5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 26, 2012 11:19 PM by Lynne Hoffman RSS

How we bring down costs and make textbooks more relevant?

Jane Brown Master
Currently Being Moderated

In this Converge article, How Professors Would Fix Textbooksby Tanya Roscorla (3 July 2012) professors point out that paper textbooks may have been declared dead but digital textbooks have yet to gain status. K-12 districts have limited budgets for the purchase of either. How can we bring down costs and make textbooks more relevant?

 

Publishers need to recover their costs of producing new books quickly because then the books go into the used book market. E-books encourage students to break the encryption or stick with paper books that they can resell. If you must buy a math or accounting book for $260 for one class, what would you do?  If an online homework manager is available that is an additional cost and may not be available to those with used books, what would you do?

 

How can we fix this problem?  I like the ideas suggested by Buttross in this article, and I'm interested in how you would "fix" textbooks for K-16 use.

  • Re: How we bring down costs and make textbooks more relevant?
    lhurlbert New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    I am taking a course that is suppose to help me bring technology, that most students have available to them, into my classroom to better engage my students and help them learn. The reading resources listed are all from 2004 through 2008.  How current and relative can this course be?

    • Re: How we bring down costs and make textbooks more relevant?
      llynch New User
      Currently Being Moderated

      You make a very good point.  If courses are not updated with current resources, I lose interest quickly and I can only assume my students feel the same way.

       

      I read the article and certainly can see the value of online textbooks that can be updated, with new resources, and interesting videos.

       

      What I really liked was Buttross's idea that textbooks be sold as modules that the educator can select from and organize for classroom use.  That is a great idea!

       

      I also think there are options for some really good interactive examples to be created and pulled in by the teacher as needed.

  • Re: How we bring down costs and make textbooks more relevant?
    Jane Brown Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    We generally agree that textbooks

     

    1. are expensive
    2. become outdated quickly
    3. can be heavy for students to carry, and
    4. are generically produced for a wide audience

     

    Looks like we need to be careful as schools move to electronic textbooks as they

     

    1. are expensive but could become more economical
    2. become outdated quickly but can be edited more frequently with engaging multi-medi content
    3. are lightweight but do require the purchase of a delivery device such as an e-reader or tablet
    4. can simply be print text books transferred to electronic form or can be personalized to meet academic strengths and weaknesses for a variety of student skill levels.

     

    K-20 is changing to electronic learning.  I don't think we can change the tide.  What do you as an educator need to do to keep costs down and make the learning more relevant?

  • Re: How we bring down costs and make textbooks more relevant?
    Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Does the use of textbooks lead to better student achievement?


    This question is the topic of an article in eSchool News posted September 21, 2011, titled: On ed tech, we’re asking the wrong question by Dennis Pierce, editor.  He suggests that someone needs to do research to determine if textbooks really do increase student achievement because schools across the nation are spending billions of dollars  each year on textbooks without any clear evidence that they improve student test scores.  He then confesses that he realizes textbooks alone can't affect how students learn; they are simply instructional tools.

     

    However, I found the question he posed rather interesting in light of current efforts to make classrooms paperless by digitizing learning.  Will using technology make test scores increase? Pierce comments on this idea also.

     

    So what do you think?  How important are textbooks and/or technology in improving student test scores? 

     

    Lynne

    • Re: How we bring down costs and make textbooks more relevant?
      Lynne Hoffman Apprentice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Amy Riddick responded by saying--

       

      I think it's an interesting question.  Our district is moving to ebooks, starting this year and continuing over the next several.  I don't think that in and of itself will increase test scores.  However, it will save money and hopefully that money is put back in to quality educators in our classrooms.  That is where great test scores come from - great educators with great plans in the classroom.

       

      As an aside, I was helping my son study for a math test last week and he has an ebook for the class.  We were unable to get into the book to print of more study questions because of a server error.  That is something we do need to take into consideration moving forward - that errors come up with computer systems and as educators we need to have a back up plan or show students how to access other resources to help them in situations like that one.

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