Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free interactive biology textbook in creation

A recent article from Wired Science discusses the efforts of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation to create an interactive and comprehensive digital textbook for biology that will be available for free. The textbook will be called Life on Earth and it will be created from scratch in the digital format.

Neil Patterson, director of Life on Earth, commented on the effort to revolutionize science education. Patterson noted, “Motion and film are powerful ways of teaching. We’re trying to exploit the human brain, like videogames do, and it’s not a small matter to use technology now available to us.”

The digital book will contain 59 chapters and will be extremely expensive to create so university level editions will be sold for about 10 percent of the cost of an average print textbook. The foundation will also need donations to support the effort.

The Wired article also includes a couple of videos that are worth watching. The first video is a demonstration of the first chapter of Life on Earth and the second video provides more information about the initiative.

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