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Curtis Jay Bonk discussing The world is open: how Web technology is revolutionizing education (Aug 3

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Aug 31, 2009, 10:49am Top

Please welcome Curtis J. Bonk, author of The world is open: how Web technology is revolutionizing education. Curtis will be chatting on LibraryThing until September 11th.

Sep 1, 2009, 12:40am Top

Hello all. Welcome to this thread on my new book published by Jossey-Bass, an imprint of Wiley. The title is: "The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. For those interested in more information about it, there is a book website with all the Web resources mentioned in the book, all the references, a prequel, and a postscript. In about 2 months, I will include a free e-book extension as well with the same chapters, just different content. See http://worldisopen.com/

I have also posted many blog posts related to writing this book. You can read some of them at my TravelinEdMan blog. See http://travelinedman.blogspot.com/

I look forward to reading and responding to your comments and questions. Enjoy the book and the open learning world!!!

Curt Bonk, Professor
Indiana University
School of Education: Room 2238
201 N. Rose Avenue
Instructional Systems Technology Department
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Homepage: http://mypage.iu.edu/~cjbonk/

Sep 1, 2009, 8:56am Top

I happened to catch an interview this morning on NPR between Will Wright (the creator of the Sim series of computer games and Spore) and E. O Wilson on a similar subject. Wright asked Wilson if he thought there was a role for computer games in education and Wilson responded that he thought games are the future of education. They went on to discuss Wilson's concept that children have traditionally learned by immersion and participation, and that simulated environments on the Web can get us back to that model of education. What role do you see games and simulations of this type, especially those that are interactive without being tied to geography, in the future of education?


Sep 1, 2009, 10:11am Top

Hi Curtis,

From an author’s point of view, I’m curious about your thoughts on the eBook revolution and the debate on whether eBooks will totally replace paper books.

And by replace, I mean that eBooks will eventually overwhelm but not totally eliminate paper products in the marketplace.

To me, it looks like a television/internet scenario. We need them both.

Thanks for your comment!

Sep 1, 2009, 8:19pm Top

Hi Arias. This seems to be the summer of the e-book. I am writing a special insert on it in my free e-book extension of The World is Open book. This will come out in a couple of months. In the meantime, here are some things which should tell you times are changing.

1. I think that with Scribd (http://www.scribd.com/) and all the protests during the past 2 years (which I discuss in Chapter 7) and now the agreements Scribd has with Harvard Press, Simon and Schuster, and so on (who previously had lawsuits against Scribd or considered them), the times are changing. Scribd CEO and Co-Founder, Trip Adler, posted a piece of my book last night (557 views in less than a day). See:

2. University presses recently banded together to announce many of their books becoming e-books.

3. Sony announced a new deal with public libraries last week for accessing books with their Sony Screen Reader.

4. There are over 300,000 books on the Kindle. Many of them free, including most of their "best sellers"--assuming you can call a free book or a 99 cent book a best seller. 16 of the top 25 best sellers are free:

5. Korean are creating a free digital textbook for all K-12 school classes that will come with animations, hyperlinks, evaluations, surveys, simulations, study aids, and much more. 112 schools in the pilot this year. Hope to be in all schools by 2012.

6. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a digital and open access book initiative in May for K-12 schools in California. They have a budget crisis as you know and spend like $300,000 to $400,000 on books. This will help a bit but more so display leadership. Major publishers are jumping into this discussion.

7. Jossey-Bass/Wiley is jumping in and placing making many of their books ready for the Kindle. My book is with them and sales for the Kindle are doing quite well. #1 in Computers and Technology category within nonfiction education books and it was in top 15 for all nonfiction education books.

8. Yale and MIT Press have pushed the borders of e-books (as described in Chapter 7 of my book) by placing many books in free PDF formats (see Opening Up Education from MIT Press) and having annotation options (see the book, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain from Yale) or in a wiki (The Wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler from Yale).

9. There are now complete lists of free e-books like this one from iReader Review of free books:

10. With so many free book sites, all I can say is wow.
LibriVox: http://librivox.org/
ManyBooks: http://manybooks.net/
Bookyards: http://www.bookyards.com/
World Public Library: http://worldlibrary.net/
The Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/index.php

11. Chris Anderson's new book, Free: The Future at a Radical Price (see http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2009/07/free-for-free-first-ebook-and-audi...) should have publishers wondering as well. He is giving away the unabridged version of his audiobook and you pay for the abridged. Go figure.

12. My World Is Open book will soon have an e-book extension; just give me a couple of months (see http://worldisopen.com/). Same chapters and chapter sequence and length (long); just different content. Already much is up that is free to the world including a prequel and postscript in the form of an Open Letter to the Learners of this Planet including 10 learner rights and 10 learner responsibilities (see http://worldisopen.com/). I hope that the e-book extension leads many to the physical book. It is a new model or so I think--2 books and 1 is E (electronic) or D (digital) and 1 is P (physical).

