Wikitextbooks – Moving Forward.

wow. what a week. I’ve been talking to all kinds of cool people over the last week, and have been spending pretty much every waking hour working on either the wikitext project or on the project at my university. The time has come, I think, for a model of where the wikitextbook project could go. There are several different threads at the moment, but I’m just going to focus on the one that answers our original question, and that is, “can a wikitextbook replace textbooks in K-12 classrooms?” This isn’t meant to be a business plan… but a blog post on where I think we should go, it will range far and wide… which might not surprise those who’ve been here before :-)

Thus far the project has been an excellent experience in connective learning. We’ve talked to many different people across different fields and have identified some needs, worked through some guidelines and posited a variety of solutions. The main commentary that i’ve been hearing since the last episode is ‘now it’s time for a plan.’ So, here is a draft proposal.

Ensuring a need – Checking the field
The plan that we are following over the next few weeks is to bring in as much experience as possible to make sure that the wikitextbook project isn’t already being done somewhere else. We have not interest in recreating the wheel. I think that we are doing something different than the two other major instances of wiki textbook projects; wikibooks and wikitextbooks.

building a team – a business and a leader
There are two key members of a preliminary team that are needed in order to get the project started. A person experienced in starting open source projects to write a solid business plan, and a project leader with experience with the software and the community, and, most importantly, considers themselves an educator.

A need for real curriculum – finding starting content
According to bud the thing we really need to do is get some curriculum together. I, to some degree, agree. It could take several months to write the necessary curriculum to fill a wikitextbook, even if the intent were only to create a proof of concept. There are several half-full wiki projects out there, and one of the main criticism that mainstream educators have of them is that they are incomplete.

The kind of group I would like to approach would be the people that Sean is working with. Take a look at Sean’s situation. He has curriculum, needs to constantly update it, and runs into problems with paper publishing. He, and I’m sure many people like him, have an established curriculum and need some expertise and a plan to allow them to deal with their issues. I think that this would be an excellent avenue to go down in order to put together a proof of concept.

Setting up the wiki – structural design
While it is necessary to adapt any curriculum to a wiki environment, having something to work with at the beginning would make it much easier to structure the wiki-environment. Some initial thoughts. There needs to be at least two levels (probably more) of accessibility for the wikitextbook. The core, built from the initial curriculum and the shell, developed by the users of the textbook, and would be the flavour added to the basic curriculum. There needs to be an interactive linking system between the state standards and the curriculum itself. At any time, someone should be able to find curriculum goals and then find the curriculum that that is designed to achieve those goals. A solution for delivering media (audio and video) in terms of hosting would be necessary.

Delivery plan – with teacher planning
The limitations of text force me to put this after the others, but it should be a constant development through the other sections. A way to deliver in classrooms (projectors etc…) would need to be discussed. (for which i will make a crazy suggestion see this link. these are great, bulbs last ten times longer, and they cost 20 bucks. Just need someone to build them.) A way to bring the teachers along in terms of giving them the necessary literacies to be able to teach using this stuff in the classroom. This is the most essential step, and should be followed throughout the project. Teacher buy in is essential.

3 Responses to “Wikitextbooks – Moving Forward.”

  1. john Mullaney Says:
    Dave this is an interesting sketch of a plan. Why not post it to the educationbridges site?
  2. Steve Margetts Says:
    A fascinating post that replicates the debate I have been having with many people over the past year since I started I agree with your excellent post.


  3. dave Says:
    i like cocomment.

Author: dave

I run this site... among other things.

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