great example of this collaboration. There is of course, as you say, much more leaders and teachers can do to share our practice and learn from one another and I can’t agree enough – getting in there and using the tools is the only way to get started.

  2. Perhaps majority of the leaders and teachers think that “old is gold”. I am not against of technology because it is inevitable but it has deteriorated and distracted but not desisted the print reading habit at all levels. While using the iPads for e-book reading, children are distracted to use games and other things but such things are not possible while reading a print book.

    1. Thanks for your comments Nidy. Agree digital tools aren’t the only tools in a teacher’s toolkit but they are powerful ones for learning and teaching. Well designed learning experiences using a range of tools to meet the needs of the learner will ultimately lead to deeper engagement.

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