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Challenges when using collaborative digital textbooks

Grönlund, Å., Wiklund, M. & Böö, R. (2018). No name, no game- Challenges to use of collaborative digital textbooks. Education and Information Technologies. 23, 1359-1375.


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Digital textbooks are far from only a digital version of a textbook. They rather constitute a learning environment with its own rules, modes, and possibilities to communicate for teachers and students, to share knowledge and to learn together. One more “actor” besides the teachers and students are the digital textbook itself as it mediates meaning and provides feedback on what has been learned. The study is quite extensive and took place over 1,5 years, including 370 students in 7th and 8th grade and 30 teachers. Students were largely left to themselves as they read texts or listened to them, with a minimum of interaction with others or activity in their own exercises. In addition to this, many students felt that they lacked skills to use digital textbooks. The researchers conclude that the new and digital learning textbooks, are often used “as if” they were analog. They suggest that new approaches and developments are needed for this to change. We here wish to add a reflection: with this way of using the digital textbooks- the process of working more alone and with little interaction risks that students also lose the more active process that can even occur with a printed book.

Inclusion and Digitalisation: Digitalisation is mentioned, not inclusion. It is somehow implicit that the digital textbook has potential to work for all learners. In the section on presentation aids students with disabilities are mentioned and the opportunities to adapt these textbooks and make learning accessible.

Feasibility for this project: This is useful because it explains the possibilities of digital textbooks very thoroughly and what is needed for them to work as a learning environment, or what can threaten that.




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