Old. Outdated. Dinosaurs.

Are textbooks becoming extinct? (photo by Frankie Roberto)

Are textbooks becoming extinct? (photo by Frankie Roberto)

The real question here is are textbooks out of date? Is technology too fast for the snail-version of learning via book? E-Books have been on the rise for quite some time, after all.

Personally, when given the option to have a physical textbook or an e-book, I always choose a physical textbook. I just like them better. I’m hoping that within the time that I’m still in college, I’ll be given that option. E-books are just a nuisance to me – and allow me to get distracted way too easily.

Dallas News posted an article earlier this month entitled, “Textbooks are so last century.” Within that article, Shane Bybee states that:

Today, a good teacher can create a better textbook out of Internet resources than any publisher is going to provide in an exhaustive publication. The best teachers would typically prefer to have no textbook at all. This isn’t true for all classes. In classes where the information is entirely new to students who have very little frame of reference, say a foreign language, a textbook is a vital resource. In courses where the students have been building toward the content, such as Algebra II or English classes, the best teachers rarely use the textbooks that are sitting on the shelves. The information becomes out of date, and quality teachers find a way to keep making the information relevant to students.
That’s not to say the best teachers don’t want curriculum, but let’s not mistake textbooks for curriculum. The curriculum is the guide, the ideas we want students to learn. Too often textbooks become a crutch, allowing teachers to fall back on prepackaged materials and not have to work quite as hard. If we want to hold teachers to a higher standard, quit doing all their work for them and thinking they’ll still find their jobs fulfilling.
After the first six weeks of the school year, I’ve used my textbooks for the last time. The class set of textbooks will collect dust for the remainder of the year. I don’t even issue textbooks to students any longer. It’s a 10-pound albatross they would have to lug back and forth every day. Think of the impact we could have if we took the cost of every textbook and spent it in more effective ways.

It makes sense. I mean, the internet even offers free courses in subjects that you’ve never even heard of. Anyone can have any information, instantly. And with a little time, a teacher can compile everything they need to teach a course. Of course, it’s not that simple. School boards are obviously going to enforce having textbooks around while we’re still in the mindset – even if we are growing into a different phase of technology and education.

The article is even more interesting because instead of saying “E-books are better,” Bybee negates textbooks in entirety. I’ve never really thought of it this way before! To read the entire article off of Dallas News, click here.