New digital textbook that adapts to your level of knowledge as you read

(Last Updated On: September 10, 2014)

A new digital textbook that was introduced to US students in Houston, Texas is very different from any other textbook one would have ever come across in the past. It is the first digital schoolbook in which lessons are personalised.

The book creators wanted to change how students learn from text books. In the past, one had to raise their level of understanding and strive hard to learn complicated chapters in the book, but this book uses artificial intelligence to personalize lessons. Richard Baraniuk, director of the OpenStax project at Houston’s Rice University, who is behind the books said, “We want to be able to create the perfect book for every person. Ultimately, we want a system that turns reading the book into an exploration of knowledge”.

For the development of this digital text book OpenStax analysed the students from 12 U.S. schools, they sought to understand how these students used their books in their studies. They examined their scores in the tests. The research went on for three years. The research is now used to train machine learning algorithms and enables the biology and physics digital textbooks to understand individuals and adapt to their levels. The app works in a simple manner, if a user is unable to understand the chapter or a particular page, the book will provide additional information, ask more practice questions and emphasize more on the chapter. This will increase their concentration and their ability to retain what they have studied for a longer period, the developers said.

Richard Baraniuk, founder of OpenStax College, the higher education division of OpenStax explained the working of the app. It is similar to how Netflix or Amazon functions. Netflix suggests movies on the basis of what you have already watched and Amazon recommends books in the same manner. The digital text books also work on the same lines, the K-12 adaptation he specified, uses “machine learning within digital texts, so data is gathered and patterns recognized that will interpret a user’s behaviour”.

Richard Baraniuk, founder of OpenStax College, the higher education division of OpenStax stated that they have received $9 million from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to introduce these textbooks in high schools.


Source: International Business Times

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