In his essay “Colleges Should Mandate That All Textbooks Be Digitized,” Mark Pensky, software designer and author of Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning and Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom, takes the position that colleges should ban non-electronic books to improve teaching and learning. Some of the issues he speaks to are; what a bookless college would look like, moving education into the 21st century, addressing pushback of the social and cultural norms, creating enhancements to the educational system, the advantages of having an all digital campus, and the roles of teachers and college surrounding this subject of banning non-digital textbooks.
Early in the article Pensky states that, “A print text book ban will not discourage reading, nor diminish the value of the ideas within the books. In fact, e-books liberate ideas.” (2013) He is making the point that it is the content of the books that is important, the ideas, concepts and thoughts, and that the ability to access them in a new efficient way is most freeing. Several times he stats “I’m not advocating that we get rid of the good and valuable ideas, thoughts, or words in books – only that we transfer them to (and have students absorb them through) another form” (2013).
The article talks about the spread of digital books in South Korea, as a forerunner country who is integrating a fully digitized elementary level curriculum by 2015. He also points out that most undergrads use mostly digital forms of books and if needed they can scan into digital any physical book they need. Pensky speaks about how some colleges have already gone-digital in terms of how they deliver books to students ...
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... I’d rather have paper to write down and make my own citations and marks depending on the subject, but if I’m reading a novel, then using a tablet is great, and I’m able to carry as many books as I need. It’s amazing how technology has shaped our educational system over the years and especially in the last 10 years. Honestly, it was only a matter of time before we arrived at this crossroad. It still remains to be seen how this path will be navigated and implemented fully, but I’m excited to be on the journey.
Presnsky, Marc. "Colleges Should Mandate That All Textbooks Be Digitized." What Is the
Impact of Digitizing Books? Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. At Issue. Rpt. from "In the 21st-Century University, Let's Ban (Paper) Books." Chronicle of Higher Education 13 Nov. 2011. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.
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