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The textbook conspiracy.


First of all, textbooks are difficult to read. They usually use a glossy paper which is difficult to read in any sort of light due to the glare.

Second of all, they have 2 inch margins, just for the sake of increasing the size and weight of the book.

Third of all, they're hard cover and meant to be laid flat on a desk. You can't easily hold them in your hands and read them. This induces excess strain on the neck and makes the glare worse.

Forth of all, they're too heavy. That's due to problems 2 and 3.

Fifth of all, they're mistaken. Most textbooks are riddled with anomalies and errors. I think this is done on purpose so that instead of a simple Errata, they can justify the next release. It's also likely that they write them to be outdated as quickly as possible.

Worst of all, they aren't geared towards students or teachers. The adhere to nearly no principles of technical writing, teaching, nor well understood psychological practices.

Seventh of all, the numbering systems don't match up. Why is it that the homework for section 3.6 is at the end of the chapter? Why is diagram 3.43 is section 3.7?


Here's a challenge for you: Take any text book you have to a copy shop. Have them chop the margins off the book and replace the binding with a spiral binding. You've just lost 5 pounds. So much easier to carry, turn pages, use.



And while I'm on the subject of education: Isn't it interesting that you have to have a teaching certificate to teach in elementary school, yet the majority of college professors don't have formal training in teaching, psychology, or communication? And I'd say about a quarter to a half of them are downright terrible teachers. Only a few are actually qualified to teach.


It's much easier for a real teacher to teach something that he doesn't know than for an expert to teach something he knows all too well. The wonderful thing about a real teacher is that a teacher can learn anything and teach anything. It's not about being an expert, it's about acquiring information and communicating it in a fluid manner.



Just get home schooled, fall in love with something, get good at it, and do it.



[Edit & Addition] The worst worst is actually that they're by and large "text" books. "Text" is one of if not the least effective medium of communication.

And it's not fair to make a complaint without suggesting a solution. How about small picture books with matte pages that focus on narrow topics.

Although book machines are a new invention and I think BYU is one of the first (and only) places in the world to have one, I can see them becoming coupled with the internet and mix'n'match blog posts becoming a better form of text book.

Imagine if you could blog on a subject and get $0.50 every time someone printed it as part of their curriculum?

P.S. This is why I tend to stay away from blogging. I feel rather strongly about a rather large number of things and once I start a rant, I'm going to finish it...
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