Anyone that has gone through higher education at some larger public universities has probably encountered a professor or two that has written their own textbook. The problem that most people have with this is that they believe it could present a conflict of interest, as the teacher receives compensation for every textbook sold. Therefore, many students question the true motives for requiring certain textbooks in college classrooms.
Teachers at the Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minnesota had a motive for writing their own online textbooks that involved money, but the motive was “saving money” instead of possibly “making money”. The school district paid a group of teachers around $10,000 to develop an online statistics course with the help of software provided by the CK-12 Foundation. They also spent around $5,000 to provide the courses online and to provide students with DVD copies.
“If every school district looked at doing this for all of their classes, the money saved would be just unbelievable,” one of the district’s teachers commented. Each one of the previously published traditional textbooks cost individual students more than $60 to use. School districts would also normally be required to use the same traditional textbooks over a period of 10 years, which means students towards the end of the traditional textbook’s “run” may be studying outdated material.
The benefit of coming together as an entire school district and accomplishing this type of thing is that now they don’t just have an “open” course SPECIFICALLY designed to meet their learning needs, they also have a course that can be updated and revised at any given time very easily online. No need to worry about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on textbooks that may become outdated in five years, just have your district’s teachers meet over the summer months and put together an updated section when needed.
From reading the article, it is clear that the teachers in this school district are really enjoying this online textbooks model, and they seem excited about the future. We are excited too, as this is certainly just the beginning of the digital learning revolution that is sweeping the globe.
Source Article: http://www.ck12.org/flexbook/