Response to Guest Critique

After refining the direction and specifics of the interactive textbook, a critique session with a guest brought up a number of issues and perspectives that should be considered.

Primary Concern
The primary concern for my project is its extensive scope. Scaling down or removing certain features would make the project more viable and allow for more focus on the individual elements. The current tools that need to be developed are:

  • Dynamic loading from server
  • Saving / highlighting
  • YouTube / Google / Wikipedia
  • Exploration / assessment instruction
  • Achievements / milestones / secrets
  • Social media integration
  • Electronic medium

Some of these are essential to reaching certain objectives and others do not require much effort to include. The most difficult feature is the integration of 3rd party content from YouTube, Google, and Wikipedia. The least important feature is the saving and highlighting ability to customise content presentation. Removing the customisation feature would neglect its purpose as a personalised teaching tool for educators, but maybe that isn’t really the main focus of my project anyway? I should probably remove it from the main project outline until the project is complete. If there is ample time during the development phase I will return to it.

Perspectives & Considerations
A point of view encompassing the entire project relates to the sense of authority of a book. Would students respect the dynamic and digital medium enough to consider it a serious source of academic learning? It’s no question that books are stable; they represent confirmed information and practiced knowledge. However, in more recent times, with the amount of information being doubled faster each day, books often become inaccurate or obsolete. Modern generations are becoming wary of books, especially when using one as a single source of information, what with all the propaganda and biased views being published in Malaysia. Information from the Internet isn’t very reliable either, but I personally find that with good critical thinking skills and the right amount of skepticism, learning from the Internet can be far more accurate, recent, and varied.

On the issue of too much knowledge causing depression in individuals, although this is true in extreme cases such as mathematical geniuses, it is no excuse for limiting knowledge acquisition. Ignorance is bliss, true but still no virtue.

Finally, in the cases where I bring my opinions into my reasoning, I am very careful not to be biased. It is important to not allow opinions affect results, but questions and thoughts are what lead to new information. The scientific method requires opinion. It begins with an observation, such as mine of the lacking education system in Malaysia and the rise of digital media as a learning tool. Then we hypothesise, or rather, guess, which is where my opinion that incorporating digital media in schools will be a benefit to education, these are my opinions. Then we deduce the implications of the hypothesis, such as access to digital media and the Internet widening the scope of topics, developing cognitive abilities and critical thinking, etc. Finally, we test or research existing tests, and if the results differ from the hypothesis, we change the hypothesis to fit the results, not the other way round.

Relation of Elements

After receiving feedback for project 1 (the Statement of Intent and this Study Blog), it appears that a number of things aren’t clear with the direction and concept of my project. This post will clarify these elements and their relation to each other.

Elements:

Creator side
There are a number of concepts and points of the project that are based solely on the side of the creator and educators. These guide the direction and objective of the project but are not directly accessible from the user’s perspective.

  • Changing core of education, RRR -> reading comprehension, information search and retrieval (self-learning), and critical thinking (cognitive development)
  • Problems with current education, static, outdated, inaccurate, and not environmental
  • 3 theories

User side
From the user’s perspective, the experience is key. These elements are guided by the creator side elements but have been translated into a consumable format.

  • The interactive textbook will be a multi-platform application that will run on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices running Android and IOS. This is possible because it will be an Adobe AIR application that is easily translated onto multiple platforms. It will be used by teachers and students in different ways and have a number of very specific functions to solve specific problems as listed below.
  • These functions were defined due to them solving certain problems and also based on the concept of changing the core of education and the 3 theories guiding the project.
    • dynamic loading of content for easy updating
    • saving/highlighting (REMOVED) of content to personalise learning experiences
    • integrated YouTube, Google, Wikipedia videos and information based on chapter topics
    • content exploration & information accuracy assessment methods
    • milestones & secrets based on fun theory to encourage learning
    • social integration with Facebook and Twitter.

Function model
This function model demonstrate the relation of all the defined elements of the project.

Brief User Experience

Sweii asked me to briefly describe what the user experience of my interactive textbook will be in 3 words and then to describe it in a single sentence which I will assume is within tweet length (140 characters).

3 Words

  • Fun – To motivate and interest.
  • Convenient – Effort is not attractive.
  • Useful – Automatically helps and improves.

1 Sentence

  • An interactive, dynamic content presenter that improves the learning experience, encouraging self learning and expands the scope of topics.

Additionally, key features of the interactive textbook were listed in the ‘Form’ section of the statement of intent. They have been slightly modified, so I will list them again here.

  • dynamic loading of content for easy updating
  • saving/highlighting of content to personalise learning experiences
  • integrated YouTube, Google, Wikipedia videos and information based on chapter topics
  • content exploration & information accuracy assessment methods
  • milestones & secrets based on fun theory to encourage learning
  • social integration with Facebook and Twitter.