Friday, July 13, 2012

Chapter 2 - To Search and to Scan, Web Searching in the World of E-books

In this chapter, Bonk describes how improvements in bandwidth, storage space and computer speed have made possible the vast amount of information that is available online today. The notion of "fingertip knowledge" and the idea that we don't need to memorize as much today because the information is so readily available is interesting to me. My understanding is that knowledge works like building blocks and that new knowledge is added or assimilated into the knowledge that we already have. I wonder how not memorizing information will affect the acquisition of new knowledge.

There is a bit in this chapter about courses that are delivered electronically. I have not taken an online course but would like to see what it's like. Most of the chapter details with various efforts to digitize books and make them available online for free. Free is my favorite. I have not checked out the organizations and the free books yet but it seems like a gold mine for schools. I would also like to check out the book by Anderson about creating online courses (ties in with my interest in taking an online course). Another source for online books that I have run across is National Academies Press. The books are available for sale but are also available as free PDFs.

Another trend that Bonk mentions is how the web has put a different spin on publishing creative work and how authors are earning money from speaking engagements based on the online success of their free books.

Bonk's enthusiasm for technology is evident and that's about all I had to say about chapter 1. Chapter 2 was an easier read for me and gave me some information to think and some resources to follow up on.


  1. There is a phenomena in education where the administration needs to bring in "experts" for staff development. With Technology it has been some one who tells us of all the new latest fancy tech... that will "save" education if only we use it. The issue is these presenters usually just tell about what ever is the lastest who have never actually used it in the classroom. To be honest, I believe most schools have much better "Experts" in their own classrooms.
    I find this chapter has flashes of this... the author is telling us about all the different tech (historically) I hope the later chapters tell about "how" it would be used.

    In the Chapter this statement..
    Some people get; others simply do not struck me...

    I would also add some simply do not WANT to get it. It is easier to say "oh I don't understand tech can you do it for me...or I don't have to do it"

    The sad part about this is they are irrelevant it is no longer about convincing that these tools are useful, but how to best optimize their use.

    My brother has built an online program that will make bad teachers irrelevant. You can go to the best teacher anywhere anytime....

    Some people get; others simply do not (and I would do not want to)

    I have found the internet has also allowed me to go directly to the source. If I want to speak to the guys from Howe and Howe tech I just email and ask. We then are skyping them in class doing interviews....
    All I had to do was ask.

    Genius of Google is Google creates NO CONTENT.... they only help you access other peoples content easier....

    Google is the Library of Alexandra... without the immediate threat of a fire destroying it all and all the knowledge vanishing.

    It is not the scanning that is important but the searching inside those documents. My wife doing Ancestry ... she can see the Census... and can SEARCH them

    * I would point out all new books start digitally and won't need to be scanned... and the number should decrease especially if we spread it out. For example with Billions of people having everyone scan 1 books gives you 1 billion books done.

    With Online Cloud... the Students DO.... and it is not lost forever...

  2. Yes. Chapter 2 does go into a great deal into the how we can store so much data and the fact that so much is available online.

    Some things that made me really consider how our world was changing is when they first discussed RoadRunner. It is amazing that it has the computing power of 100,000 laptops and that it would take 46 yeas if all the humans in the world tried to accomplish the computing it could do in a single day. That is mind-boggling.

    I also found the idea of niche learning focusing on student passions and interests. While its true, there is often so much he have to learn that is not tied to our much more could be. I can think of so many English writing assignments I had that were based on a single idea that I had no connection to. What if it were about something I had an interest in...

    I also really appreciated the statement " The Web simply offers access at speed. But just because something is good, doesn't make it a good read." There is indeed a great deal of information on the web and almost an unlimited amount of information, but the quality of the work and our ability to comprehend it can vary. But so much can also be found in a second. I often well wonder about a topic or fact and my impulse if to Google-it. Immediate knowledge.

    I found the idea that The Internet conveys Immortality......
    I profound thought. The ideas we put online are there for many to read, see and ponder. Thoughts and ideas are in essence "out there"forever......WOW!

    I also found the discussion about Google and its mission to be very relevant. I appreciate Google and there is not a day that goes by I do not use Googledoc, Google search, GMail, or Google maps. Most often I am using all of these on any given day. And I encourage Google Jockeys in my class....I am often looking up things as they are mentioned in class or at a conference.

    Lastly the Open Library and similar initiatives mentioned are awesome examples of how the web is changing how were research and view information. I thought about how did research when I was an undergrad....hours and hours at the library looking up things in the card catalog and the endless photocopying. Now the last paper I worked on I used the online resources and found everything I needed in short order. The programs I used even formatted my citations as I used them. What a change.

  3. "features such as expert videos, animations, or audio are added or embedded within such books, there will be an even greater learning explosion." - This year I added Social Studies to my classes, as I've only taught ELA. There are three of us at my grade level teaching SS and very little resources. Since it's my weak area, I had a difficult time at beginning of the year finding resources to keep it engaging and not lecture and from the book. Luckily, we just got our laptops, so that helps. I watched a MLTI presentation at the student conference on iBooks - interactive textbooks. Also from this chapter - just started using Google Books in my classroom, as well!