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When Science Fiction Become Reality

Back in 1997 Charles Sheffield and Jerry Pournelle (in the style of R.A. Heinlein) wrote a "juvenile" science fiction series with the central characters being young adults. These books used real science as did the R.A. Heinlein ones. In one of the books, Higher Education, a large part of the focus on the education system. As part of that story the students in school didn't read their books, instead, they watched videos and had electronic readers read the books aloud to them. So it looks like to some extent we are now approaching that science fiction waypoint, as now less than half prefer to read a textbook versus watching a video of the content. This could also mean that we need to work harder to make the books more enjoyable and understandable. I can say that as a science teacher, especially when teaching in middle school, I and my students would become frustrated with our textbooks, as most science textbooks were written two grade levels above the grade that they were given to. Additionally, you find that most science textbooks had more new words to learn that even the foreign language textbooks.  So, in the end, it could be that students are just frustrated with the design of their books, or they might not like reading as much as watching. We might also want to look at new formats and designs like those textbooks from CK12.





Fifty-nine percent of Generation Z -- those ages 14 to 23 -- say they prefer learning via YouTube over traditional textbooks, according to a poll by Pearson Education. They polled 2,500 people between ages 14 and 40 and found that only 47% of Generation Z students preferred textbooks, compared with 60% of millennials.
Axios (9/22)  



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