With digital textbooks, online lessons, learning games and peer networks, we can help students enjoy better lessons (at home, or in school).
A student with a computer and a broadband connection at home can watch a lesson from one of America’s most experienced teachers. And if something in that lesson confuses her, she can stop and replay the point over and over again. With digital textbooks, she can move beyond the traditional text and follow hyperlinks that define technical terms, connect to pages on related topics, or launch videos. Some digital textbooks allow her to add her own notes and questions directly into her personalized textbook. If her class is using a collaborative tool, like Google docs, her teacher can post a series of study questions online, then assign one or more questions to each student. Other students can then expand or correct the other students’ answers, all online, in real-time. If a student still needs help, she can select lessons on the same topic from a list of other recommended providers.
Back at school, she can take her math quizzes online, using programs that help her teachers measure (in real time) her understanding of basic concepts and her mastery of math facts (see “diagnosis”). Some of those programs actually select questions for her based on how long it took her to complete prior quizzes, and how many and what type of questions she missed (see “personalization”).
Before she heads home the next afternoon, her teachers can recommend supplemental programs (extra practice, for students who need more help; additional reading, for students who need a challenge). To help her complete that work, she can use one of several collaborative tools or social networks to find answers to tough questions, or complete work on a group project.