Open Source Learning: Fad, Flawed, or the Future?

Having recently edited a text anthology that combines theory with films, I am naturally very interested in the future of the textbook. I came across this TED Talk (Richard Baranuik, Rice University) and wonder about the pros and cons of this theory of textbook distribution using screens and links. Is digital and online music the way to model the textbook industry? Though there are surely benefits to the “knowledge ecosystem” and global access, I suspect there is something naive about this application. Will it produce the learning “machines” (his term) or a hive mind? This assumes that the education and knowledge issue is merely one of access and distribution, but seems to ignore the effect of the screen, links, network, and hive mind on comprehension, cohesion, and, especially, critical thinking. When one looks at reading trends in America, it seems less that books that need to be remade, but rather that reading needs to be restored.


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