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In the News: Why (and How) Educators Should Build Their Own Textbooks

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At the first presidential debate, education made quite a stir, with both candidates talking about our nation's schools and teachers a number of times.

But education made it into the news elsewhere, too.

First, Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the case for why it's time to move to digital textbooks, and Khan Academy founder Salman Khan talked about the need for less lectures in schools. Also, a story from NPR highlighted the ongoing B.Y.O.D. trend, looking at some of the pros and cons.

In this weekly roundup, we'll start with a video from TED, featuring Shimon Schocken, one of the first professors to offer a Massive Open Online Course. Schocken's first MOOC helped teach computer construction to anyone who was interested for free on the Web, much like courses on Coursera, and it helped pave the way for today's MOOCs. "Self-study, self-exploration, self-empowerment -- these are the virtues of a great education," he says in the video.

5 Reasons Digital Textbooks Make More Sense

Following Education Secretary Arne Duncan's comments that schools should move away from traditional textbooks, many educational news organizations came out in favor of the transition. Here, Edudemic points out five reasons why schools should adjust. Another older resource from KQED, highlights some great tools for teachers looking to build their own textbooks. (Edudemic)

The Schoolmaster: The Man Behind the Common Core Standards

This month, The Atlantic's education issue hit newsstands, featuring a wealth of interesting content from the education news realm. First, the magazine proposed an argument for why students should grade teachers, and another piece looked at a school that reformed curriculum using analytic writing in every class. Most interesting, though, was a profile of David Coleman, an educational consult and the chief architect of the Common Core State Standards. (The Atlantic)

Education Comes Up in First Presidential Debate

As you can see from the tweet, education was a oft-used talking point for both candidates in the first presidential debate last Wednesday. Here, Education Week looks at what each candidate said about education policy and what that could mean for education following the election. (Education Week)

In Case You Missed It: Other Quick Hits

  • In this blog for Time magazine, Khan Academy founder Salman Khan writes why he thinks long lectures aren't effective, using a variety of evidence and research. Instead, he says lectures should be shorter and class time should be spend differently to keep students engaged.
  • There's a push in many of the nation's schools to provide online portals so parents can keep tabs on their kids' grades. For some, it's a blessing, and for others, following their students' grades can be nerve-wracking.
  • A gap in school funding makes it harder for poor cities to keep up, as there is more of a financial squeeze when less funding is raised through taxes. This Huffington Post piece looks at schools in Reading, Penn., highlighting the effect funding inequality has on the city's schools.

Each week, Edutopia curates some of the most interesting education news from around the Web. We'd love your help! Let us know of any must-reads we missed in the comments, or you can contact me on Twitter (@EducationMatt).

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Monica Burns's picture
Monica Burns
Author & Speaker, ADE , Founder of

iBooks Author is so easy to use! If you haven't tried it out already it is as simple as building a Keynote/PowerPoint presentation and your students will be so engaged in the text. I love using iPads in my classroom:

Lori Camacho's picture
Lori Camacho
12th grade Social Studies Teacer San Antonio, Texas

This was a very interesting read for me. I really like the idea of using technology to help better our students academic experience. The only thing I question is there a solution for the students or districts that may not have the funds to move in this direction? One the other hand watching the video, I was very intrigued and I really think they are on to something. Makes me excited to see what the future will hold in the field of teaching.

Anya Manes's picture
Anya Manes
chemistry and biology teacher, San Francisco CA

What an awesome Ted Talk! I can't wait to pass it on to the other teachers at my school.

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