Open Edu­ca­tion­al Resources

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Textbooks, especially in the fields of economics and politics, quickly become outdated, the data and examples they use no longer current.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.

The chal­lenge

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.

Our approach

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.

The result

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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