Digital textbooks that adapt to you and your learning?

An interesting article on the development of interactive and ” learning” textbooks – that adapt to you and your learning.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329832.600-digital-textbooks-adapt-to-your-level-as-you-learn.html

Struggling with chapter 3? Adaptive textbooks will give you extra, personalised help when you need…

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There’s not a lot of detail in the article – but it does open the conversation on how static content no longer has to be static.

But there are a few issues that would have to be overcome before “ intelligent textbooks “ become a reality.

There is a huge industry built around the idea that (US) professors select a textbook, base their teaching around that text book and students are expected to pay for that text.

O’reilly was one of the first publishers that allowed teachers to select sections out of their library of texts and then allow the teacher to specify the customized text as a required text. ( on demand printing )

The open source advocates have tried to make text open and free using such sites as Wikiversity and Wikibooks – but this has met with limited success.

In the 90’s , quite a few learning institutions invested in Computer Based Training (CBT) using authoring packages such as Authorware. But didn’t seem to survive the transition to E-Learning. Indeed, many of the things that were being done with Authorware can now be done using Moodle’s “ Lesson” block ( ie decision trees )

We have yet to see an implementation of an artificial intelligence program to deliver content in a learning environment.

But also teachers, facilitators etc usually prefer to be able to choose the content, the sequence, the methodology and supplementary materials – without an open type model for this content – how is this going to happen?

Many teachers “value-add” to textbook content by providing guidance and context – sometimes even a narrative. How will that happen without knowing what the AI textbook will provide?

Dealing with SCORM and IMS is too much of a headache – what AI textbooks also need is a “SIRI” type user interface so that teachers don’t have to become programmers to work with the textbook material.

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