Monday, March 15, 2010

The Problem With Textbooks

Thank God it is the Texans making fools of themselves--keeps the Nation's eyes off Oklahoma for a while.

The problem, of course, is with the Conservative view-point being crammed into the social studies, history and economics textbooks.

Answer: Instead of physical text books, purchase the eDGe, a 2-screen e-reader or even laptops (maybe minis), one for each student. Buy as many as are needed for any state and the price should fall through the floor. After all, newspapers and novels are moving to electronic format, why not textbooks? Bonus: The students can not physically write in the "e-books" and thereby render ordinary paper books unusable. It happens.

Next, say, New York should tell the publishers that it will only pay for the electronic version of the textbooks WITH the offensive passages (read Phyllis Schlafly) left out and Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Alva Edison put back in. This should not be a problem in an electronic format.

The electronic versions will be priced at about 40% of standard print versions--no paper, no binding, minimal shipping. (Added bonus: less paper means fewer trees sacrificed, less toxic processing of the paper, less toxic glues used in the processing of the cardboard covers, less money flowing off-shore--as I am sure text books are no longer printed and bound in this country.)

Or look to some enterprising, innovative, intelligent instructor with some practical experience who has a good text book that could not pass the Texas Board of Education. He or She will be pleased to see her/his work "published" and educating students. It was probably written in an electronic format to begin with: one less step in the process removed.

Macmillan and DynamicBooks already offer interactive textbooks. Macmillan even allows college professors (why not all instructors, no matter what grade?) to alter the content without prior permission.

This could get interesting.

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