Saturday, December 1, 2012

Joel's New Textbook

Joel soaks up the sun this fine day on May 19, 2021 as he walks to school.  He’s excited ‘cause today his middle school is finally allowing him and his fellow students to engage with the new “textbook”.  He’s a little puzzled why it’s called a textbook.  It’s really a place to enter in and experience – it’s not a book.  Joel rarely actually uses “books” as iStock_000018493321XSmallin the paper kind, these days.  The students have learned that the new textbook requires them to wear a special headset with glasses and ear buds.  They can choose from a multitude of colors, shapes, and sizes that the school provides or they can purchase and bring their own along with their other school supplies.  These headsets or “Portal Sets” as their teachers referred to them as, work anywhere and anytime.

Joel arrives at school and sees his friend Carrie – he runs up to meet her at the door.  Joel and Carrie catch up on what they did on the weekend as they walk to the great hall of learning, the gathering place for the 337 students attending this school.  In fact though, not all of the students attend in person, as some prefer to learn from home while others are traveling with their families.  Students not at school in person have earlier versions of the Portal Sets to use which allow them to attend as holographic representations of themselves and to see and interact with other students at school, home, or on the road.  The great hall has various other rooms around the perimeter, small and large, called learning caves, transporter rooms, cooperative spaces, etc.

The students start receiving their Portal Sets and after some basic orientation from their teachers, they head off as small group iStock_000010954699XSmalllearning teams.  Their teachers will be available to guide and teach them upon request.  Teachers also have Portal Sets and can instantly see and support their students either in person or through the textbook. Joel and his learning team, one member who is attending from Hawaii (on vacation), have decided to study early Roman history today.  Students are for the most part self-directed but their teachers are only a “thought” away to help, guide, assess, nudge, interject, lecture as needed, and support. 

As Joel and his team enter the textbook they command it to take them to the days of the gladiators in Rome.  Instantly they find themselves sitting on a seat in the ancient Coliseum but, it isn’t ancient at all, rather it appears to be new!  They look around and see 1000’s of Roman citizens sitting, eating, and discussing the politics of the day.  One of the teachers joins them and starts to share some of their knowledge of the setting and poses some critical questions to Joel’s team to explore.  Joel and his team get up and go speak to some of the citizens asking them questions about how they feel about the games, why they come, what they think of the current emperor, etc.  The students are essentially “there”, back in timeEurope 2012 120-001 with the citizens of the day.  The textbook provides access to all knowledge in the world of all time and all places.  It also, via the Roman (virtual) citizens, prompts the students to fully experience their surroundings.  Joel and his team then ask the textbook to transport them to the Arch of Constantine where they are met by Constantine himself, well a representation of him actually.  The students engaged in amazing conversations about the construction of Rome, wars, science, religion, and many other topics.  Constantine introduces them to some very skilled mathematicians and engineers who take the students to the Pantheon and describe and show how it was designed and constructed.  They even transported further back in time to when it was under construction to provide hands-on help to the citizens of the day with the work and learned valuable construction skills.

After Joel’s team transported back “virtually” speaking, to their school and removed their Portal Sets, they engaged in some cooperative group learning activities to process what they learned and to determine how to represent it.  They decided to use the Learning Deck to recreate what they learned but with a twist.  To create some controversy, they are going to rewrite history and produce a slightly different outcome.  Joel and his team tapped into the math and engineering learning they picked up at the Pantheon to accurately recreate the pillars and other elements.  Other student teams who are also studying Roman history will later enter the Learning Deck to explore Joel’s teams variant on Roman history and will be assessed on how well they can detect and explain the differences.

Children

After learning, hanging out with his friends, playing soccer, etc., Joel is happily exhausted by the time the day ends and he walks home from school.  Joel is relieved that the city leaders didn’t eliminate schools as physical places to go as he and his friends really appreciate the opportunity to do things together, not just virtually.  Students are learning to find a good balance for learning in the textbook and the Learning Deck and learning together in the same physical space.

65 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Very very nifty indeed

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    2. break it down... make an acronym out of nifty

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  2. Replies
    1. I appreciate the effort if your response

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    2. ha ha... good one. what's neato about it.. what do you like?

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  3. i think if you could find a balance between the textbook and being social with friends then it is a good idea. but people also should know how to be social and interact with others.

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    1. i agree, it depends on how much you would use the textbook. I don't think it should be a 24/7 thing as people do need to have social skills and could get used to being in a virtual world.

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    2. BL and TG I like your comments... you've hit on a huge topic that many educators spend time debating. What are some ways we could improve the social skills in our students? Let's say maybe Grade 8s?

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    3. TG & BL- ways to improve social skills would be more communication face to face instead of cell phones or over the internet, yes they have many good things about them but your emotions can be portrayed differently through a text than if you say it in person also it could lead to a person being shy. this is just in general every grade.

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    4. It's interesting how you've quickly reset your thinking to present day ways of being together, being social. Stretch your imaginations for a bit and imagine that virtual experiences were indescipherable from face 2 face physical experiences. How might that affect learning, socializing, being human?

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  4. This would be a great way of learning but be to easy to be used for bad

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    1. expand on this... what kind of bad stuff do you have in mind?

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    2. It could be used to just skip school or just get lost in things you aren't supposed to be doing but it could be really cool.

