Digital of course!

Yes, coursebooks will no doubt go digital sooner than we expect. El País, Thursday 3 of June (Andalucía, 4) has an article on the fact that the Junta de Andalucía is going to experiment next academic year with using digital coursebook in schools which have more experience using technology (“en quinto y sexto de Primaria y en las de primero de Secundaria, los cursos en los que ya estará implantado el programa digital Escuela TIC 2.0). This is billed as an experiment and one of the main aims is to reduce costs. Let’s see what happens and what happens on the English front. I suspect that in the end the question of how best to teach with digital course books may not ultimately be that different from how to teach well with paper-based coursebooks. The challenge remains one of teaching, not just of using materials, whatever shape and form they may be delivered through.

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8 Responses to Digital of course!

  1. cerij says:

    it’ll be interesting to see how that develops – thanks for keeping us posted! do you have a link for the story btw?

  2. The challenge remains the same in every stage of innovation adoption. The “reducing costs” bit is key, I think. Things shape differently with that starting point.

  3. Nicky Hockly says:

    I do find it depressing that the introduction of technoloogy in the classroom remains so firmly rooted in a content-based transmission model of delivery. Just like IWBs and publisher content produced for those. The same old thing, but this time on a (digital) stick. Sigh.

    Where are the social media and intertion afforded by new technologies? How come so few schools seem to want to introduce those? Seems to me that education authorities remain either ignorant of these, or threatened by the ´lost or control´ this might mean for teachers, or clueless about how they might enhance teaching… Ok, rant over!
    Nicky

  4. So true, Nicky. Same old thing on a new medium. Then the discussion centres around how to make it work, so we get a tool-centred approach.

    Loss of control is probably at the heart of resistance. This is quite evident when you run a workshop with people at least attracted to new technologies.

    However, I think Edna nails the issue here stating the need for reducing costs. This is a wider framework to think adoption of the new. Creating professional development for teachers to adapt to cost-reducing measures does not sound as if learning ranks high in the priority scale.

  5. cerij says:

    going back to Nicky’s “mini rant”, I think it really is a problem of ignorance/cluelessness, stemming from a lack of experience, both personally and professionally – and the fear involved in admitting that ignorance – it’s often a case of the kids knowing more than the teachers – and the teachers knowing more than the management/authorities – it’s a question of feeling out of control because you don’t know, rather than loss of control because you’re handing it over – scary situations for both teachers and schools – and very difficult to know how to combat it at grassroots – and possibly even more importantly – at decision making levels. Training and exposure – above all exposure to successful implementation- is the obvious answer – but is the infrastructure in place to make it work?

  6. Enda says:

    Hi folks,
    a nice surprise on a Friday evening to find this discussion! Thank you all for those comments. I agree completely with Nicky and Claudia in that I feel we really need to go beyond technology driven, used and seen through a very traditional viewpoint and start really investigating the potential offered by new media and teaching opportunities they provide. I suspect, however, that for most educational authorities those issues will remain secondary and cost cutting far more important! In the end, in my opinion, it will come down, as it has to, to teachers. When we as teachers move beyond learning “how to use” new technologies technically to experimenting with “how to implement” them pedagogically, we may see progress. This is I think what Ceri is saying. Bridging that gap, again in my own experience, is quicker if the technology is put into place, for whatever reasons so, even if it is only to save money, I think the good news from this story is that digital will happen … down side is that teachers will have to really make it happen, but we have being doing that with coursebooks for years! (apologies but I have tried but can’t find the link to the original article on http://www.elpais.com)

  7. Ceri says:

    thanks for interpreting my incoherence, Enda 😉

  8. Helen says:

    Hi I too agree with Nicky and Claudia – why spend a lot of money buying digital coursebooks that have a few widgets and gadgets to play listenings or circle and zoom in on key text when they could spend that money training teachers and giving them confidence to use technology. The day is coming a lot quicker than people think when coursebooks (especially in EFL) will become redundant. Jason Renshaw recently posted an article about the future of course books http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/jason_renshaws_web_log/2010/06/whats-a-poor-coursebook-writer-to-do.html. (Although I think and hope) this will happen a lot sooner than 2030!

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