Building Your Own Textbook | Edutopia.

Amen, sister. We are being royally screwed by the textbook publishers.

Textbooks are a multi-billion dollar industry — an estimated $3.5 billion for the K-12 market alone. But the growing availability of digital content and open educational resources (OER) is giving schools the opportunity to bypass some of the traditional expenses of textbook purchasing. It’s also giving teachers the opportunities to build their own textbooks.


No doubt the move from print to digital content is shaking up the entire publishing industry. But the opportunity to shake up and rethink textbooks seems particularly profound. When you digitize other types of books — novels, for example — you (probably) want to retain the layout and the chronology of the original print version. But when you digitize textbooks, you can disassemble all those various pieces that comprise it — the different units, chapters, exercises, diagrams, illustrations and so on — and you can reengineer something completely different. You can add video explanations, for example. You can make the diagrams interactive. You can add social elements, letting students make notes in the “margins” and share them with one another.


You can also include in a digital textbook (or “course packet” or whatever we’d call this new collection of materials) just those resources that students are actually assigned to work through.