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  1. #11
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    Thanks everyone. I wrote a long reply but it got lost in cyber space. That's how unreliable computers can be! Still not convinced we don't need text books. They are written by people who have some authority in the subject, are peer reviewed and looked over by editors. You can't use a highlighter to mark out relevant passages that are text on a computer screen.

    Lesson plans made up on the hop don't necessarily follow in a sequential way and can be arbitrary and plan wrong. Text books are constantly updated and the cost of a text book, I think, would be a lot less than a computer or tablet and the programs that need to be downloaded and the computer usage.

    Also, personally I don't like reading off a computer - scrolling hurts my eyes. I prefer to physically turn a page. In addition our kids are, arguably, already spending to much time in front of screens. Evidence is emerging that it harms their retinas and their brain formation. Books are great. You can pick them up at any time without the hassle of logging on, possibility that the computer has crashed or your password doesn't work and trawling through web site after website, or becoming side tracked by a blinking message from facebook or something else that peeks your interest.

    My partner (student teacher) told me that the computers where often used to access everything other than the work they are suppose to be doing!

    As for pedagogy, I have research this area a lot due to my own progressive Ed. where I learnt virtually nothing and play catch up in high school and watching my daughter's flounder and disengage under constructivist approaches. I align myself with the likes of Hirsch, Ken Rowe, John Fleming, Noel Pearson and Harry Webb, a mathematics teacher, who like me considers himself to be socially progressive but an Ed. conservative. He writes a wonderful blog called "Web of Substance". Just because something is new doesn't necessarily make it better. Look at the theory of whole language.

  2. #12
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    Just a little more. Here is an interesting article arguing for the return of text books. It seems that although text books are disappearing in countries like Aust. and England, in countries that perform better, such as many Asian countries, the text book is alive and well.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...ster-says.html

  3. #13
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    This piece argues very effectively as to why text books and lectures are still important while not dismissing some of the ideas around constructivism. I think it makes some terrific points.

    http://www.fno.org/may97/defense.html

  4. #14
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    I can't really speak for English and Math but history text books are updated so often that teachers don't realise how outdated their information is a lot of the time. As an example, my year 11 teacher taught Ancient Civs. The text book that was used was 10 years out of date and so much of the information in it was wrong that when I submitted my work using the correct information, my work got the equivelant of an "f" and my report stated I didn't understand what I was on about, despite providing the references for my work, along with the passage and the year the information was updated.
    The evolutionary side of archaeology is in such dispute regarding where we came from that the information is conflicting in a lot of the text books, and the discoveries of more of our ancestors makes text books in regards to the information obsolete. As an example for this, anyone who got a book about human evolution for archaeology at the start of last year, mid way through the year scientists found another link in the evolutionary chain which meant a lot of the text in it was useless. For things that change (pretty much) overnight, computers/tablets are better for the information required.

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using The Bub Hub mobile app

  5. #15
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    You make a good point Jennaisme however the reliability and authenticity of info. on a computer needs to be constantly monitored. That's not to say that you didn't find good sources. However there is so much rubbish out there that a student must constantly shift and trawl through.

    On the other hand a text book, when it isn't 10 years out of date, can be relied upon to a least be from an authoritative source and much of it has been well researched and documented..

  6. #16
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    Learning to distinguish between good and bad sources is part of learning though.
    Surely part of reading and writing assignments is critical thinking and being able to distinguish credible and non-credible resources (or developing such skills). I know at uni we are not encouraged to reference our textbooks at all in any assignment.

    I know with my DD (year 4) doing her little projects for school we help her to decide whether the information is good or not. She also writes a reference list, which she gets told over and over again she doesn't need to do.

    Giving a text book with only one (or a few) authors view I think impedes critical thinking and doesn't encourage finding reliable sources.

  7. #17
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    Thanks crankoldcow (love the name by the way). From your post, and others, it seems that it is very dependent on the school or teacher as to the use of text books.

    As I remember it English didn't have a text book either, just novels and poetry and plays. I think it was expected that by the time you got to high school you had mastered punctuation, grammar, sentence construction...Sadly it is often not the case.

  8. #18
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    Yes Chereelie I agree that students, particularly older students, need to take a critical approach to their sources. I don't believe it is so vital in primary school where critical approach usually boarders on opinion rather than any analytical thought process. This is usually simply because a child of this age has not had enough time to amass enough knowledge to make good judgments. Far easier in my view to point them to good sources and tell them to steer clear of certain sites. In primary school I'd like to see much more focus on good content and embedding of knowledge. This is the foundation of learning and critical thinking will follow naturally. I don't think it really needs to be taught. See Harry Webb

    By high school, and certainly by University, I do think that critical thinking has a greater role to play. I remember many of my assignments started with the question "explore and debate the issues surrounding..."etc However when we take up a position we need to do so with a lot of knowledge to inform our arguments. One of the reasons why I have an aversion to persuasive text in primary school.

    A good text book does not negate the need to look to other sources. Indeed often they will lead you to them. If you accept the post modern concept that there is no reality except the one that we as individuals construct then it is easy to buy into the argument that there are no known facts and no truths. However I do not buy into post modern thought. I believe that we must pick some arguments over others on the basis of rigorous, preferably scientific thought, reflection and experiment. As humans we need a reference point. We need a starting place from which we begin to collect our knowledge and ideas. I think text books are a good place to start.


 

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