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Topic: Textbook Analysis
Replies: 14   Last Post: Jun 26, 2009 6:14 AM

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Kirby Urner

Posts: 4,713
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Textbook Analysis
Posted: Jun 25, 2009 11:58 PM
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> I actually wrote something on another site about this
> subject, but you add a new twist.
> My conclusion was this. Because of the advantages of
> a book over a computer screen, primarily that it lies
> in the plane of your work, but for other practical
> reasons as well, if a school district went online,
> parents that were involved and could afford to, would
> buy their kids real books. And this would create an
> obvious issue of equality. And there were other
> problems such as access to a computer. Even if there
> is a compputer in the house, it is often shared.

My conclusion is rather different, that we want the
text and interactive workflow together on screen, to
facilitate switching back and forth. There's no way
a book might replace our animations either, Java applets...

In so many ways, we feel sorry for those underprivileged,
locked in their know-nothing schools, learning math the
old fashioned way. Hard to not sneer and jeer but we
tell 'em it's impolite to treat muggles that way, not
their fault the town fathers have tails etc.

Plus I don't think you understand Portland's demographics.
It's precisely the rich folk in the West Hills who buy
the XOs and look down their noses at non-electronic math
books. They hire private tutors from the Philippines to
teach Pythonic math and are pretty likely to land good
jobs as a result, even without much college.

> I did note also that something like the Kindle had
> promise, but it has a long way to go on display
> quality, size and price.

I'm just talking about the standard math lab we all
use if we're in the money: flatscreen about 2 or 3 feet
from the student's face. Interactive textbook open,
going through the exercises, might be a wiki. Not at all
unusual to see this, at Free Geek or whatever.

> I also noted that there are some courses that even
> though they are not vocational, kids treat them
> vocationally. And that maybe you could say something
> like, if you are really interested in this course
> then by all means get the book because you can pour
> over it anywhere. But if you are more or less doing
> this just for the credit and you are not in jeapordy,
> you can get the textbook online and save a tree.

More like: if you're serious about learning math skills,
back over that calculator in the driveway and park that
dead tree thing in the garage. That's stuff for old
farts, not for people with their whole lives ahead of
them. Don't waste your time aping people with few skills.

> But I never considered that the online option might
> offer a better "book" than what was offered at the
> school. I still think parents (that can afford to)
> will just buy the book.

You haven't met our parents apparently. Portland Center
Stage was doing this Bucky play from October to December,
lots of season ticket people (West Hills), plus on
election night itself the subterranean geeks turned out,
OK with experiencing a media blackout on an historical
evening -- all in the name of computer science,
cybernetics, or whatever that was.

We formed a BOF (birds of a feather), me leading, then
descended into "the crypt" for a great performance.
Doug Tompos starring, D.W. Jacobs the screenwriter and
director. Hi Heather.

Anyway, I'm just trying to convey something of Portland's
culture. We're not Seattle, but we're very literate,
very high Internet per capita. And we love our forests.
Add two and two and you can see where we think not having
a PDF of the textbook available on the school intranet
is as lame as could be, not a school you'd want to send
your little sister to, or anyone you really cared about.

> I find well produced DVDs to be the best supplimental
> resource available. Some of these DVDs are worth a
> week of teaching. I wish they would use that more.
> Nothing beats a live dynamic teacher but a good DVD
> can show things in such interesting ways. As much as
> I am into books, I spend more on DVDs.

You can record a live dynamic teacher on DVD and show
kids what it's like. That's probably why they're not
more popular in schools, ya think? We wanna help teachers
though, get them out of indentured servitude to this
creaky old track they've been forced down. We're not
likely to get to every zip code right away, but kids take
heart just knowing we're out here, aware of their plight.


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