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Researchers Develop Way to Build 'Living' Textbooks From Open Resources

Researchers Develop Way to Build 'Living' Textbooks from Open Resources

Many experts are in favor of the textbook going digital to both save money and lessen the likelihood of students using outdated resources. Expanding on the idea of a digital textbook, researchers from Penn State University have developed and are testing technology that allows for both teachers and students to use open educational resources to create their own textbooks.

“The tool, called BBookX, lets users generate textbooks chapter by chapter, adding materials by using keywords to find relevant resources, which can then be culled and organized, even edited by the user,” said

This not allows for educators to save money and create the most up-to-date resources possible, it also allows students to create personalized textbooks for themselves, allowing them to become more involved with their own education.

According to BBookX’s site, they have created “the living textbook.”

“Unlike traditional textbooks that are printed and bound, a BBookX textbook is electronic and dynamic. You can build a book and share it with a colleague, who can then tweak it to best fit their own curriculum.”

The tool was developed by faculty, staff and graduate students and is being tested on a limited scale with hopes that large-scale expansion is soon to come; researchers say the tool will earn its strength as more resources become available through increased users.

In addition to be an important tool for higher education, the new technology might also end up being an extremely valuable tool for K-12 schools operating under the Common Core standards. The researchers say BBookX can help educators easily create textbooks aligned to standards with just a click of the mouse.

“While geared at present toward post-secondary education, the tool is applicable to K-12 as well; BBookX's algorithm can help users align materials to standards using simple keywords,” the article said.

The technology isn’t being tested publicly yet, but according to THEJournal, the researchers are currently looking for schools and organizations interested in being partners to support future research. Those interested can e-mail the researchers here: [email protected]

Read the full story here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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