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Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:53 AM

The Growing Adoption of Creative Commons Textbooks


from US News & World Report:



Cable Green doesn't have to look very far to find an example of an education system weighed down by what he considers a bloated and inefficient textbook industry. The director of global learning for Creative Commons simply points to his home state of Washington. "My state spends $130 million per year buying textbooks," he says. "We only have a million public school kids in the state, so we're spending $130 per kid per year." Because each book is expected to last half a decade, the kids aren't permitted to keep them or write in them. The books are only available in one format, paper, and are sometimes seven to 10 years out of date. If one of Green's kids loses a textbook, as a parent Green is expected to fork over the money to replace it.

A superior alternative, he believes, would be easy to execute. "Instead of spending $130 million a year getting those outcomes, what if the state put up $100 million in one time money," he suggests. "We have 12 grades and eight textbooks per grade, so what if we put up a $1 million (request for proposal) for each book, and anyone can reply. The professors from the best universities can reply. McGraw Hill can reply. It's an open RFP, but the conditions are that the books are licensed under Creative Commons because they're paid for with taxpayer money."

Under this model, the intellectual property that results from these purchases would be owned by the public. In addition to being free to download online, the schools can print up paper versions for less than $5 per copy. Perhaps more importantly, the kids, once they complete the grade, would be permitted to keep the books, using them in the future if they need to. From there, the state would only have to spend approximately $10 million a year to ensure all the textbooks are updated with timely information. "It would save the state $120 million a year, and we'd actually have resources that our kids can use," Green says. "This isn't difficult."

The Creative Commons license celebrated its 10-year anniversary in December. And though the state of Washington has yet to adopt such a reform, several governments, both in the U.S. and across the globe, have passed and implemented similar policies as they've struggled to address the rising costs plaguing both lower and higher education systems. This movement, often referred to as open education resources (OER), threatens to upend what many reformers consider an anachronistic textbook industry, one that's ripe for disruption and change. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/01/17/the-growing-adoption-of-creative-commons-textbooks



16 replies, 1967 views

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Growing Adoption of Creative Commons Textbooks (Original post)
marmar Jan 2013 OP
xchrom Jan 2013 #1
dembotoz Jan 2013 #2
d_r Jan 2013 #3
Victor_c3 Jan 2013 #10
LWolf Jan 2013 #4
LisaLynne Jan 2013 #5
bhikkhu Jan 2013 #13
el_bryanto Jan 2013 #6
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #7
whopis01 Jan 2013 #11
flamin lib Jan 2013 #8
AtheistCrusader Jan 2013 #12
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #9
lumberjack_jeff Jan 2013 #14
Old and In the Way Jan 2013 #15
ananda Jan 2013 #16

Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:57 AM

1. du rec. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:59 AM

2. so are we to assume each student would have access to a computer and broadband to access?

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Response to dembotoz (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:02 AM

3. you wouldn't have to

if the school district wanted to they could get a print on demand publisher to print paper copies for very cheap. Look at something like amazon create, and think about doing that on a large scale. This is sort of like how silly it is to have medical insurance companies, why should we be using public money to fund private publishing companies when the state could do it themselves.

ETA heck, you could give each kid a kindle and still save money

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Response to d_r (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:40 AM

10. A kindle sort of device was exactly what popped into my mind when I read that article

Knowledge and education is a great equalizer and, at least in a public school setting, shouldn't be something that it profited off of by large private businesses. To proliferate a freely available textbook on elementary and basic knowledge would be a very democratic thing to do.

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Response to dembotoz (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:04 AM

4. We're to assume

that if they didn't, the school would print up one of those $5 copies for them.

As a teacher, I also assume that this would spark a push for ereaders/tablets for all students, at least on campus. Since it's unlikely that, at least for several years, all students would have access to a reader, teachers would likely be printing only the parts of the text they are actually using; not the whole thing.

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Response to dembotoz (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:12 AM

5. I've always been concerned about ...

higher technology use in schools leading to some being left out. However, in this case, I think we could easily overcome that. For one thing, to tell you the truth, even LARGE books, depending on format, aren't HUGE downloads, so you wouldn't need the highest internet speeds, such as you do for streaming movies. So, I'm thinking that could be something that the school could host/provide. I think the idea of an e-reader, assigned to each student, could be workable. They could download the books while at school, take their assigned e-reader home, and still have access to the material without an internet connection.

I guess what I like about this idea so much is that content could stay current much more easily. With the way the world changes, that's a pretty big benefit, IMHO. Plus, I know since I've jumped on the e-reader bandwagon, I have read so much more, because I have all my current reads with me. I think that would be great for kids who have a commute to and from school -- flip out the reader if they are board and get started on some reading. Ok, maybe now I'm being too optimistic.

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Response to dembotoz (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:12 AM

13. It would be cheaper for the schools to buy everybody kindles

...than to keep spending so much on textbooks.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:19 AM

6. That does sound like a pretty good idea. n/t

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:20 AM

7. A problem I have seen first hand is that publishers revise popular texts

in a manner that makes buying a new book required. One of my professors apologized to the class saying he used the old edition until the publisher stopped sending them. And the new editions are written so that they are different enough that you cant use the old edition along with the new edition. It would be a big help if the publisher (under pressure) would update texts with supplements or make old texts available for a longer period of time.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:51 AM

11. When I was a professor this used to piss me off

I taught engineering and many of the books would have the problem sets at the end of each chapter. There were many books (in fact I would say the majority) where the only difference from one edition to another were the numbers used in the problems. They wouldn't even change the problem - just the numbers used in it. Of course this was so that if I, as the professor, assigned problems as a homework assignment the students would need the newest edition to get them correct.

Then in order to encourage us to use their book, the publisher would supply all sorts of pre-made slides, tests, assignments and the like. All keyed to the latest edition of course.

I started teach the calculus classes and it finally drove me over the top. I can understand how certain fields need their text books updated from time to time - perhaps even on a yearly basis. But calculus hasn't changed too much in the past couple centuries. So I dug up my calculus book from my undergrad (about 20 years prior) and told the students that this was the book they needed to get and any edition from this one forward would be just fine. The book store had the latest edition of course - but I don't think they sold very many while I was teaching that course.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:28 AM

8. Provide e-readers and simply updrade the books as the student progresses.

Updating done through the school servers and password protected content. With a contract as big as a state school system the readers could get real cheap.

Big states like Texas could no longer dominate the textbook industry, teachers could choose from a menu of approved books, lost books replaced from the library on the server, updates for changes and corrections would be possible and the saving of e-books vs hard copy would pay for it, if not upfront in the out years.

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Response to flamin lib (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:01 AM

12. Yep, you can get a kindle fire or a nook color for the cost of 2 college textbooks.

And have so much more than just a pile of big-assed books to show for it.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:37 AM

9. great idea i love creative commons license

 

it's up there with the GNU license in my book (pun intended) used in open-source software movement.

long story short liberation technology can also save states money and help improve the educational system.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:14 AM

14. f'ing awesome idea. n/t

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:40 AM

15. Great idea...perfect for public schools.

Seems like a no-brainer. The only people complaining will be textbook lobbyists...so you can bet the Republicans will hate this idea.

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Response to Old and In the Way (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:47 AM

16. I like it too!

Sounds fantastic!

I saved some of the old textbooks I used a while back. Some of them were so good. The texts these days aren't as good. In any case, a good teacher doesn't really use textbooks that much but rather uses a variety of sources to make good lessons.

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