In response to one of the most refreshing conversations I've read on the tubes in quite some time (starts here, continues in subsequent posts):
Dear David and Stephen,
Perhaps I've missed some of the multi-year conversation you've been having (do you even bother to link to each any more?), but I can’t help wondering why you both seem to ignore k12 and the potential power they have in helping you both gain the leverage you’re clamoring for with regard to the adoption of open textbooks. Can you please help me understand why – as you see it – the key to this venture is that things must first take hold in higher ed?
Surely there must exist some progressive district(s) out there willing (financially forced?) to take a gamble on what many of us see as a very possible future for textbook creation and distribution. Or is it really a gamble? Frankly, to me it appears to be one of the best options out there. For I see the creation of open textbooks – by the very teachers that will be using them – as a way for teachers to finally get the textbook they’ve been hoping for. Not the text that teachers must endure, but the one that they collaboratively fashion. Furthermore, with the kinds of budget cuts that have been forced upon k12 schools world-wide, their leaders would be foolish to not want to support an initiative that will dramatically decease costs in the long run.
With this in mind, I now beg you to tell me:
Aren’t teachers hired because of their abilities to create an effective learning environment (and aren’t districts tightening the belt)?
Then why shouldn’t schools take a year off of textbook buying and put that money into the creation of open texts? With that money, districts could pay the best of their teachers to begin the process – not really with money, though, but with time. Time to create, time to share, time to collaborate.
In time, I have every confidence that the quality of open textbooks will greatly surpass that of their commercial competitors – and as k12 students come to expect the flexibility that only open textbooks can provide, surely they’ll come to demand them in higher ed, as well.
Or is student demand simply not enough to get some of the more stubborn professors to budge?