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Kevin Jacobson

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Schools need to update their text books for higher, up to date, education.

Schools tend to keep a set of textbooks for up to a decade. That just doesn't seem right. Especially in science, chemistry or social studies classes. Plus, if something happens to the book while your in possession of it during the school year, the school, at least in my case, charges you full price for the book when it was already in poor condition from previous use.


Closing Statement from Kevin Jacobson

Basically, The educational system needs to change for better education around the world.

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    Jun 16 2012: Kevin, I just finished your 30 year question nice to be with you again. Text books are BIG business into billions of dollars a year. My major problem is that text book designers are dictating what a teacher teaches. The reason is that the test designers review the texts to see what should be tested. Ergo the text developers are driving education. If you review the PISA exams (where the US bombed out) you would find the Singapore system (who blew the rest of the countries out of the water) encourages learning not the accumulation of knowledge in 8 domains .. Lang and Lit, math, natural science, social science, Technology, arts, Phys ed, practicum. Teachers develop their courses and the goal is application.

    I support that each student should be issued a lap top. Using flipped classrooms the students, using lap tops only connected to the school computer, would do their homework in advance to the class and the teacher would review the paper and provide review, assistance, and mastery during the class time. Student who "get it" would move on to future lessons as the course map provides for. (Do the math .. computer cost VS text book costs @ seven books per student)

    Do you really need a text book for math. The teacher can write the lesson plan for adding, subtracting, etc ... in this way they can teach beyond the test not to the test.

    Kevin as a 13 year old who excells you should be offered the opportunity to advance at your rate of learning but yet remain with your peers to develop socially.

    So I am saying that text books may be part of the problem not the solution. This would take great care in changing paths but is "doable".

    I am interested in your reply as a student who is living the problem. How can I refine this approach?

    All the best. Bob.
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      Jun 16 2012: ...And I just finished your behemoth response:). I agree with you 120%. I think text books should be replaced with computers. But not laptops as you stated, I think they should be replaced with something like a touchscreen i pad type device were it has it's own recharge station on the desk. I also thing instead in switching classes every hour or so, the school should have a small stadium where students have a single desk were they keep there keep the few school items that they would need. Different teachers would come in every hour to explain certain subjects and give examples. Almost everything would be done online instead of in a textbook.the students would get 3 breaks throughout the day. Teachers, instead of teaching from a book, would teach from their mind so that everything flows more evenly. If a student doesn't quite get it, they can go online and read about the topic. Learning would be easier and better. Phy. ED would be focused on a little more so students get a required amount of exercise. Don't even get me started on the greasy mush that the school calls lunch. I also think discipline is somewhat of a problem as well. Teachers at my school literally goof off and get sidetracked. I really irritates me. I don't want to tell the principle since he hates me now for calling him worthless. Ironically, many if my teachers have sign on their desk that reads "True teachers teach from their heart, not from the pages of a book". If only that were true.
      • Jun 17 2012: While I definitely agree on textbooks being an outdated concept, I'm not entirely on board with the idea of tablets (or laptops) -> being online, replacing books as a method of gathering knowledge. Textbooks aren't very useful, I agree, they list facts -> you rehearse them -> you reproduce them.
        Thats a very linear way of learning, which is bad.
        However, online, a lot of good and proper information is hard to find, so if you don't change the -> absorb -> rehearse -> reproduce way of teaching and learning, you will only get a worse educational system.

        Teach kids in a Library, where you have selected various books and reading material by scholars related to the subjects you teach. Give them assignments on that subject, and have them present their assignments to the other students. If you want you can give students a preliminary assignment to find relevant literature online and in the provided books.
        This changes the learning process. The kids will have to find their facts, eliminate irrelevant facts, and then actually work *with* the facts to create theories, which means that even the same assignment can net 5 different results. Then presenting (the most important human skill since the Greek Democracy) would give them feedback, which encourages a creative and ever changing learning environment.

        Also I think philosophy should become a baseline subject for all students, I think it is the subject that has the largest potential in teaching kids about the world we live in, while encouraging a critical attitude to subject (which no other subject does, encouraging a critical attitude), because in philosophy, there is no consensus, which makes it an ideal subject for creative thinking.
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          Jun 17 2012: I think there would be a school website with trustworthy information for the students. Its not like they would be using wikipedia.
      • Jun 17 2012: No, I'm not implying that students would use wikipedia (my university has a database with academic articles and books, online). But I want to stress that reading books Is still very important. And for some subjects there is a lot of essential information that is not easily accessible trough the internet, because the books have not been put online, due to them being old or very specific.
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          Jun 17 2012: I was just using Wikipedia as an example. If your university has a database, then you shouldn't have to worry about having less info than a book.
      • Jun 17 2012: Actually, that is the mistake a lot of people make. While my university has a database, a very useful and large one at that. All the papers I've written so far, required me to spend hours in the city library looking through stacks of old books and papers by scholars. Sometimes the information you need is not where you want it to be. All the knowledge of this world is in the books, it's not on the internet, because not enough effort has been put in putting all the information on the web yet.
        For the future it would be great, but we still have a lot of innovation and effort to put into getting "the web" ready for educational purposes.

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