I'm doing my budget (which keeps getting smaller) but would like to invest in an online textbook instead of ordering new paper-based ones. I rarely use the paper ones, but see much more use with the interactiveness of online texts. With that said, I do have some money to spend but cost would need to be equivalent or less to the traditional textbook which is about $80-$100 a book. Any suggestions?

Tags: science, textbook

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Since you do not use the paper-based ones anyway, why not replace a textbook with recordings of your lectures. You could use VoiceThread for free with proof that you are a teacher or use one of the many video hosts on the net. The kids get audio and visual support. I use VoiceThread myself. You can post links out to websites for reading and interactive activities.It is easy to update and modify it. The students can post audio or video comments to interact with it (you can moderate posts). You wouldn't have to worry about web-rot. You could turn that money that would go for textbooks to hands-on goodies or equipment for making the recordings.

A con would be that it will take you some time to make them. If you bring in students to do the recording and editing though, it could add a layer of cross-curricular learning to it. You could even give the students some presentation challenges and let them teach for the recordings.
Hi Tammy, I've thought about doing something similar myself. The way the budget works, though, is that the moneys are for "texts" not goodies (unfortunately). Voicethread is something I've worked with on a limited basis before, but I really want something that doesn't involve me hunting down interactive sites, recording lectures, and the other upfront time consumers. Thanks for the ideas.
Most textbook publishers now offer a CD or web-based (password-accessed) version of their textbooks for considerably less money than the old-school hardcopy version...inquire. they will cut a deal if you only want the electronic versions.

Here is an electronic "text" that I use for my Environmental Science class...not an official AP curriculum, but this site has all the components of any AP Envi Sci text, plus has embedded e-labs, movies, scientist profiles, and more. I am using it for my second year this year and have had enthusiastic reviews from students. And it's FREE.
Dunno why the link wasn't included:
http://www.learner.org/courses/envsci/index.html
This is a great site. Does anyone know if there is anything like this for cell biology???
Hi Douglas, thanks for the link. The site has great resources I could use for class. This is the kind of thing I was looking for. I'm continuing my search,though, just to see whats out there. I have found that free sites often offer products that are just as good and just as aligned to my curriculum and standards as textbook companies.
Have you looked at the CK-12 site for downloadable PDF textbooks, http://ck12.org/flexr/browse/

Also, the California Learning Resources Network is reviewing electronic textbooks and matching them with California Content Standards. The process has started for high school content and can be found here, http://clrn.org/fdti/
Hi Scott:

Check out the list of links to dozen of digital, open, and free science textbooks at Community College Open Textbook Collaborative: http://collegeopentextbooks.org/sciencebooks.html


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•Anatomy and Physiology of Animals (CC-BY-SA)
•AP Environmental Science (CC-BY)
•CK-12 Earth Science (CC-BY-SA)
•CK-12 Life Science (CC-BY-SA)
•Comparing Stars (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•Deserts: Geology and Resources (PD)
•Earth’s Physical Resources: Petroleum (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•Earth Science (CC-BY)
•Earth Systems, an Earth Science Course (CC-BY)
•Earthquakes (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•Empirical Research Design (CC-NC-BY-SA)
•Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•Environmental Science in the 21st Century (custom license)
•Evolution through Natural Selection (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•Gene Manipulation in Plants (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•Genes, Technology and Policy/The Science (CC-BY-SA)
•Geology of the National Parks (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•Geothermal Energy—Clean Power From the Earth’s Heat (PD)
•Interactive Science Simulations (CC-BY)
•Introduction to Climate Dynamics and Climate Modelling (CC-BY-SA)
•An Introduction to Sustainable Energy (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•Intro to Physical Oceanography (Custom Copyright)
•Nanotechnology (Custom license)
•Nature of Geographic Information (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•The Opensource Handbook of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CC-BY-SA)
•Our Ocean Planet – Environmental Geoscience in the 21st Century (custom license)
•Physical Geography (CC)
•Plate Tectonics (CC-BY-NC-SA)
•Radioactivity iLab Curricula (CC-BY-SA) NEW!
•The Science of Healthy Behaviors (PD)
•This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics (PD)
Check out AMSER at http://amser.org/ for lots of science education resources.

AMSER is a portal of educational resources and services built specifically for use by those in Community and Technical Colleges but free for anyone to use.

AMSER is funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the National Science Digital Library, and is being created by a team of project partners led by Internet Scout.

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