Saturday, December 19, 2009

If you won't listen to me about textbooks, maybe you'll listen to a teacher

The following is reposted from a comment to the previous post.

The viewpoint is that of @chadsansing Chad teaches humanities at a charter school and blogs about reforming classroom practice. NBCT, NETS*T

Are any K12 text book publishers going hyperlocal for customized, print-on-demand reading comprehension collections or workbooks for kids?

Another way to leverage the works they've licensed might be to sub-license school districts permissions to remix text books with student input for reading content differentiated to students' levels and interests.

A company could charge the same price as a workbook, but let the school division pay the paper price, using the larger profit margin to pay for the infrastructure to deliver the texts and remix interface to divisions. And why not throw some QR tags on each page back to additional online resources or practice hosted by the company?

I'd rather not send text book companies any more money.

School budgets are drying up, and there's an awful lot that can be done with free software and open-access informational texts. I hope open-source education beats companies to the differentiated-textbook-on-demand punch.

Until there's a compelling collection packaged for easy use, divisions and teachers will probably stick with what they're given. Any chance of open source education drafting authors to produce CC or public domain work for schools? Is this going on already?


  1. Very interesting discussion. Of course traditional text book companies are also re-thinking the way they package content and I wouldn't be suprised to see some hybrid (traditional plus open-access) products soon. Cengage's eChapters is one form of text book 'deconstruction' -

  2. Michael JosefowiczJanuary 1, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    Thanks for stopping by. Nice point about the text book companies fighting to remain in the space.

    From an XML developer and digital printer it's all good. Whichever business organization gets there, it still means XML to data streams to digital print.

    My personal bet is that while they are trying to figure out how not to cannibalize their present revenue streams some start up is going to get market share.

    In the college textbook space in the States we have Open World . There model is read the textbook for free on line, pay for study guides and a print version. The leadership team has over 40 years between them in the college textbook industry.

  3. I think E-Reader devices with a predetermined or downloaded curriculum would be one of the best ways to replace text books all together. It has often been stressed about how the children need to get their own laptops in schools, and I think the best way to rid a child of the heavy and cumbersome textbooks, is to utilize the lightweight tablets and E-readers the way they should be.