Jaron Lanier wrote an editorial for the NYT about the digital classroom. He points out that education may not be discretized into blocks and efficiently transferred to the students. He fears that reducing knowledge into blocks, and then having students shuffle them around, gives the impression that new knowledge is simply recombining old bits (i.e. Remix Culture). Lanier feels that this is a problem of computer-aided educational tools: designers can limit the learning by the nature of the “building blocks” the students can use. Further, the binary referendum of multiple choice testing gives an incentive for factory processes rather than hoping kids will absorb and then generalize the concept of “5+7” to apply it in new contexts (like, “15+ 17”). Matthew Bernius responds (hat tip: Paul Biba from Tele-read).
Margaret Atwood weighs in on e-books.
Jeffrey Trachtenberg has a piece in the WSJ about the publishing side of e-books, with regards to literary authors (lower prices for e-books – compared to hardcovers lead to smaller profits, coupled with a down-trend in book buying, puts the squeeze on author advances.)