Free school books? Closer than you think.

For years and years the major publishing companies have controlled how we and our children are educated. Paying an outrageous price for books has just been a fact of life with these corporations doing what they can to educate, but at a profit. From the books your kindergarten teacher used to the overpriced Linux books you buy in college,  this problem never seems to end.

Until now.

Frankly, I have been wondering why schools keep blowing through budgets by buying these overpriced novelty items. With the advent of the Internet, free operating systems, Linux running on oooooold PCs, free ‘Course Management Software’, and willingness of people like me to help schools – WHY?

Honestly, I can’t answer that question. I can offer some possible reasons, but I’m not the one making decisions at our schools. Perhaps too many educators are stuck in the rut of using the same way things have always been as their methodology. Perhaps the colleges don’t want to give up their revenue stream, as hypothesized here.

When I took Cisco courses over the past couple of years, there were no printed texts. Every bit of the curriculum, save for hands-on, was online. There is very little reason that schools could not move to the same format. The books are available if need be, but access to the world wide web negates that need.

Yes, I know that not everyone has a PC at home. However, quite a few do have one that they goof with quite a bit. Shouldn’t they have the ability to use it to study as well? Even without Internet access, CDs could be burnt, library access is available, and there are study halls.

Maybe I’m too much into wishful thinking, but it seems we are due for change. Hopefully sooner rather than later.