US teachers urged to drop 'traditional textbooks' in favour of shared resources online

7th December 2015 at 18:45

The United States government is urging teachers to “move away from traditional textbooks” and switch to freely accessible shared resources online.

Arne Duncan, the US education secretary, said at a conference that the use of online resources was “transforming learning” because material could be “constantly updated and adjusted to meet students’ needs”.

The US Department of Education has launched a national campaign, called #GoOpen, to encourage schools to replace "old, expensive textbooks" with "new, up-to-date, openly licensed educational resources". Mr Duncan said the increased use of such resources would “ensure that all students – no matter their zip code – have access to high-quality learning resources”.

The launch comes as ministers in the UK are urging schools to return to the use of traditional printed textbooks. Schools minister Nick Gibb said in a speech in June that good textbooks “provide a structured, well-honed progression through a subject’s content”.

He said: “They also ease workload for teachers, who no longer need to spend whole evenings and weekends preparing ad-hoc resources.”

Mr Gibb is urging textbook publishers in the UK to “do better” in a move that he hopes will increase schools’ use of the resources. Just 10 per cent of primary maths teachers in the UK use a textbook as the basis for their teaching, compared with 95 per cent in Finland, he said.

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