Friday, March 2, 2012

The new lives of textbooks

I'm about to head off to the math textbook adoption expo, where all the publishers get to persuade us, the teachers, to buy their book. It's a real turning point for us as a system and for the industry. As publishers develop flashier products with more interactive features, apps, online tutors, I'm afraid the content is suffering. With all the other "stuff," the number of actual problems is diminishing to make room for it all. I'd love to compare a sixth grade math book from 1950 to the ones I'll see today and see how many examples there are for each lesson, how many practice problems, and how many lessons in the book. I bet I can guess how they'd compare.

Keeping my fingers crossed I can find a book that has:
1. Clear examples that correlate with the homework problems
2. Plenty of practice problems that get progressively more complex
3. Useful supplemental materials
4. Online access (across the board, this is what my students' parents want without exception. They didn't agree on the rest)
5. A student book that doesn't weight 10 pounds!

Wish me luck!

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