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Sara Thompson

EXTRA ETHER: eBooks Gone in 5 Years? | Jane Friedman - 0 views

  • He co-edited with Brian O’Leary the seminal Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto, which has enough meaningful, thought-provoking essays in it to keep you muttering to yourself from the tiki bar back to the pool for the rest of the summer. Have a look if you haven’t seen its free online version.
  • McGuire points out that both Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPhone arrived in 2007.
  • Publishers are deathly afraid of the Internet. And they have very good reason to be, because the Internet is famous for gobbling up business models and spitting out total chaos.
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  • It’s a problem because in order to get this similarity with the past, we’ve ended up constraining ebooks and making them look a lot more like print books and a lot less like the Internet.
  • He offers a couple of strong examples of deeply interactive projects. One is the YouVersion interactive Bible site. Another is one he describes as an extensively structured online rendering of the 1912 journal of Robert Scott’s expedition to the South Pole, “a beautiful web experience,” each element of the journey tied to Google Maps.
  • For some time now, Virginia Quarterly Review’s Jane Friedman has been trying to wean readers away from the standard idea of “The Book” as the inevitable goal. Here she is, in a piece from October, asking “What is your killer medium?”:

    The book is often assumed to be the most authoritative and important medium, but that’s only because we’ve all been led to believe that (through a culture that has created The Myth about the author as authority). It’s a Myth, neither good nor bad. Just a belief system that, increasingly, we’re all moving away from.

    Hugh McGuire: "The distinction between "the Internet" and "books" is arbitrary, and will disappear in 5 years. Start adjusting now."

Essay liberal arts colleges should ignore reformers and reinforce relationships | Insid... - 0 views

    I was seated in the bleachers at an away football game when the father of a student-athlete approached me. He was eager to welcome me as the new president of Central College.
Sara Thompson

The Future of the Book Is the Stream - Megan Garber - Technology - The Atlantic - 0 views

    Would I subscribe to my books instead of outright purchasing them? We subscribe to Pandora, but we consume that music in a wholly different, almost mindless way. Books require a much more deliberate investment of time, no matter how easy it might be to get them. I'm not sure it's really the same model as the author here implies.
Sara Thompson

Findings: How We Will Read: Laura Miller and Maud Newton - 0 views

  • Welcome to the second installment of “How We Will Read,” a series exploring the future of reading from the perspectives of publishers, writers, and intellectuals. This week, we talked to Laura Miller and Maud Newton, founders of The Chimerist, a new blog dedicated to exploring the imaginative potential of the iPad.
  • There’s some sort of disgrace to being a reader, or a viewer, or just absorbing some work of culture — it’s this lesser activity, by that rationale. I really disagree with that. I feel like reading and looking at art and all of these things are creative acts in their own way. The experience of a piece of culture being appreciated takes two people.
  • But it is a special kind of canvas. It is a device that enables you to focus on one thing at a time, and I know some people have a real issue with that, that you can’t open another window inside what you’re doing, but I actually find that really refreshing. Even as someone who loves the internet. When I turn to my iPad, I’m looking for a different kind of distraction-free experience, for whatever I’m working on at the time.
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  • LM: Everything that Maud said. I wrote a piece about enhanced fiction e-books for Salon a couple of weeks ago, and I have one on nonfiction coming up any day now. I have been thinking about the whole narrative issue. I think there is a huge difference between fiction and nonfiction
  • MN: The pleasure of surrender, in fiction, is the exact opposite of interactivity. It’s this sinking in to the pleasure of the story
  • LM: I wrote a piece years before the iPad ever existed, actually, on hypertext fiction for the New York Times Book Review.
  • There’s an app called Once Magazine that’s mostly photograph-based. It is an iPad-specific magazine that reports on various happenings around the world. It’s a very interesting product, and I’ve been really impressed with all the issues so far.
  • MN: I’ve been playing around this app called Meanwhile, which is based on a graphic novel by Jason Shiga produced in 2009 as a really complicated choose-your-own-adventure book, evidently. I became aware of it through my friend Chris Baker, who’s an editor at WIRED. I’ve been playing around with that and enjoying it. The cartoonist is also a mathematician, so there are a lot of complex and frustrating story loops that you can get caught in.
  • I do think this speaks to what Laura was saying about the tension between trying to solve something and trying to experience it.
  • And, the thing about Chopsticks is that some of it is inherent to the iPad’s touchscreen technology, but it could have been a website or something. A lot of things you see on the iPad are different kinds of web art that’s been ported into this new format. And you absorb it in a different way because you’re holding it in your hand, and you’re touching it.
  • And then I became really interested in the size of some of these devices. Somebody in the London Review of Books made the observation that the old cuneiform tablets that the Babylonians and other ancient cultures used were actually about the same size as the iPhone. [Peter Campbell, “At the British Museum.”] So I’m interested in this different way of experiencing story and technology.
  • We’re both a little odd in that we don’t necessarily fetishize the object. I read so voraciously and indiscriminately as a child that my mother was constantly buying books at yard sales and the goodwill, and whatever. And a lot of times they were falling apart — literally. I would just hope the spine wouldn’t completely come off by the end of it. So I have a somewhat utilitarian approach to the object itself, even though I appreciate a beautiful book — and I can of course be swayed to pick up a book because of the way it looks. But I don’t really care what it looks like, once I’m reading it, if I like it.
Sara Thompson

