The notebooks, pencils and pens are dinosaurs, an Australian e-learning professor declared in April, and he predicted they will soon be extinct in schools. He sees a day when computers – and only computers – will replace the low-tech educational paraphernalia of today. If he is right, much of the ergonomic thought built in learning and into today’s schools may also be extinct.
Textbooks, said Professor John Hedberg of Macquarie University in Melbourne in an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 5, have about five more years to run. He sees a day when many young backs will be preserved because heavy school backpack will be as obsolete as desks designed with room for books, pens, pencils and elbows.
It’s a bold statement – the death of books has been prematurely foretold by various experts since the advent of computers – but Hedberg is not alone with the idea.
“If you look at where education will be in five years time, it won’t be with print culture,” said Dale Spender, an education consultant, in the article. “There’s a cultural power struggle being played out inside Australia’s classrooms, with the textbook at the centre of the storm.
On one side is the entrenched “culture of print,” she said, and the authority history confers upon books in the getting of wisdom. On the other side is digital culture, a vast, new, chaotic world of unfiltered information that many parents and teachers approach with unease. “We’ve had five centuries of the printing press to get used to print culture, compared to about two decades of digital culture – and only couple of years of real connectivity with high-speed broadband.”
Australian schools are free to make their own decisions, according to the article. Older schools are cautiously phasing out textbooks, and students starting kindergarten may never come home with a book list except, perhaps, for handwriting.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald