Not likely, but thanks to the Internet and social media tools, the traditional model by which textbooks are written, produced, distributed and updated just might be!
So how is digital technology affecting on the textbook business? According to a New York Times story from this past weekend:
Many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web.
As more and more players enter the digital textbook and open educational content space, it is interesting to see the variety of strategies, platforms and styles of digital textbooks and textbook alternatives that are sprouting across the Web. Here are a few to sink your eyes, ears and creative sharing, mixing and remixing juices into:
- Flat World Knowledge (FWK): Looking for free and open college textbooks online? Take a look at FWK’s catalog and course listings to start browsing. If reading on a bright screen is not your thing, FWK gives you print, audio and self-print PDF options, as well as numerous mixing and remixing tools to customize your “text” to your needs. To learn more about FWK’s business model, listen to this interview with Eric Frank (FWK co-founder).
- CK-12’s Flexbook Tool: As the website states, “CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. Using an open-content, web-based collaborative model termed the “FlexBook,” CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality educational content that will serve both as core text as well as provide an adaptive environment for learning.” For a sample of what Flexbooks look like, take a look at these resources on the human body. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, start creating a Flexbook today!
- Curriki: California is pioneering an experiment with free high school digital textbooks. Curriki has two science books—chemistry and earth science—in the running, and is calling on science teachers to make these open source books the best they can be. That means you! Click on the curriculum tabs on the aforementioned chemistry and earth science links to get started! Or, if high school science is not your subject, search for digital textbooks and textbook alternatives here! Feel free to share your own content too!
Obviously there are a lot of great digital textbook and textbook alternatives out there beyond the three above. Leave a reply below to share you content and favorites!
Curriki International Consultant
Note: The image above is a public domain work and can be found in its original form on Wikimedia Commons.