School Textbooks, Yes or No

Dennis Coxe, Sailing by the Sound, Aug 23, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Discussion continues on the issue of whether schools should purchase textbooks. Karen Romeis says books have always been a "treasure trove" to her. George Siemens writes, "I'm not convinced that technology is deterministic - i.e. that we must inexorably trudge the path down which it leads." But that is not the position at all; the call to stop purchasing textbooks has nothing to do with technological determinism. Dennis Coxe, meanwhile, calls my own position "a bit too radical for me." I don't think it's radical at all. The money we spend on textbooks is wasted. We could put the same content onto websites, we could do it for free (because it's not like our academics are paid much of anything by publishers as it is) and the kids would be more comfortable with it. And the adults who persist in doing the the old way because they are more comfortable with books should stop proclaiming it as a virtue. More discussion on my post from yesterday.
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