Thursday, March 21, 2013

Please, Please, Please Let This Become An Educational Trend

Writing at College Guide, Keith Humphreys points to a college text book innovation.

Everyone who has spent time on campus has had to buy a "Big Book of Everything [that] is incredibly handy both for established experts and students"  because . . . they’ve got everything in them . . . ." Of course everyone who has had to carry one of the books across campus can attest that the BBoEs "are as portable as anvils and they cost a mint.":

Humphreys reports that at least one publisher is willing to change that:
Enter an innovation of which I just learned after agreeing to write a chapter in a forthcoming Big Book of Everything: The publisher is going to let each buyer order the subset of chapters he or she wants rather than hawking the work as an all-or-nothing venture.
The high school BBoEs aren't quite as big nor quite as expensive, but the difference is not that great. Besides, high school freshmen and sophomores are much smaller than college students. I haven't done a scientific study, but I'd be willing to bet that most high school students are carrying more pounds of books per pound of body weight than most college students carry.

As an English teacher, I would love being able to buy only the short stories and poems I knew I was going to teach. Now a lot of students are carrying around a huge book that I can't possibly get through in a semester. Given shrinking budgets, this innovation would be a Godsend. Further, Kindles, Nooks, and tablets of all sorts are becoming ubiquitous. Being able to purchase electronic licenses for the book chapters or stories one needs to teach and loading them on these devices seems to be rare act of common sense.

If this idea catches on at the college level, it should eventually trickle down to the high school level. I may be able to customize at least one textbook before I retire.

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