Local schools tackle aging textbook problem, shortages by going online

Textbooks were a hot topic during the teacher walkout. (KTUL)

Textbooks were a hot topic during the teacher walkout. Kids held up books older than they are and some teachers weren’t using textbooks for half the school year because they weren’t relevant.

How do schools tackle the growing need for new textbooks when money is so tight?

It’s a challenge that administrators at Broken Arrow Public Schools have faced and tackled.

“A lot of the textbooks that are created by publishers don’t meet the Oklahoma state standards,” said Suzy Holt, with BAPS.

Instead of relying on dated textbooks and having teachers cover the cost of additional materials, the district has now moved towards OERs, or Open Educational Resources.

“Instead of spending (money) on something that is static, we can turn around and focus our funds on something that’s more important and sustainable,” said Rebecca Morales, also with BAPS.

The money they would typically spend on textbooks is now used to create an online database. Throughout the summer and the school year, teachers fill their database with excerpts from books, web articles, historical interviews, you name it. The kicker is it’s all free for other schools to use.

“Just a few weeks ago, I was helping someone from Lone Wolf school district. It’s a small school district in southeast Oklahoma and they don’t have money for textbooks,” said Morales.

Not all school districts have the money or the bandwidth to go wireless and completely online, but for teachers at BA it’s become a smart way to spend money and cater to their students.

BAPS is holding an OER summit for educators to attend for free Oct. 18. Click here for more details.

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