The Textbook Challenge [CONTEST]

I have been known to say that there’s not much in your children’s textbooks that isn’t available in at least a dozen places online for free.


But, hey, maybe I’m wrong. After all, the textbook publishers think that they’re adding value to the teaching-learning process. And many teachers and school systems appreciate that someone else has curated for them the nearly-infinite range of learning resources that now exist in print and/or digital form.

This week I’ll be looking at my children’s textbooks and comparing them to what I can find online. I invite you to do the same. Let us know what you find and/or think by commenting on this post or any subsequent post in the series. Anyone that leaves a comment (along with a valid e-mail address) will be entered into a drawing to win the following prize pack:

  • Tribes, Seth Godin
  • Catching Up or Leading the Way, Yong Zhao
  • Ignore Everybody, Hugh MacLeod
  • A CASTLE mug or water bottle
  • The prizes aren’t really the point, of course. What’s important here is how able (or unable) we are right now to step away from costly printed/electronic textbooks. I agree with Michael Doyle’s statement that

    a well-crafted web site with a thoughtful teacher acting as the curator to the links can produce a body of knowledge superior to textbooks.

    I also would add that students should be part of the curation process too through use of tools like wikis, social bookmarking, and blogs. Subject-area associations like the National Council of Teachers of English or the National Council for the Social Studies, foundations, museums, libraries, and other entities also could be excellent curators of online content.

    So… this week I investigate in more depth my own proposition. I hope you will join me by trying this yourself and also passing this quest along to others. Feel free to use my Textbook Challenge image as desired; like everything else I do, it’s got a Creative Commons license. Thanks!

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