The pandemic has shown that education has much to gain from the advancement and potential of technology. In Brazil, a new function that will be implemented in the classroom is interaction with digital books, expanding the limits of what physical textbooks allow.
This is the main idea of online digital book, It was created by the Center for Studies on Web Technologies (Ceweb.br) of the Information and Coordination Center of Ponto BR (NIC.br). In general, the solution uses open technologies to promote more interaction between the producer and the reader.
Explains Reinaldo Ferraz, web development specialist at Ceweb.br | NIC.br and one of the founders of the project, said that the proposal emerged from research on the use of open technologies, more specifically ePub. For those unfamiliar, ePub is a flexible digital book format that can be opened on a computer, smartphone or tablet. In addition, it works with other digital formats, such as most closed formats.
The project prototype was made from a copy of the Um Livro Aberto initiative, produced collaboratively between teachers and researchers in mathematics textbooks, with the materials provided free of charge.
“We noticed that it was not very common to leverage this technology for more aggressive applications and decided to investigate how we could explore the potential of ePub, particularly in terms of increased engagement and use of more modern resources, without losing its core open technology,” says Rinaldo.
To get an idea of the number of applications of a connected digital book, one of the first proposals was based on the work of The Lord of the Rings: as a person progresses in reading, an interactive map of Middle-earth expands. In time: Middle-earth, for those who haven’t read the book, is a fictional setting found in the work of writer J. R. R. Tolkien, where most of his stories are set.
The interaction is only viable, explains Rinaldo, because a digital publication can offer a range of uses, as long as the book is designed with pre-print digital format in mind.
“Like a print book, a digital book is not dynamic enough to take advantage of one of the main characteristics of the Internet: the ability for the reader to interact with content, or even with the author. A connected digital book is quite innovative to take the digital book to another level of relationship between author, content and reader that has not been yet exists in commercial digital books,” says the developer.
Thus, the applicability of the solution depends on the development of other functions for consuming book data, which are created in an open format.
Implementing the solution in class, for example, can allow a teacher to teach specific content from a digital book, and at the end of that class, students can access the exercises from the publication itself. The responses will be sent to a repository that stores data in a compatible format for use in different applications, such as creating data visualization in environments like Moodle, for example.
In this scenario, the educator is able to get more concrete data about class performance, success and error rates and, therefore, key uncertainties about the content, which can help him in planning his next steps.
“When the user fills in the answers and they are sent to an application, that database presents the data in an open format so that it can be reused in other functions, such as data visualization, an educational platform, an online game, or any other kind. An application that supports this type of data, even In another digital book, Rinaldo explains.
In a working example, Rinaldo shows that the Ceweb.br | . team NIC.br Use a small book from the sixth year of primary school to conduct an experiment, adding form fields to exercises for students to fill in the answers. Responses are displayed instantly, from simple text.
“In our experience, we were able to export a dynamic graph of responses in the book to which the student responds,” the developer explains.
Since this is a project launched in April of this year, there is still no information on schools using the Conectado Digital Book. However, Rinaldo comments that the Ceweb.br | . team NIC.br works on training and tutorials so that each individual can create their own connected digital book and install the platform in their organization.
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