Reinventing the textbook digitally
Textbooks, especially in the fields of economics and politics, quickly become outdated, the data and examples they use no longer current. The Research Institute for Social Development (Forschungsinstitut für gesellschaftliche Weiterentwicklung, or FGW) wants to shake up the status quo and go digital. Reinventing the textbook? Count us in.
Printed textbooks are often heavily written, outdated and tattered, and the cost of regularly updating them is prohibitive for most schools. A digital textbook must be accessible, scalable and easy to use if it is to represent a real alternative to its analog counterpart. To ensure accessibility, the principles underlying Open Educational Resources must be observed—at every stage of development.
In designing a new digital textbook, we attached great importance to a holistic design. Design decisions are thus derived from everyday use—they must serve the textbook’s users and not merely look good. An easy-to-use backend should enable administrators to edit all contents at any time, so that the textbook always remains up-to-date and can react to the latest developments.
Undeterred by the extra effort, we developed a completely new platform—our digital textbook is based on a system specifically programmed for this purpose. Interfaces to other teaching platforms (such as H5P or Geogebra) are integrated, as is a dynamic glossary. The system also allows users to download individual lessons and worksheets. Thus, the platform serves not only students but also teachers, and offers a multitude of potential applications. The FGW plans to publish the digital textbook in the course of 2019.
Forschungsinstitut für gesellschaftliche Weiterentwicklung
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