June 9, 2009

Open Source, Digital Textbooks Coming to California Schools

Article Source Ars Technica
June 9, 2009, 9:13 pm

On Monday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted his state's recently announced initiative, which would see it adopt free, digital textbooks in time for the next school year. The state's current fiscal crisis is an obvious motivating factor, as Schwarzenegger said that the state's share of textbook spending comes in at $350 million a year. But the crisis may simply be accelerating a process that was already under way. For the past several years, the state has run a program designed to evaluate online educational resources and certify that they can be used in a way that is compliant with state educational standards.

In a speech and editorial in which he pushed the program, Schwarzenegger didn't shy from making financial arguments. He suggested that the shift would help both the state and local school districts, which spend their own money for textbook purchases. Once the program is in full swing, a school district with 10,000 high school students could end up with savings in the area of $2 million a year. For now, however, the certification of digital texts will focus on various areas of math and science: Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth Sciences...

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