Editorial -- Students and their parents know first-hand the nightmare of buying college textbooks. Textbook prices have been increasing about 8 percent a year and many are in triple digits. The old-school way of saving money on textbooks - buying them used - is difficult nowadays because of minor editing changes that render year-old texts out of date.
Rice University-based publisher OpenStax College today announced plans to more than double the number of titles in its catalog of free, online textbooks by 2015, thanks to a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF). More than 150 colleges, universities and high schools have adopted an OpenStax textbook since the nonprofit publisher’s 2012 launch.
If University of Oklahoma student Mandi Gatlin had enrolled in Introduction to Sociology last year, she could have expected to pay between $50 and $100 for the course's textbook. But because she enrolled in the class last semester, Gatlin got her book for free.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan called recently for the nation to move as fast as possible away from printed textbooks and toward digital ones. "Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete," he declared.
Calling it a proposal that will get "our kids college- and career-ready," the board of education unanimously approved a technology plan Monday that will give sophomores and freshmen at Glastonbury High School iPads at the start of the next school year.
A group of publishers and tech companies gathered in Washington recently to talk about getting digital textbooks into U.S. classrooms. The gathering, convened by the FCC and the Department of Education, included everyone from Apple to Intel to McGraw-Hill, and it was premised on the idea that digitizing classrooms is a good thing.
Michael Hiltzik -- Something sounded familiar last week when I heard U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski make a huge pitch for infusing digital technology into America's classrooms.
Every schoolchild should have a laptop, they said. Because in the near future, textbooks will be a thing of the past.