Post #2 — Textbook …. or not to Textbook
One of my main goals this school season is to make my classroom more inquiry and technology based. Well, actually, that has been my main goal for the past 4 years, but I’m moving with baby steps and have been experiencing some growing pains, but each and every year, I am meeting my goal by becoming a little bit more inquiry and technology based.
I am not assigning textbooks this year to any of my students. That is what I am doing as part of my goal. According to Thomas and Brown (2011), “We believe…that learning should be viewed as an environment – combined with the rich resources provided by the digital information network.” (p. 35). I do not have access to computers all of the time, but I am including digital resources as much as possible.
I don’t think bypassing textbooks should be a way to save money. That is not the issue. What is at issue is being sure to use current information. Textbooks are expensive and schools are reluctant to purchase one per student unless they are willing to use them for 5-10 years or even longer.
“And therein lies the major pitfall of the twenty-first century’s teaching model – namely, the belief that most of what we know will remain relatively unchanged for a long enough period of time to be worth the effort of transferring it. Certainly there are some ideas, facts, and concepts for which this holds true. But our contentions that the pool of unchanging resources is shrinking..” (Thomas and Brown, 2011, p. 40).
In her blog, Audrey Watters (http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/hack-higher-education/banality-textbooks ) muses about the banality of textbooks. She discusses the different e-textbook options that are available to parents and students. She wonders at the end of her post whether the only benefit is financial.
I think having a set of textbooks in a cupboard ready to use on occasion is the right way to go. Because information is changing so fast, it is very important for teachers to see textbooks as only one resource to be used amoung many and that students should have access to reliable digital sources whenever possible.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Seattle, WA: Create Space.