Monday, January 23, 2012

Academic Badges and GarageBand E-Books

As part of the "adjunct army" that teaches a great chunk of the post-secondary academic courses, I'm painfully conscious of the high costs of textbooks and tuition, without being able to do much about it beyond observe the news. Here's a recent bid to "revolutionize" textbook publishing:

Apple to announce tools, platform to "digitally destroy" textbook publishing: "MacInnis sees Apple as possibly up-ending the traditional print publishing model for the low-end, where basic information has for many years remained locked behind high textbook prices. Apple can "kick up dust with the education market," which could then create visibility for platforms like Inkling. This could then serve as a sort of professional Logic-type tool for interactive textbook creation complement to Apple's "GarageBand for e-books." "There will be a spectrum of tools and consumers, and we will continue to fit on that spectrum," MacInnis opined. "I don't know if the publishing industry will react to it with fear or enthusiasm.""

Here's more about it from Open Culture: The best free cultural & educational media on the web. They've incorporated Apple's offerings into their aggregation of free online courses: Apple Releases Free iTunesU App & Enhanced University Courses (Plus Textbooks).

And this article suggests that college curricula and diplomas themselves may be on the way out:

College 2.0: Badges Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas | The Chronicle of Higher Education: "The spread of a seemingly playful alternative to traditional diplomas, inspired by Boy Scout achievement patches and video-game power-ups, suggests that the standard certification system no longer works in today's fast-changing job market. Educational upstarts across the Web are adopting systems of "badges" to certify skills and abilities. If scouting focuses on outdoorsy skills like tying knots, these badges denote areas employers might look for, like mentorship or digital video editing. Many of the new digital badges are easy to attain--intentionally so--to keep students motivated, while others signal mastery of fine-grained skills that are not formally recognized in a traditional classroom."

No comments: