Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

From scribes to enhanced e-books

Posted on: January 22, 2012

The arrival of enhanced e-Books and iTextbooks is exciting; both add a new dimension to the continuing discussions about the future of the book.  Media specialists are purchasing e-readers, e-books; media centers and classrooms are providing iPads and other tablets for students. This week I visited with a former teacher who has been retired for several years.  She is an avid reader and book lover.  Her iPad filled with books, videos and photos is her constant companion.  She “blames” me for dragging her into the technology age in the 1990’s.  The reading/technology projects we developed for her middle school students are among my favorites.  I’d love to see enhanced e-books of the Gary Paulsen novels her students couldn’t get enough of. Last night I explored a biology textbook on our iPad;  It makes makes total sense to enhance textbook learning with built-in audio and video.

Media specialists are asking what to purchase; some are getting requests or suggestions to replace all books with digital content.  It’s a more daunting mind-shift than the “why do we need books when we have the Internet?” questions of a few years ago.

These discussions always bring to mind From Scribes to Printers, to You/Me,  a seminar I attended three year’s ago. The English professor’s entertaining, scholarly, and thought-provoking history of the book stuck with me. He chronicled the evolution of the book and reactions to its changing formats throughout the centuries. Hstorically, he placed books publishing in three eras.

The medium: Stone, clay, parchment, paper, disk
The container: Book, html, and scroll
The production/dissemination method

He included visuals and a fun video, “The Medieval Helpdesk with Subtitles,” in the session.  Take a look if you haven’t seen it. Enjoy watching the scribes who are both amazed and afraid when they examine a book, the printed word in a new format. They had to turn pages! I left the seminar full of thoughts, excited and comforted.  Books will remain, they just will they will be different.

Learn more!
Medieval  Help Desk with Subtitles

The New Media Specialist.  Internet@ Schools, Jan/Feb 2012
   or  http://wp.me/P9FeO-9z
Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas Online class
Learning Together: The Evolution of a 1:1 iPad Program Internet@ Schools, Jan/Feb 2012

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