The Confessions of a Bibiophile
This post was partly inspired by Dan Brown’s “An Open Letter to Educators“. After some days of mulling, my grey cell finally asked itself “When was the last time you recommended a text book to your students?”. The answer is “never”.
So how do I provide texts to students, and am I using appropriate technologies? The answers are “in a variety of fashions” and “possibly”.
While the following scenario is unlikely to happen, it is nevertheless a goal that I have in the back of my mind when preparing learning resources.
In the limit case, the only resource that I would give to my students would be a single tweet containing just one link. That link would point to an index of online resources from which the learners could pick and choose to best suit their own goals and learning styles.
Of course the limit case could only apply in special circumstances, including the requirement that all the learners felt fully at ease using Twitter.
A Dose of Reality
When I am presenting a one or two day course, I typically use a handout that ranges anywhere from 50 to 250 pages long, depending on the nature of the subject. I prefer to write the handout myself.
For other types of course, I might or might not use a 4 to 10 page handout each session, relying on electronic presentation for the balance. The nature of the electronic presentation is as varied as the course content and the learners’ own learning styles.
Does the Book Have a Future?
I believe that books have a future. I expect they become a smaller part of each student’s learning. In many subjects, it is conceivable that they will vanish altogether. In other subjects, such as the arts, and in particular the performing arts, I see them being with us for a long time.
A Good Read
Anybody who has ever downloaded a book from Project Gutenberg and compared it with reading the same book in a hard-cover format will know the immense difference between the two experiences. Bibliophiles will continue to vote with their wallets.