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Over the weekend I’ve attended couple of sessions at the Unbound Book Conference, taking place in Amsterdam and the Hague.

I was positively surprised over the many interests that were displayed there about the future of the (post-)book as an educational device. What do I mean? Several presenters and participants, both teachers and academia members, displayed quite unorthodox views in regarding to the study book.They acknowledged that supplemental tools are required today, in order to generate a better engagement between the student and the study material.

Of particular interest were the words of Frank van Amerongen, the director and publisher of the ThiemeMeulenhoff educational publishing house. Starting his career as a teacher, he’s spent past several decades in the educational publishing world. And he has some interesting things to say about the modern classroom.
“When a student enters the classroom, the teacher demands from him to switch off his iPhone”, Van Amerongen said. “But for the student, the iPhone is the entire outside world”. According to him, the teachers are effectively creating a separation between the “school world” and the “real world”. I believe that this is one of the reasons that promotes a feeling of “what I study in school is irrelevant to my future life”.

Van Amerongen has shown statistics regarding youngster’s use of media. The sharpest drop of it occurs when they’re at school, and includes reading. He suggested teachers were educated on the 20th-century values of books and classrooms and are having trouble accepting any different technologies into the classrooms. He said that future publishers would become service providers rather than content providers, creating “plug-ins” or “apps” for educational material on a multitude of platforms.


Frank Van Amerongen

Frank Van Amerongen in the Unbound book conferece, photo cc by-sa Sebastiaan ter Burg/ Flickr




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