Skip to main content

Saving money as a method of change

I don't usually feel that savings should be the end all reason for changing how a school runs, but I do understand the pressure. I'm sure that we have all experienced situations where, at some point in our lives, we had to cut back on expenses to be successful (read not-fail).  I'm sure that everyone has also had experience with the spend money to save money aspect also, such as when you buy a more efficient air conditioner or water heater that ends up saving enough to pay for itself after a few years. For many though, textbooks are sacrosanct elements of schools, after all textbooks in their current form have existed for centuries, and moving to a new format is a major paradigm shift for many.  But, this shift seems to be a must change, as the world moves deeper into the information age, then to should the experiences be more authentic to the way that people will access information (beyond just school). Think about your own behaviors recently, when you needed to look something up, did you go to a library, find an encyclopedia or dictionary and look that thing up (and if you did was it current)? When you needed instruction on how to do something, did you buy a book or did you start with a search? So if for your own lifelong learning you look things up and read or watch online for answers, shouldn't we also be doing (modeling) that in the classroom. The nice thing to me is that the process of using updatable textbooks in a digital format with students, won't cost more to save in the long run, but can save right now. One device, multiple textbooks, current textbooks, after all who wants a science textbook that talks about Pluto as a planet, that human DNA will one day be mapped, or any number of other science aspects that have changed in just the last decade? So let's do get new book, books that are adaptable and interactive, and adapt teaching styles and strategies to take better advantage of this savings.


Ohio district saves $800,000 with move to e-textbooks
An Ohio school district plans to introduce electronic textbooks for sixth through 12th grades, replacing traditional textbooks and saving the district $800,000. The expansion, which follows a pilot program, will provide e-textbooks for subjects including math, language arts and foreign languages. Dayton Daily News (Ohio) (8/6)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ebooks as Textbooks - Part 2 - Highlighting

Highlighting can be a very effective tool in reading and learning no matter the kind of text being read: from novels to textbooks.

Most textbooks or other forms of information text will usually used text features along with graphics to help organize information presented in the text.  These elements are done to help focus attention on important or key concepts and provide additional information. The text organization itself can include structural elements such as heading, subheading, index, glossary, paragraph spacing, bulleted or numbered lists, sidebars or side boxes, italics, underlines or bold for words or even sections. Graphic content can include the use of symbols, colors, illustrations, pictures, diagrams, charts, and graphs.
The act of highlighting is less time consuming and much easier than note-taking (to be discussed in an upcoming posting). To be effective in highlighting it should be a kind of metacognitive approach of sifting or filtering to identify the important content…

Google Maps

An exciting time today, as I was riding my bike to work, I saw the Google Maps Car driving by. You may be wondering what the Google Maps car has to do with ebooks, but often books have maps and Google Books has lots of books with Google Maps developed from extracting the locations from the text. This kind of mapping got me so excited that myself and Jerome Burg wrote a book on using digital mapping with books. But the car reminded me that these maps are out there just waiting for you to start using them. For example if you go to Google Books, and you are reading Vern's Around the World in 80 Days, look in the About this Book section, and then scroll down to see if the book has a Places mentioned in this book... component.

In one class I copied the map from Google Books and then we put it on the wall, so that as we read the book, we tracked where we were in the story on the wall map. One warning though, for some reason the books with maps in Google Books seems to randomly change fr…

The darkside of textbooks

This may illustrate what could (and most likely will) be the darkside of opensource digital textbooks. Any individual or small group could create a textbook and make it digitally available, but it could either be slanted to a certain view or not include information that an author disagreed with. Yes, teachers should be able to supplement information provided by the textbook to provide a better picture of the actual situation, but that too has issues. For many teachers, the textbook is the curriculum. For example, in science classrooms, teachers have been known to rely heavily on textbooks (Driscoll, Moallem, Dick, & Kirby, 1994).  The textbook, often a critical part of developing the curriculum for a school, and has relegated the teacher to occupy more of a passive role in the planning process.

Historically, published curriculum materials, such as textbooks, have been the main component for teaching in the US (Goodlad, 1984).  These textbooks provided a variety of aspects of the e…