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.
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.