Could Free-Reading offer a glimpse of the future, when big, bulky — and expensive — textbooks go the way of the film strip?
Newman thinks so. "This is a shot across the bow for a lot of people," he says.
Schools spent $4.4 billion for textbooks in the 2006-07 school year, according to Eduventures. While that's only about 1% of total expenditures, the prospect of free, state-approved materials could profoundly influence how schools spend money — and what publishers offer, Newman says.
"If suddenly you don't have to spend $100 million every four years on textbooks, it's not found money, but certainly it's money that could be applied to other kinds of educational endeavors."
I like this idea of not spending money on textbooks, although I have to ask: who actually buys new ones every four years? I think our cycle is six or seven years.
So, here's the question: If you could go textbook free due to free online resources, what would you spend the textbook budget on?