This announcement needs to be tempered with an evaluation of what we want and what we need as teachers. After all, we are the ones that are at the coalface, we are the risk takers, the experimenters, the alchemists. What do we want for our students? What do our students need from e-texts?
My e-Textbook Manifesto:
These e-Texts would need to be equipped with modeling tools to forecast and then see the consequence of predictions. They would need to include tools like maps, charts, graphics and tables with touch screen abilities to alter variants. They would have to include integrated geo-search to locate twitter feeds or Facebook posts around specific issues or problems across the world. These e-Texts would have to include widgets to locate any place name or other names in relation to topics mentioned in the text as well as geographically locating blog sites locales, experts, universities etc. They would even provide realtime access to artists and artist’s studios, sketchbooks, inspirations, the music they listen to, the people they follow or who follows them. You could even embed the ability to back channel or crowd source solutions or issues, problems, challenges, designs, inventions. You could poll experts, have Skype conferences or watch TED style lectures. You could even have Webquests as part of an activity. But why stop here, why not also include voice to text answer facilities for those students with greater verbal intelligence, augmented reality and virtual excursions to the ancient world or under the sea. Lets really open up the world to our students.