So e-books have sorta taken off since my book came out in early July. And it is a revolution just like all the other 9 trends in this book. Will it eliminate paper? I do not think so. I tend to listen to books in my car and buy many of them as physical books if I think that I will need to find specific pieces of information. With physical books and indexes to them, I can find such rather easily.

So I will agree with you that we do in fact need both. There is much online for TV like books. When I began writing my book, I did an experiment and gave up TV for a year and got all my news online. I also gave up beer and all forms of alcohol. And I ran everyday for 1 year. My feet were quite sore at the end. But I did not need TV. Now I watch it occassionally (a few minutes of Brett Farve here and there). Like TV, we will still need books 10 years from now though less often and for more specific or particular needs.

Some publishers will adapt and many will not. And innovative new programming will emerge. Reality books? Gosh, I hope not. Thanks for the question.

Sep 1, 2009, 8:36pm Top

Hi Dr. Neutron...In the chapter on Alternative Reality Learning (Chapter 9, Opener #8 of 10 openers), I discuss simulations and gaming. However, I cover this topic in much more depth in the e-book extension of the World is Open book which I hope to post to the book website in a couple of months (http://worldisopen.com/). I point to the continuum from case learning to educational simulations and games (serious games) to augmented reality to virtual worlds. I have much more on scenario learning and case learning and games. Happy to send you the draft if you write to me. curt at worldisopen dot com.

Wright went to a Montesorri school which fostered more interaction, play, exploration, creativity, and learner empowerment than most traditional schools. He has been talking about this for some time. Like any innovator or designer or world changer, he wants to convince us that his view of the world is the correct one; that his model of education will win out. Maria Montesorri had hope it would be the case more than 100 years ago and John Dewey as well. I think they both would finally see true hope today. I talk about Dewey in Chapter 7 of my e-book extension as well and his pedagogic creed from the 1800s.

I think games and simulations have been hyped for the past 3 years. They are like e-books back from 1999-2002; one day they are the next big thing and the next day they are not. E-books are now finally hot (see my response below). If life follows a similar pattern, simulations and games will finally really take root in schools, colleges, and universities in the year 2015. Military and corporate training are perhaps already at that point.

Yes, they will immerse people in near authentic worlds. Jan Herrington, Tom Reeves, and Ron Oliver have a book coming out in a month or 2 on authentic learning. I just endorsed it. Here it is:

A Guide to Authentic E-Learning, by Jan Herrington, Thomas C. Reeves, Ron Oliver, Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.

They have many examples of games and simulations that are realistic and fun yet also teach important concepts. The principles for authentic learning have existed for decades. They are the first that I know of who pulled them all together. This is exciting! So if Will Wright and others perhaps follow some of the advice of the researchers and practitioners, then perhaps we will see what you are hoping for.

But school structures also need to change. More alternative types of schools may help. When this happens, simulations and games can be embedded in every course or class. They will not be all of the educational experience, but they will be much more pervasive and important. And hopefully, less kids will drop out of schools. I hope you agree.

Sep 2, 2009, 8:43am Top

Thank you for such a great answer, Professor, and let me say that it’s a pleasure to be in touch with an author on the cutting-edge of e-book technology. I love the title and cover to your book too. (It’s a graphic designer thing.)

As a Scribd member, it so happens that just yesterday I did read your excerpt about Trip Adler and it was very interesting to read background on him and Scribd. It’s a great place to browse.

Not long ago, I had posted a free copy of my novel and I’m surprised that hundreds of members have downloaded it in just a short time. You mentioned authors such as Chris Anderson, he’s convinced that offering a free e-book version of his book “Free”, would spur sales of what he calls the “atom” (paper) version. I tend to agree with this, although I think there are two distinct types of buyers out there.

Thanks for all the links, I’m checking all that out and even though I’m in the process of moving, I just might order your book before I move and take it with me instead. I know there’s much more to learn about this technology and I’m sure your book has a lot to say about it. I look forward to getting it and reading more.


Sep 2, 2009, 1:13pm Top

Yes, Alberto, there is much happening in this field. Glad you found the post useful. The book title was not the original (long story) but is good I think. the cover is ok. The text title needs to be blue. Will try to change that on the reprinting.

Yes, Scribd is an interesting place. I am fortunate to meet Trip Adler before his company really took off. He will post the free e-book extension of my World is Open book at Scribd once I complete it. I am working on Chapter 10 of 12. There is some information on Chapter 2 of the book (if you buy it) about authors whose sales go up as a result of posting a free e-book version of it. My idea is different--to have 2 books that are similar. My model is to write too much and divide it into 2 books. We will see if that works or not.

I also talk about LibraryThing in Chapter 7. Many such resources covered in the 2 books. Many free resources (all the Web links) at the World is Open book Website. See: http://worldisopen.com/

Have a safe move.

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