If anything seems an underlying techno theme of 2005, for me it is a subtle, unlabeled series of tools, services, that are breaking content apart, and re-assembling it into new. Rather than coining a jargon, it seems to becoming more of a broader mindset of looking at information differently.
I’ve enough suggested this under the RipMixLearn nom de plume. But it’s nice to see things appear that actually manifest itself, as mine was totaly made up.
Ironically, I found about RenaissanceU from one of those almost spam like emails I get asking me to put links on our web site. But what it does sounds interesting:
RenaissanceU, an organization dedicated to uniting technology and education to offer increasingly effective learning at a lower cost, announces the release of its customized textbook product line.
The product, made possible by an exclusive partnership between RenaissanceU and SafariU, allows an educator to select chapters from best of breed books from O’Reilly, Addison Wesley, Pearson Education, and other leading publishers, combine those chapters in the way that best reflects the subject area being taught, and incorporate the educator’s original content. The final custom textbook is then printed and shipped or accessed by students as an online syllabus.
We understand that no textbook can perfectly reflect an educator’s philosophy or a classroom syllabus. By allowing an educator to pick and choose just the right content, add their own original material, and arrange the content in any way they see fit, we’re enabling a true custom learning experience. At the same time, these textbooks usually cost less than a traditional textbook.
Apparently teachers can create accounts at no charge, rip and mix text book chapters, and then make it available to students as either a printed custom textbook or an online textbook. It means breaking up the monolithic textbook into smaller units, and then making something new. If I did not know better, I might be talking about stuff that sounds like the never truly realized Theory of Learning Objects.
I’ve yet to actually poke around, and one thing the site sorely lacks is a set of examples. but I like the concept, though I am not sure how different authors mixed together would create a “whole”. But then again, like the concept behind MIT’s OpenCourseWare, the textbook is not the course, nor the educational experience.
So I’d be curious if others have looked more deeply at RenaissanceU.