Posts tagged ‘Textbook’

September 18, 2013

Going to all-digital textbooks saves money for private high school students

by Grace

A move to replace paper textbooks with digital versions will save some New York private high school students hundreds of dollars each year.

Stepinac has become one of the first high schools in the country to drop all textbooks like dead weight and replace them with a “digital library.” When students started classes Monday, they were zipping to an app or website on their tablet or laptop and had instant access to all 40 texts in the Stepinac curriculum, not to mention all sorts of note-taking, highlighting and interactive features….

In the past, students’ families had to spend up to $700 a year on textbooks. This year — after the one-time purchase of a tablet or laptop — families have to pay $150 for access to the digital library.

The high school worked out a unique deal with Pearson.

Stepinac officials worked for a year with Pearson, the giant education company that has long dominated the textbook world, to design and create a unique digital library that is bound to be studied by other private and public schools.

The transition will inevitably come with some problems.

The first few weeks may bring some challenges.

Stepinac officials expect to encounter some parental discomfort over dropping books with spines. They recognize there may be technical glitches at first. And they will have to encourage students to leave space-eating photos and music off their tablets — and to keep their devices charged.

I wonder if many students will miss the illustrations and images from their old math and history books.  Even if they do, I suspect it won’t take too long to get used to the new digital format.

Although this exact model wouldn’t work for most colleges, I foresee a similar transition for higher education.

Related:  Save money on college textbooks by using Kindle (Cost of College)

February 27, 2013

Quick Links – Why women talk more than men; only 1 in 5 passed AP tests; most think accuracy in textbooks is secondary to political correctness

by Grace

◊◊◊  Why Women Talk More Than Men: Language Protein Uncovered (Science World Report)

You know all the times that men complain about women talking too much? Apparently there’s a biological explanation for the reason why women are chattier than men. Scientists have discovered that women possess higher levels of a “language protein” in their brains, which could explain why females are so talkative.

Previous research has shown that women talk almost three times as much as men. In fact, an average woman notches up 20,000 words in a day, which is about 13,000 more than the average man. In addition, women generally speak more quickly and devote more brainpower to speaking. Yet before now, researchers haven’t been able to biologically explain why this is the case.

Now, they can. New findings conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and published in The Journal of Neuroscience show that a certain protein may be the culprit.

◊◊◊  1 in 5 Passed Advanced Placement Tests (New York Times)

Nearly a third of the nation’s 2012 public high school graduates took at least one of the College Board’s Advanced Placement tests, according to the program’s annual report on Wednesday. Nearly one in five got a passing score — three or more, out of five — on one of the 34 subject exams. Last year was the first time in a decade that the average exam score increased from the previous year. The share of students earning at least a 3 also rose for the first time in that period, and the 14.2 percent earning a top score of five was also the highest in the decade.

This is not good news.  Schools are using precious resources to teach classes where only 20% of students get passing grades.  Apparently the course work is too demanding (or instruction is inadequate) for 80% of these students.  The other side to this argument is that it is a good thing to expose more students to the rigorous AP curriculum.

CORRECTION:  I misinterpreted the AP test article, which actually reports that 1 in 5 of all high school students (not just those who took the AP tests) got a passing score.  Thanks to the commenter who pointed this out!

◊◊◊  59% Think Most School Textbooks Put Political Correctness Ahead of Accuracy

Voters continue to believe that political correctness trumps accuracy in most school textbooks. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 16% of Likely U.S. Voters think most school textbooks are more concerned about accurately providing information. That’s down from 27% in March 2010. Fifty-nine percent (59%) think most textbooks are chiefly concerned with presenting information in a politically correct manner, consistent with attitudes for the past three years. Twenty-five percent (25%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Count me among that 59%.

March 2, 2012

Kindle ‘Popular Highlights’ may become popular with college students

by Grace

The lazy college student finds ways to do less reading.

In the near future, it may be unnecessary to rely on used textbooks for another student’s highlights.  Instead, the “time-challenged” scholar will be able to use Kindle’s Popular Highlights feature to see what many other students considered the important passages in the textbook.

Q: What are Popular Highlights?
The Amazon Kindle and the Kindle Apps provide a very simple mechanism for adding highlights. Every month, Kindle customers highlight millions of book passages that are meaningful to them. We combine the highlights of all Kindle customers and identify the passages with the most highlights. The resulting Popular Highlights help readers to focus on passages that are meaningful to the greatest number of people. We show only passages where the highlights of at least three distinct customers overlap, and we do not show which customers made those highlights.

I’ve been noticing Popular Highlights in a book I’m reading for a continuing education course.  Although they are not particularly germane to the course I’m taking, as the highlights come up I can see how they could be very helpful in cases where hundreds of students are using the same book for the same course.

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