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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Knol. A source of eTextbook Materials?

Google discussed in it's blog this week a new product called Knol. The idea is that a contributor can create, with authority, a detailed and factual unit of knowledge on a particular topic. Now, the product is not available for public consumption as yet, but the example suggests that this may be a good eText foundation.
Official Google Blog: Encouraging people to contribute knowledge: "The web contains an enormous amount of information, and Google has helped to make that information more easily accessible by providing pretty good search facilities. But not everything is written nor is everything well organized to make it easily discoverable. There are millions of people who possess useful knowledge that they would love to share, and there are billions of people who can benefit from it. We believe that many do not share that knowledge today simply because it is not easy enough to do that. The challenge posed to us by Larry, Sergey and Eric was to find a way to help people share their knowledge. This is our main goal."
Consider, if you will, that a course for a particular curriculum could be built featuring authoritative sources rather than pages in a physical text book. In fact the eText, or eCourse, may not even include the articles, but merely references to the information on Google's Knol. Frankly, it could include reference links to Wikipedia but the challenge with Wikipedia, and possibly with Knol over time, is the question of authentic authority.

Hey Google! Suggestion eCourses: Collections of Knols matched or configurable to suit any school system's curriculum?

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