Why School As Your Kid Knows It Is Over

Why School As Your Kid Knows It Is Over

Why should students spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks that will be obsolete by the end of the school year?

A group of startups took this question and ran with it. They’re called “open-education publishers,” and they’re changing the way information reaches students.

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These companies—among them, Boundless—utilize free, open-source education materials to build digital textbooks that students and teachers can edit as they go, according to Forbes.  The beauty of this customizability is that teachers can evaluate what concepts students struggle to learn, and amend those chapters accordingly. “Each year, the text gets better,” says David Wiley, a professor at Brigham Young University and leader of the open textbook pilot program in Utah, in Forbes.

The U.S. spends about $7 billion each year on textbooks for students in grades K-12. College students spend an average of $655 a year on books and supplies, according to a 2012 report from the National Association of College Stores. That’s a shocking 812% increase since 1978.

Open-source textbooks cost about $5 each, and that’s only if you use a printing service like CreateSpace to print them out. With budget cuts increasing the squeeze on educational institutions, many school districts and public universities are taking the concept for a test ride.

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