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Making the Move to Digital Content

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Making the Move to Digital Content

Digital learning environments are the key to addressing what one might call the “three C’s” of learning today. 21st century students are required to be sophisticated consumers, interpreters and users of content. Our schools need to teach them to:
• fConsume (read and interpret text and imagery)
• fCollaborate (share what they’ve learned and work with others to extend their knowledge)
• fCreate (demonstrate understanding by synthesizing and using higher-order thinking and creativity skills to build new content)

Electronic versions of textbooks (or e-texts) address some of the problems of print in that they are lightweight and easily updated. But merely consuming content—from printed or digital texts—is an internal and passive way of learning and neglects the other two C’s: collaboration and creation. This is particularly true of e-texts designed to be used with special-purpose readers. As an article in the winter 2008 issue of the Educause Review puts it, “Whereas textbook publishers have spent the past decade creating rich multimedia material to accompany their texts, these e-text readers are designed for displaying black-and-white text and images one page at a time. ...On the most basic level, faculty and students are likely to find these devices’ physical and software controls difficult to use for common classroom tasks. ...E-text readers occupy a niche new to computers but old in the classroom: that of the ordinary textbook.”

Read the full Making the Move to Digital Content.