Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 13/13.3.1

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Student Written Text Materials By Pauline Thorson

Learning Targets[edit | edit source]

To understand what a Student Written Text Material is.

To understand that the student written material can be considered as credible material.

To understand the effects of students writing their own textbooks.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

As technology advances, so does the way we learn. Now we as students on the university level and in a more technologically advanced age have the chance to write our own text. Not only is this affordable but can be used in the future. One may think we have been thrown into the deep end but, with this class we have the chance to walk through the steps of writing our own textbook for future teachers to reference. Individually we are responsible for one article and critiquing our fellow classmates. As a group we have responsibility of informing the future pre-service teachers.

Brief history of textbooks[edit | edit source]

The start of written language could be traced back to cavemen. These cavemen would write on walls of caves with rocks, clay and sometimes blood. They did this to "teach" others where to find animals for food.

The Ancient Egyptians were among the first to develop a formal language, hieroglyphics, and writing utensils, which included papyrus and a primitive ink. They would also use scrolls to record information. These scrolls could be considered, the first textbook, in my opinion. However, according to John Wakefield, University of North Alabama, textbooks were invented by Aelius Donatus, in 4 A.D. in a catechism style. This style was where the student would answer a question posed by the teacher (Wakefield, 2008 p 5).

We then used the quill and ink on parchment for almost a thousand years.

With a great big jump forward in history, we now have our modern style of pen and paper, typewriters and currently computers with which to compose our thoughts. There is not much of a jump to make from composing thoughts on a computer to a group of students publishing a textbook.

What is a student written text material?[edit | edit source]

What exactly is a student written text material, you may ask. Well, it is exactly as it sounds. A group of students, either in grade school or in the university level, with guidance from a teacher or professor, collaborate together to produce a text from which others can learn.

Do the students write these articles within the textbook?[edit | edit source]

Yes, the students write articles within the textbook as part of a course in which they are enrolled. This is usually under the guidance of a teacher or professor. As most teachers and students eventually find that they learn the most from watching others take in the information they are trying to convey.

As for the process, the students choose an article or two to write and with other classmates and guidance from peers, they try to get current and relevant information out, to better educate themselves and their fellow classmates.

But if you wish to know more about the authors, you can look their information up in the About the Authors section of the book.

Are these student written textbooks a credible source of information?[edit | edit source]

One would think not. After all, what would a bunch of students know about writing a textbook? They are just learning the basics. You would be surprised, because when one person becomes a master of some idea or profession they also have to go through a trial in which they learn a great bit and in turn can teach what they have learned. How many times does a child fall before he or she learns to walk? How many of us still stumble or stub a toe every now and then? With these analogies one could say that we are learning all the time. It is with this continual learning process that we eventually do become masters of what we are learning thus, being able to teach others through our own experiences.

Also the students get to learn with their fellow students and provide peer reviews. Peer reviews are the chance for students to advise, suggest and guide their classmates into producing the best work they can.

We as a class get to learn and critique our peers in order to help them learn things about themselves as well as ourselves. This is a new way to get ourselves and fellow students thinking and exercising our minds (Nodding 2008).

"Any subject—be it physics, art, or auto repair—can promote critical thinking as long as teachers teach in intellectually challenging ways."(Noddings 2008)

Effects of students writing their own textbooks?[edit | edit source]

There is no cost to the college student in purchasing a text for a course that employs this method of learning. This is a big plus for most students considering that most students have a budget and really do not want to have to shell out 100's to 1000's of dollars if they do not have to. The Washington Post recently reported that "Sales of used textbooks last year grew 15 percent to $2 billion, with double-digit growth expected through 2011, according to Simba Information, a market research group. Meanwhile, sales of new textbooks have grown by 4 to 5 percent annually, with the market this year expected to reach $3.6 billion."(Mui & Kinzie 2008, para 120). This can be quite the daunting figure for the students of the future.

