Digital Textbooks or InfoWikis?

This week, I found myself parallel thinking with Fred Bartels again. He’s proposed a Wiki Textbook called the InfoWiki. I found myself listing to an amazing series of podcasts about digital textbooks at They have six shows on the topic now with some amazing folks such as Danny Wool from WikiMedia, Larry Sanger of, and Will Richardson of

All of these conversations have been wonderful, but the Education Bridges conversations have not touched on the $100 MIT Laptop that could allow for these resources to be distributed to students in lower income brackets.

The conversation with Larry Sanger (part 1 and part 2) definitely left me with the most questions to answer, but clear ones.

Thanks to Fred and the EducationBridges folks for having this conversation.

5 thoughts on “Digital Textbooks or InfoWikis?

  1. Alex,

    Thanks so much for sharing the conversations. Larry Sanger is thinking very clearly about the subject. He is just using the wrong term. 🙂


  2. Hey…

    The 100 dollars laptop does not yet exist. That’s the problem. I don’t think we’re anywhere near the point where we can talk about how it would solve any of our problems. There’s no proof that it will ever exist. If it does. great.


  3. Dave,

    Thanks — I definitely agree with you that the $100 dollary laptop is not here and we can’t assume that it will be here, but I guess I’m hung up on how this will be a flatener if there is not a device to distribute it. In a classroom where you can look at one text with a inexpensive computer and a projector is one option, but what do the kids do when they need to go home or when they need to read different pages in the book?

    I love the idea of digital textbooks or infowikis, but even in my affluent Independent School, we are debating 1:1 and we can afford it.

    I guess it’s a which came first argument. Keep fighting to be first:->

    – Alex

  4. Hi Alex,

    I think that given the existing computer technology, we should be able to use surplus computers from business and government, drop a nice, tight linux distro on to of it, and get 1:1 for less than $100 a student. I know that Kathy Malsbenden in New Hampshire put together a computer class for… i think it was 500 bucks. There are also DIY projectors out there that can further reduce costs, although there is some debate right now about whether that will work…

    keep fighting indeed. hope to see you today.


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