This special issue of Innovate (journal of online education) focuses on the future of one key element of "old school" education in a Web 2.0 world: the textbook.
While textbooks have long been a central component in traditional, bricks-and-mortar-based curricula, they have been slow to join the technological revolution. Indeed, in some ways, the textbook is symbolic of "old school" education; as a cumbersome, expensive compendium of accepted wisdom, the textbook could be seen as standing in the way of the personalized, readily modified, self-constructed knowledge that contemporary students demand and developing technology allows. But the textbook has important functions in both the traditional and online classrooms. As centralized collections of key information, textbooks can help students manage, analyze, and filter the mass of information now available literally at the click of a mouse.
And the concept of the textbook is evolving along with other elements of education. e-Book technologies can reduce the weighty mass of paper to a single, small appliance. Electronic textbooks offered online can include multimedia resources and reach beyond themselves via hyperlinks that facilitate individual exploration. Online versions are easily modified as information changes; can be personalized by learners via annotation, indexing, and interactive features; and can be made affordable for students around the world. In short, the textbook won't be going away, but it must evolve, both technologically and pedagogically.
Submissions for this special issue may address, but are not limited to, these key issues:
1. What will textbooks look like in the future? Will the textbook as we know it continue to exist in some recognizable form, or is the future of the textbook limited?
2. How will emerging technology, like the pairing of X-O computers and downloadable textbooks in use in Peru or cell-phone-sized readers with book-size pages, transform the content, function, and uses of the textbook?
3. How can textbooks be made accessible and affordable for disadvantaged learners and those in developing countries lacking the resources to acquire and maintain print textbooks?
4. What is the current state-of-the-art in textbooks? How are K-21 educators already experimenting with e-textbooks and other innovations? What can these experiments tell us about the future of the textbook?
5. What role will wikis and other Web 2.0 technologies play in the textbook of the future?
6. How can the textbooks of the future incorporate the best features of constructivist and authentic learning principles, by tailoring content to individual learner needs (including the needs of disabled learners) or through other technological innovations?
7. How will textbooks shape the interaction between teacher and student and the role of the teacher in education?
8. What developments--in technology, in funding, in pedagogical theory, and in politics and copyright law--will be required to make e-textbooks readily available, especially to students in developing countries?
If you would like to submit a manuscript on this topic, please review our submission guidelines and send your manuscript to the guest editor, Parker Rossman (firstname.lastname@example.org ), and to the editor-in-chief, James Morrison (email@example.com ), no later than April 1, 2009.