"Of course, the most immediate benefit of classroom teaching and textbook writing is that they allow you to mold the minds of students."(Mankiw 2007) Mankiw, a Harvard Professor, continues to say that as one writes a textbook one can begin to understand their weaknesses and how to strengthen them with the correct information (Mankiw 2007).

This textbook will also give future pre-service teachers, students learning to teach, an up to date reference, in which to learn how we all can teach each other and some of the stumbling blocks along the way. Which Kevin Hunter found that in a NEA survey that "39 percent of teachers said they do not have enough textbooks to assign homework to their students, and 32 percent reported their oldest textbook was more than 10 years old." (Hunter, 2006).;

After it is all written, the student (with fellow classmates) get the honor of being able to say they wrote a textbook, which will look good on a resume'.

As with this modern age of technology we do have cheaper ways of getting books online but, why pay for something when you can learn so much more by writing it?

What happens if all courses start having students write their own books?[edit | edit source]

There is a debate that if students start writing their own books then the textbook companies will lose money. This might be a blessing to some. However, the publishers make money from republishing the same information year after year. They may change a picture or chapter here or there, but not the information

I think they should only reprint when there is new information or an outstanding new discovery. This is right up the alley for most history textbooks as there is new information every year, but not for something like math which is pretty cut and dry. There is no real way to change the fact that a+b=c.

Multiple Choice[edit | edit source]

1. Which is not a reason for students to write an online textbook?

  a. They get to use it in a resume'
  b. It in turn helps the student to learn the material
  c. It is cheaper than buying a textbook
  d. The information provided is out of date.

2. What is one effect of writing a textbook?

  a. to learn ones weaknesses
  b. to prevent publishers from profiting
  c. to learn wiki-code
  d. to make a teachers job easier

3.Tim, who is trying to be frugal, has six classes to take, what would be the most cost effective option?

  a. Buy all the books required for each class, and not look at more affordable options
  b. Buy books over the internet, which may take weeks to come in
  c. Find a courses that allows him to write as he learns
  d. All of the above

4. Advice to future teachers could include which piece of advice?

  a. Do not try to learn things a new way, old ways are tried and true.
  b. Students should be students and teachers should teach.
  c. The best way to learn is to teach.
  d. Why try to teach something when you don't understand it yourself.

Answers[edit | edit source]

1.D, Because the textbook are written by the current students, they can be considered currently accurate.

2.A, Though we did learn a lot about wikicode in the production of this text, the best answer is to be able to understand ones weakness, and improve yourself.

3.C, Though Tim may not be able to avoid some of these options, the most affordable is to find a course with a curriculum to write its own book.

4. C, Most of these are just silly, the best way to learn is to teach.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Textbooks have been around for a great deal of time. As time has changed humans, we have evolved our way of learning to fit the surroundings we have created. We have learned to develop ideas that led to the invention of the computer. It is the computer, we now use to compose a textbook for future teachers to read. The computer and classes, like this one, allow us to develop our techniques and forgo the cost of buying yet another book and in turn to learn a great deal from fellow classmates.

References[edit | edit source]

Hunter, Kevin. (2006) A Textbook Case. T.H.E. Journal.33 (15) 48, 50

Mankiw, Greg. (March 4, 2007). On Textbook Writing. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from Greg Mankiw Blog: Random Observations for Students of Economics. Website:

Mui, Ylan Q. and Susan Kinzie. August 20, 2008. Break on Cost of Textbooks Unlikely Before Last Bell, 2010. The Washington Post p. A01

Noddings, Nel. (February 2008). All Our Students Thinking. Educational Leadership 65(5) 8-13

NEA/AAP Survey Finds Nationwide Textbook Shortages, Teachers Don't Have Enough Books to Assign Homework.NEA News Release October 8, 2002

Wakefield, John F. (1998, June) A Brief History of Textbooks: Where Have We Been All These Years? St. Petersburg, FL. Meeting of the Text and Academic Authors (Eric Document Reproduction Service No. ED 419 246)

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