Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Not Following Detroit

[ typos fixed, hyperlinks-enhanced version of a math-teach posting @ Math Forum ]

On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 7:18 AM,
Domenico Rosa wrote:

> Publisher enters new chapter in textbooks
> Houghton sells $40m high-tech teaching system
> By D.C. Denison, Globe Staff October 29, 2009

Whereas I agree that the mass published wood pulp textbook is no longer the most relevant distribution system for curriculum content, there's a lot of political pressure in Portland, and Oregon more generally, to "eat our own dog food" as an open source capital (Christian Science Monitor, 2005).

OSCON is returning next year (Open Source Conference) and we also have OS Bridge, all thanks to the Silicon Forest serving as a champion of FOSS (or FLOSS as some call it, L for Libre or Liberal, as in Liberal Arts).

This trend extends to empowering teachers to commit to Open Education standards, ala WikiEducator and so forth. Initiatives like Maria's Math 2.0 will likely play a greater role in future curriculum writing than any dinosaur mass publishers "back east" (we tend to be snobbish out here, see "the east" as about 10 years behind the times, with California only 3 years behind).

Math Labs may use mostly recycled hardware, hand-me-down machines from the corporate sector and government agencies, although some of the more well-endowed get grants for new equipment. Mostly the money needs to go for teacher training, as math teachers especially are expected to have IT-related skills (lest their "technology in the classroom" rhetoric sound empty and hollow -- just knowing how to use a scientific calculator is no excuse for numeric literacy, or "numeracy" any more).

So I'm anticipating a lot of skepticism regarding Detroit's adoption strategies. We'll expect to learn from Detroit's mistakes perhaps?