Free digital textbooks are up: Any takers?

Remember Arnold’s digital textbook initiative that we discussed in June?

Well, a review of 16 of these newfangled `books’ came out yesterday, and the materials — all free — are posted online.

It looks like they’re all for high school math and science: geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, calculus, physics, chemistry, biology/life science and earth science.

Ten of the textbooks reviewed covered at least 90 percent of the state content standards for the subject, and four met all of them. Only three of the 16 really bombed the review. (Step it up, Earth Systems!)

This stuff is all free; you can print each book out, chapter by chapter — or not (this is the paperless age, after all).

Do you think schools should take advantage of this technology? Are any doing so already? Take a look — you can find the various materials here — and let us know what you think.

AP Photo, Tribune archives

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • http://OaklandUnifiedSchoolDistrict Mary Buttler

    I spoke to Katy tonight and promised her I would provide some background for school textbooks. My division in the Oakland Unified School District is responsible for textbook selection and purchases as well as preparing the necessary board approvals for texts. Schools are provided funding to use to purchase textbooks as long as the textbooks are State Board of Education reviewed for grades K-8 and District approved for high school. Some digital texts require printing costs and others are free. Our challenge is to be sure that the digital texts align with the State standards, the district course descriptions and instructional guides that have been developed by teachers. We also are challenged to provide all students with a computer to be able to use the digital textbooks and need to rethink our technology use for education given the fact that there is inadequate funding for technology hardware, software and Intranet frameworks. However, the idea of digital textbooks offers an opportunity to be cost effective during a difficult school funding time, it promises to be engaging for some students, relevant and up to date in content and it will help prepare all of us to better navigate the technology rich world we live in. We should explore the idea of digital textbooks and find a way to ensure that the material is of high quality and our infastructure can be better supported to allow us to use digital texts.

  • kipsych

    Gosh, I love this stuff! I’m a French teacher and I just rub my hands together thinking of all the possibilities for World Language textbooks out there on-line! I think that litterature should be in paper form, but those big ol’ textbooks? Give me a Kindle-like form ANY day!