I get excited when people show initiative and take things into their own hands to make a positive difference. That’s why I love the story of the Minnesota math teachers who collaborated last summer to create their own textbooks for their students. The collaboration saved their school district $175,000 and provided their students with a curriculum tailored to their needs.
The teachers were given a $200,000 budget to purchase textbooks, but after deciding that the books on the market didn’t fit what they were looking for, they spent a few months and $25,000 creating their own online textbooks that could be used online or printed and bound for students at a cost of $5 each, as opposed to the $65 charged by textbook companies.
Michael Engelhaupt, a 31-year-old math teacher in Minnesota’s largest school district, was one of three teachers who worked to develop the lessons. They each spent about 100 hours on the project.
"The cool thing about it," Engelhaupt said. "[Is that] the book is kind of a living document." Rather than having the school locked into using the same textbooks for the next ten years until they can afford to purchase new ones, the online textbooks can be altered at any time using free development software available on the web.
An article in the StarTribune stated, “Anoka-Hennepin is at least the second Minnesota district to develop its own online curriculum with hopes of saving money and improving quality. Schools in other states have embraced the trend more aggressively.”