Back in School

Today, I started my spring with a disadvantage.  On the last day before break, a student walked off (accidentally, I’m sure), with my copy of my sixth grade textbook.  When he discovered that he had two copies of the book, he dropped one in the lost&found instead of returning it.  I only got it back this morning.  I wound up having to plan my lessons this week blind; and I’ll have to re-plan them later this week.

I find myself in a conundrum over this — in a digital world, I’d have a copy of the textbook in a digital format.  So I wouldn’t have been without my textbook at all.  But I also would likely have substantially less freedom about teaching what I wanted to, and I wouldn’t have had the option to plan my lessons much at all.  So the textbook gives me some freedoms — but without it, my freedom is paralyzed.  How weird is that?

4 comments

  1. I’m not sure of your suggestion that you’d have less freedom with a digital textbook… if anything, my experience has been with the most simplest of digital formats (PDF) I have considerably more freedom. Could you elaborate?
    Thanks!

    • Sure… I meant that if my school invested a lot of money and energy into running a digital textbook set-up for students, I would probably be expected to stick a lot more closely to using that textbook, and its implied curriculum, than I currently am. The folks at my school often use second-run (i.e., used) textbooks, because they’re cheaper to purchase and usually have exactly the same information organized in exactly the same way. If we invested in the whole “iPad, digital textbooks, wifi, google apps, etc” solution we keep considering as a sort of pie-in-the-sky solution… well. I think some people, particularly the board and the parents, would want to make sure that we got our money’s worth.

      That’s what I was thinking. The logic may not hold up to deep scrutiny, but it was my thought when I came into work this morning. 🙂

      • With the PDF of the textbook, I (and I think the rest of my teachers) feel far more free to re-mix the contents of the resource. Now, you’re right… within a pre-packaged system like the iPad, you may be more restricted but if you hold on to the GoogleApps approach you should find more liberty (not that I’m trying to draw any parallels between iOs and Android).
        And, for the record, I’m an educator.

    • Hey, I don’t know what your area of expertise is, but if you have a possible topic that’s education related, and you’d like a chance to comment on it here, let me know. You were probably the 7,000th commenter, so if you’d like a chance to talk here, and have something interesting to say, now’s your chance.

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