Out with the Old, In with the New?

With the invention of e-books, digital media, and iPods, a question comes to mind that I’m sure has been asked several times in the past but I’m going to ask it again: Is it time for textbooks to be set aside and make way for technology?  Personally, I think too much emphasis may be placed on textbooks.  Otherpriced, multi-colored texts for a subject can be supplemented with other resources.  The textbook itself should not be the focal point of a class.  It is considered to be a resource used by the students, however some believe it to be where the content should come from.  But consider this.  The information from a textbook could come from a myriad of resources that the teacher could create in a more economical way.  I’m not saying that you should go Google “The Causes of the American Revolution” and use every hit you find on it.  A balance needs to be necessary between the digital and hardback resources for a class.  The library has not become an obsolete form of knowledge with the invention of the Internet and should never be forgotten.  But the money allocated in a budget for textbooks could be spent a different way to provide a effective education at a low, low price (Wow, I think I’ve become a used car salesman, lol). Some of that freed up money could be spent in other areas.  Textbooks are not the greatest things in the world and can be substituted with better resources.

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3 Responses to “Out with the Old, In with the New?”

  1. Well, I can see the advantages and disadvantages to textbooks. They do provide a lot of great information that is very helpful to students. But at the same time I do agree there are other low cost options that could be utilized to help save money and use it in different areas like laboratory equipment for science labs or better gym facilities for the students. So much money is spent on books for students to use for a few years until they are outdated and something better comes along. But I guess my question is, would the school board allow it in the public schools. I know in PA there are so many restriction and regulations put on exactly what the students need to learn. It seems like a teacher that is trying to be innovative and creative in the classroom would just have their ideas shot down before anyone ever stopped to consider them. Now if we’re talking about the college level, then I totally support it. The environment is so much more relaxed and it seems like no one cares too much as long as learning is taking place. I have had many professors put together their own “books” which were simply spiral bound papers that had all the materials they wanted us to know. They pulled it all from different sources and all we had to pay was the cost of printing so it saved anywhere from 40 to 100 bucks. I know that doesn’t drastically matter for the college because we’re the ones shoveling out money for the books, but it would still be beneficial for the students since they would gain a breadth of knowledge from different resources like we’re doing right now. On a more personal note, I am working on my MA in Literature, so I do have quite the passion for books and would hate to see them go, but at the same time I know that times are changing and it is better for students to have a variety in their learning materials so they can gain as much knowledge as possible.

  2. I also feel as though I am always being tugged at by my electronics whether a phone call to the wife or someone else that needs me. I think that people prior to cell phones just didn’t communicate as much and had lower expectations of what had and be completed.

    I am sure that prior to email that the amount of communication about what was going on in our world was much diminished. But having the increased amount of information we can plan many more activities into our lives, thus the feeling of a ”constant run”.

  3. Change, in any shape or form, is never going to be an easy thing. Habits, strategies, etc. take persistence to change them. Restrictions may be high in different states but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop trying to find different ways to make things better. A elementary physics class I had in my undergrad program used to require a $150 textbook for the course, not including the lab equipment and manual. The professor of that course knew his students were frustrated by the cost so he found a way to break the cost up into three $20 books that covered the material at HALF the cost. While this is at the college level where the environment may be more relaxed that doesn’t mean we should try at the K-12 level. The work we put in for this just may provide better opportunities for kids with the new money in the budget.


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