Scott G. McNealy, Sun Microsystems co-founder and former CEO, has an ambitious idea – replacing our heavy, outdated, expensive textbooks with open-source versions that teachers and schools can modify. His non-profit, Curriki, focuses on molding the landscape for a more up-to-date, less expensive system for distributing educational texts.
A very ambitious idea indeed – Mr. McNealy faces the monstrosity that is the California and Texas educational textbook publisher market. These two states, with their many, many laws and regulations regarding education and educational material, has only started to accept an alternate approach to textbook distribution and qualifications.
The open-source textbook initiative that Curriki is focusing on will allow textbooks to be distributed in traditional book form, audio or online. Teachers and schools can modify and re-arrange the contents of these texts to suit their individual tastes and/or requirements.
I feel this is a step in the right direction – a large factor such as the business of textbook publishers is seemingly holding back education by trying to lock their customers in for the sake of profit. Our education system is already blundered by so many laws and regulations that it’s hard to fathom being *able* to change anything for the better, for the sake of providing a better learning experience for our youth. Hopefully ideas like this will help steer the beast to a bounty that is beneficial to all – but primarily education itself.
Original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/technology/01ping.html?_r=1