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    3. Ah, but perhaps the technology can track your movements and whereabouts. Plus, what would "skip school" mean in this type of future where virtual and physical experiences are one?

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  5. I think this is a great idea. I wouldn't be able to do this because it takes you too far away from reality. And I am way to social to be be to be somewhere else and not see my friends in person.

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    1. big shot eh XD

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    2. but... when you do want to connect with friends that aren;t around, would you like a fully immersive experience (sights/sound) instead of text based connections we tend to make now?

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    3. That would be a good thing but I already dont have a cell phone that works s i already have to go and see them rather than txt

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    4. What if the virtual experience felt like a you were present with friends? What if you really couldn't tell the difference between virtual and physical connections? Would you care?

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  6. where can we get one.....

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  7. i think its cool idea but its a different idea and something ive never heard of before it would be nice to try out but scary at the same time

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    1. i think it would be scary because people will have no interaction with each other in person they will just be using technology. and most people bully when they are on the internet not very much in person so it will be much easier to just bully people.

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    2. i dunno it just seems weird that you might be able to do that in the future

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    3. When I read this post this morning I thought about the movie Lawnmower Man where virtual reality is not a good fit for an unsettled brain and bad things happen

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  8. i think its to disconected to far out there. you can lose what little human contact we have left. i can see using it if your on vacation but pretty soon we wont even see anyone in person

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    1. I'm thinking about nature... do you think that virtual technology could be justified to take away parks and such... don't need a real park if you can visit a virtual one?

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    2. thats what i mean you lose everything you will end up being like the fat people in wally

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    3. but whats the beauty of a virtual park if you cant feel it and know that its real?

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    4. what you mean if just live in virtual space, that doesn't burn calories? I'm doomed!

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    5. What if the virtual experience fully replicated a natural "real" experience? What if you could virtually visit a park, feel the breeze, smell the pine needles, and could walk around, hike, or run and your body felt physically stimulated so that you would actually burn calories? Maybe this is an alternative future to us destroying the planet...

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  9. I think this is a good and bad idea, Because learning with going to the place would help people understand things better going back to when it happend and being there rather the teacher explaining it and us having to picture it, but its bad because kids wouldnt be interacting as much as they do now.

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    1. do you think we set up enough opportunities for meaningful interaction now?

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    2. Why do you think kids wouldn't interact as much in a virtual world? If it is "real", then what's the difference between that and a physical interaction? It would be more flexible, you could go to more places without the effort of driving, flying, etc., be safer, it would be easier to get together...

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  10. Kids should have to suffer the same boring pain as the rest of us

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    1. no pain no gain! o.k. ... so if you could redesign they way we do school, what's the first thing you've change?

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    2. make the desks with built in ipads

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  11. awesome idea but is too unrealistic, would be very good for someone who has a learning disability because then they could learn it by seeing and experiencing it

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    1. what makes it unrealistic? tech is advancing at a dizzy pace... the internet as we know it is basically 16 years old, the ipad less than 3.

      Great point about learning disability, though... often a simple adaptation is all that is need to make a huge difference

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  12. holographic bullying.

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  13. This is a great idea to get students immersed in learning and great way to get classes involved.

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  14. Neat idea, May be challenging to create some sort of virtual environment with A.I. that can respond with voice commands.

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    1. New power, ideology, and technology can be abused as often as it benefits, though... the 20th century is filled with examples of both... some terrible examples of how tech can go horribly wrong, and also many medical and educational advances

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  15. This is a cool concept but I think if all of their learning is virtual, their reading skills and ability to take information from a textbook might suffer. This might make it harder from them when they graduate from this type of school and move on to a university level which is back to learning from textbooks.

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    1. Thats a good point, universities may not have much use for something like this, but is a good tool, and could really be used to enrich a student's understanding if supplemented with their learning

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    2. Notice how the story seemlessly weaves together physical experiences with the virtual. Reading isn't assumed to go away. The students would acquire knowledge through conversations with each other and experts, reading, viewing recorded media, hands-on work, apprenticeships, etc. The virtual would blend with the physical.

      Interesting comment about universities. They are going through their own revolution. Many are moving all their curriculum online. I think they would embrace the type of technology described in the story. It would unlock possibilities currently unaffordable to them.

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  16. its a good way top get out of shopoping with your mom you can just be some where else

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    1. to* shopping* damn keyboard

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    2. Show Popping sounds like fun, too. Still, I'd want to get out of having to do it.

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  17. Good concept but i think it will be too expensive to put into schools and not all students would like this learning system. The software could have other uses like job training and scientific purposes that would be more practical.

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    1. good point... it does seem like a suburban dream, something for the wealthy and privileged.. mid you it could create opportunities for students who don't have access now or can't afford to travel to museums and places of wonder

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    2. job training and research... brilliant! bomb detonation, subatomic simulation, heart surgery, "human trial" without actually harming people... always the potential for disconnect and ethical challenges but it does open up new territory we can't currently explore

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    3. Ah, but the environment or platform for this would be shared. Think of IBM's Watson but 8 years from now. 8 years of exponential change and advancement. It could be cheap, small, and vast, available to all schools in all demographics, for free. Think of what Google, Wikipedia, have done to information... it has become free in a few short years.

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  18. epic idea for videogames

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  19. good for super long weekends

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  20. no imagimanation

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    1. ha ha imagimanation... is that like a man's imagination? or a nation of images?

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