Are online textbooks the best learning resource for the future? What are the key issues that will determine the effectiveness of this emerging technology? A panel of experts, including leaders from the educational technology industry and educational researchers and practitioners, has been discussing these questions and others in “Soapbox: Divergent Perspectives on Technology in Education,” a new series of online forums sponsored by the Institute for the Advancement of Emerging Technologies in Education. The purpose of the web site is to provide regular opportunities for industry and education leaders to share their perspectives on emerging technologies and to generate a wider discussion among members of both communities. Soapbox is a closed, moderated discussion among the chosen panelists and is guided by specific questions posed by the moderator. Each topic is discussed for one week, and the resulting dialogue is posted on the site, where review and response from the public is welcomed. Panelists for a recent topic, “Online Social Studies Textbooks: May They Not Repeat the Errors of the Past,” included Susan Adler, past president of the National Council for the Social Studies; Neil Bush, founder of Ignite! Learning; Matt Estes, a history teacher at Randolph School in Huntsville, Ala.; researcher and author James Loewen; and Steve McBride, executive director of instructional materials and school improvement at the West Virginia Department of Education. The discussion was moderated by Mary Axelson, editor of the Heller Reports monthly technology newsletter.

http://www.iaete.org/soapbox