New interactive teaching techniques | Harvard Magazine Mar-Apr 2012 - 0 views

  • The epiphany came via an article in the American Journal of Physics by Arizona State professor David Hestenes. He had devised a very simple test, couched in everyday language, to check students’ understanding of one of the most fundamental concepts of physics—force—and had administered it to thousands of undergraduates in the southwestern United States. Astonishingly, the test showed that their introductory courses had taught them “next to nothing,”
  • “They had a bag of tricks, formulas to apply. But that was solving problems by rote. They floundered on the simple word problems, which demanded a real understanding of the concepts behind the formulas.”
  • More important, a fellow student is more likely to reach them than Professor Mazur—and this is the crux of the method. You’re a student and you’ve only recently learned this, so you still know where you got hung up, because it’s not that long ago that you were hung up on that very same thing. Whereas Professor Mazur got hung up on this point when he was 17, and he no longer remembers how difficult it was back then. He has lost the ability to understand what a beginning learner faces.”
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  • Reviewing the test of conceptual understanding, Mazur twice tried to explain one of its questions to the class, but the students remained obstinately confused. “Then I did something I had never done in my teaching career,” he recalls. “I said, ‘Why don’t you discuss it with each other?’” Immediately, the lecture hall was abuzz as 150 students started talking to each other in one-on-one conversations about the puzzling question. “It was complete chaos,” says Mazur. “But within three minutes, they had figured it out. That was very surprising to me—I had just spent 10 minutes trying to explain this. But the class said, ‘OK, We’ve got it, let’s move on.’
  • Interactive pedagogy, for example, turns passive, note-taking students into active, de facto teachers who explain their ideas to each other and contend for their points of view.
  • Interactive learning triples students’ gains in knowledge as measured by the kinds of conceptual tests that had once deflated Mazur’s spirits, and by many other assessments as well.
  • Peer-instructed students who’ve actively argued for and explained their understanding of scientific concepts hold onto their knowledge longer.
  • This innovative style of learning grew into “peer instruction” or “interactive learning,”
  • “Now, think of how you became good at it,” he says next. Audience members, supplied with wireless clickers, can choose from several alternatives: trial and error, apprenticeship, lectures, family and friends, practicing. Data from thousands of subjects make “two things stand out,” Mazur says. “The first is that there is a huge spike at practicing—around 60 percent of the people select ‘practicing.’” The other thing is that for many audiences, which often number in the hundreds, “there is absolutely zero percent for lectures. Nobody cites lectures.”
  • The active-learning approach challenges lecturers to re-evaluate what they can accomplish during class that offers the greatest value for students. Mazur cites a quip to the effect that lectures are a way of transferring the instructor’s lecture notes to students’ notebooks without passing through the brains of either.
  • So I began to ask my students to read my lecture notes before class, and then tell me what questions they have [ordinarily, using the course’s website], and when we meet, we discuss those questions.”
  • Students find a neighbor with a different answer and make a case for their own response. Each tries to convince the other. During the ensuing chaos, Mazur circulates through the room, eavesdropping on the conversations. He listens especially to incorrect reasoning, so “I can re-sensitize myself to the difficulties beginning learners face.” After two or three minutes, the students vote again, and typically the percentage of correct answers dramatically improves. Then the cycle repeats.
  • ‘We’ve never done a problem of this kind.’ I tell them, ‘If you had done a problem of this kind, then by definition, this would not be a problem.’ We have to train people to tackle situations they have not encountered before.
  • “It’s not easy. You get a lot of student resistance,” he continues. “You should see some of the vitriolic e-mails I get. The generic complaint is that they have to do all the learning themselves. Rather than lecturing, I’m making them prepare themselves for class—and in class, rather than telling them things, I’m asking them questions. They’d much rather sit there and listen and take notes.
  • In addition to student resistance, there is architectural resistance. “Most classrooms—more like 99.9 percent—on campus are auditoriums,”
Sara Thompson

