In this Year Of Massive Transformations in my school (many new faculty, new administrative structure with loads new administrators, a new department head for me), we’re also overhauling the high school math curriculum. We’re really trying to come up with a great Algebra II/Precalculus sequence, and I’m involved with helping codify the non-accelerated track. We’re definitely switching textbooks (the one we’re using now is just too hard for the kids).
In our search, we came across an Algebra II textbook published by Holt. We liked the examples, the number and kinds of homework problems, the layout, and the sequencing. (Although we’ll deviate from the sequencing a bit.) The best part about it: if we buy the textbook (around $80), we get access to the e-book for 6 years for free. And from what I understood from talking to the representative, we can just pass on the password from student to student from year to year.
Our Student Council is soon going to be approaching department heads about getting e-books for some of the courses (the physical books are really heavy and expensive). It makes really good sense because we’re a laptop school! I’m going to request that the school purchase these books and charge students $20/year for access to the e-book. And then for students who want to borrow a physical textbook, they can get them from us.
But this all seems very logistically challenging. I can anticipate a few problems already (importantly: what do you do with the excuse “I didn’t have internet access where I was last night”?)
Which is why I bring this to you. Have any of you used online textbooks before? Anything I should keep in mind when making this decision? Any great benefits to it? Any great drawbacks?
And if you haven’t used online textbooks, what sort of problems would you anticipate?