I've just read a blog 5x5: 5 Thought Leaders, 5 Questions, 5 Answers and was not surprised to read responses to the question 'Technology versus textbooks: will there ever be a winner?'. Invariably textbooks were positoned as the loser although digitised e-readers/textbooks did get a brief reprieve.
I have to acknowledge my textbook phobia - I think textbooks position teachers as technicists - they deprofessionalise teachers by interpreting formal curriculum docs and in some cases result in teacher-proofed lessons. An important part of curriculum planning is deconstructing curriculum documents and rehearsing curricular practice via reflection and debate with oneself and one's colleagues. Too often, when I have asked what I am to teach or where the documentation is I have been handed a textbook. Having edited textbooks and written chapters for Higher Ed textbooks in a former life I also acknowledge that I once enjoyed wirting texts - not because of 'big head syndrome' (this was replaced with outrage when I realised how poorly practicing teachers are paid to contribute to textbooks) but because the act of writing the text really improved my teaching - it was a learning experience. To claim textbooks are dead is not only premature, to my mind it is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Textbooks are useful beyond the days you are absent from class and need 'busy work' for students. In their current static state (hardcopy or digitised) however, textbooks are an endagered species and it is interesting to see how many publishers are reacting by positioning themselves as professional learning providers and/or eductaional providers... but that's another blog post.
What we need to do is revision/reinvent textbooks so they are not mere tools of transmission but tools that promote active leanring. The days of the commercialised textbooks that currently flood the market are numbered - what I would like to see instead are highly contextualised textbooks (given that this is a loaded term perhaps a new word is needed?) that teachers create, or more precisely, that teachers curate.
Of interest to many are the plethora of book creation tools now available. I am currently trailling Ginkgotree and its many intetactive functions. Importantly, Ginkgotree has a built in mechanism to address issues of copyright and royalties - this means that teachers can be assured that they are not inadvertently breaking copyright law.
So here goes - my first blog.... ever... (deep breath) ... Whilst browsing relevant twitter feeds recently I read about a reference to Stephen Heppel and BYOB. I did a quick google search and found the following explanation of this hard to phonetically pronounce acronym; for Aussie drinkers - Bring your Own Bottle; for car enthusiasts - Bring your own Beamer and for American fast food consumers - Build your own Burger.
I am pretty sure that Heppel's BYOB reference wasn't in reference to any of the above. Indeed Heppel suggests that BYOB - Bring your own Browser - is something to consider. For those who haven't checked out Stephen - see his blog http://www.heppell.net/.
So what is BYOB? Is it Cloud-Based learning? Does it complement BYOD or does it threaten it? Some people conflate BYOB and BYOD but to my mind they are different - how? In a BYOB model the focus in not the on device itself but on the device's ability to access and browse the internet.
Here are three things about BYOB that all teachers need to consider:
1. BYOB = focus on pedagogy: Shifting focus away from a device or a suite of Apps to how students individually and collectively negotiate the rocky terrain of digital citizenship also shifts focus away from students as users to students as producers/creators and I think this is an important conceptual shift.
2. BYOB = Cloud based teaching and learning: The term BROWSE itself doesn't nescessarily rank in terms of the real educative value of this model. For me - I equate BYOB to Cloud-based teaching and learning; the focus of which is accessibilty, synchronicity and collaboration - just think Google Docs..
3. BYOB = Open Browser Many schools are increasingly moving away from mere CMS (Content Management Systems) designed to deliver content (the ubiquitous school portal) towards LMS (Learning Management Systems) to support anytime, anywhere, anyplace learning. The associated costs of customised LMSs is beyond the reach of many schools but a BYOB focus allows teachers and students access to the multitude of free Learning Management systems (EDMODO, Learnist, Sophia etc). Many schools find this problematic - having "in-house' content housed off-site as it challenges traditional conceptions of knowledge ownership and control and raises issues of legal liability but I think open access is essential in terms of promoting access and equity - how schools and individuals manage this is however, something that needs to be addressed and one issue needing due consideration is that of copyright law - link here for advice for Australian schools.
Love to hear others thoughts and welcome debate.