Unbundling Higher Education | From the Bell Tower - 0 views

  • You can still buy albums, but what Jobs and Apple did was completely unbundle how music is sold. We now buy just those songs we prefer from individual artists, and create our own playlists. Now apply that idea to higher education.
  • but for the most part only a single institution can provide the whole bundle. This makes a great deal of sense for accreditation purposes. If your university is accredited, then every course and degree earned from it has the seal of approval. Now a new group of providers are bringing courses to the market, and their goal is to do to higher education what Apple did to music.
  • What they all have in common is unbundling. None offers degrees, and even if they did there’s no accreditation to back them up. In time that barrier will likely be eradicated. Recall that for-profit online universities once faced challenges obtaining accreditation in many states, but it is a thing of the past. Their growth was unstoppable, and in time states and accrediting agencies has to capitulate.
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  • Khan Academy is equally well known, and an Inside Higher Ed news report shares some of the founder’s views about how his open learning website could provide competency-based credentialing as opposed to traditional accreditation.
  • Then there are some new entries into the open course market, such as Udacity, Coursera, Good Semester and Udemy.  These newer competitors are starting off with just a few courses, mostly free, but they give the impression that as many different providers become available a strikingly different model of higher education – alt-HE – could emerge.
  • An unbundled system of higher education might require academic librarians to think more entrepreneurially about how they operate.
  • The growing popularity of unbundled higher education also demonstrates there is a huge global audience for these courses; citizens around the world are seeking higher education that is unavailable or too costly in their own community. The forward-thinking traditional universities are looking at how they can capitalize on that market.
    Steven Bell looks at trends in unaccredited education (OER, for-profit) and postulates on what it might mean for academic libraries. 
Sara Thompson

VALA2012 Plenary 1 Griffey - VALA - 0 views

    The video is a look at some upcoming technology and the potential impact on libraries. Very interesting, but no mention of the sustainability of these things / these directions. Long, but worth watching.
Sara Thompson

A Post-LMS World (EDUCAUSE Review) | EDUCAUSE - 1 views

  • According to Babson Survey Research Group, 65 percent of all reporting higher education institutions said that online learning was a critical part of their long-term strategy, and over 6.1 million students took at least one online course during the fall 2010 term—an increase of 560,000 students over the previous year.
  • A post-LMS world does not suggest that the LMS is obsolete but, rather, that the practice of evaluating learning outcomes through a traditional LMS as the sole means for knowledge acquisition is obsolete. The original design of the LMS was transactional and largely administrative in nature, hence the “M” in “LMS.” The function of the traditional LMS is to simplify how learning is scheduled, deployed, and tracked as a means to organize curricula and manage learning materials.
  • LMS 3.0 design focuses on four essential applications: learning grids; e-learning intelligence; content clouds; and open architecture.
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  • Effective LMS 3.0 learning grids create and inspire greater user independence and self-governance to facilitate effective content-creation capacities and new crowd-sourced intellectual property through the personalization of a vast array of information sources. LMS 3.0, properly designed, creates reliable content that facilitates learning through organized interaction and communications processes that include the widest-possible spectrum of points of view.
  • LMS 3.0 information architecture plays an increasingly important role as the gravitational pull for core strategies in assessment, engagement, retention, and outcomes.
  • Tracking learning events is crucial, but ultimately faculty are interested in the kind of learning that yields positive behavioral changes reflected in outcomes and a mastery level leading to a seamless transition to the workforce.
  • LMS 3.0 design expands functionality to include open, flexible digital repositories with components that add context through outcomes measurement, social curation, reporting, analytics, and extensive sharing capabilities.
  • Higher education is increasingly embracing a more open future, and next-generation LMS design needs to commit to an open ideology.
  • Moving from LMS 1.0 environments that do not offer long-standing, established community contributor models—from the perspective of both source code and open content—to a truly open environment will be a critical success benchmark for the post-LMS era.
  • Effective e-learning design, as a lowest common denominator, will embrace nimble, interoperable, modular infrastructure in ways that make learning contemporary, relevant, and engaging.
    An interesting opinion piece on the future of the LMS.  Try reading this and replacing "LMS" with "library database" ... what would that look like? 
Sara Thompson

A New Kind of Book› Tabletop Touchscreens: The Next Desktop Publishing Revolu... - 0 views

  • This one’s personal, but I wonder how unique I am. My writing method often involves a bunch of writing surfaces
  • Writing for me on a laptop display feels claustrophobic. (I’m talking about the idea-generating and the drafting phase here
Sara Thompson

Redefining the Academic Library - 3 views

    An excellent presentation slide deck about the direction libraries could go. Slides I found most interesting / useful: the comparison of metrics on slide 6, the distribution models on slide 11, the library building example on slide 15, the "eras" of slide 17, the PDA rules on slide 28 - fascinating!, and the distribution of library space on slide 36 - raises good questions for us. The last slide ties it all together really well. This would be a great conversation starter!
Sara Thompson

Book: A Futurist's Manifesto | Just another PressBooks site - 1 views

    Part One of online ebook about electronic publishing; includes chapters on metadata, DRM, design, and distribution
Deb Robertson

The Collections shift - Lorcan Dempsey's Weblog - 0 views

    Contains link to presentation at RLG by David Lewis outlining a strategy for academic libraries with the following points:
    "Complete the migration from print to electronic collections
    Retire legacy print collections
    Redevelop library space
    Reposition library and information tools, resources, and expertise
    Migrate the focus of collections from purchasing materials to curating content"
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