High School Text Books: Form Factor and Weight

with 3 comments

Algebra 2 text-book prescribed for high school students in California is very large and heavy.  Kids are likely to find it challenging lifting it with one hand.  If they are small then they probably need to use both hands.

Isn’t the book heavy and unwieldy ? Would the book cause internal injury to abdomen if the kid drops it by mistake on their stomach while reading it lying on bed like they are used to reading story books? 

Why can’t math text-book be simpler both in form factor and weight  like the ones used in India?   Even if they want to keep the content as they have now, could they have split the book into two volumes – one for first half of the school year and one for the 2nd half?

Should California import Math books from India?  The text books used in India are simple, are paperback editions, short and sweet, and more importantly keep the content to the point. No silly skiing example to explain linear or quadratic equations.

How could California, the state that produced iPhone using the Zen principles simplicity, not produce a better text-book product?  Did  the  product team that was in charge of the book knew how to design and present the product?  How could they use  so many colors, particularly strong primary colors for boxes, tables and for others?   The colors  strike reader’s eye so strong that it takes effort to find the main text amidst the glitter and glare. 

Above all , why would a state like CA  use so much chemical  required to print in color given it is the most progressive one with respect to safeguarding the environment?  Could it have supplied students with Kindles loaded with text books instead of printed books?  Why print heavy books and in particular ones like the Algebra 2 text-book that is close to 1000 pages long?


Written by ellanti

November 19, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Posted in Upcoming

3 Responses

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  1. Ellanti,
    These are all really interesting questions. I would like to make one quick comment about the content of the Math text books. Not sure about the one’s in CA but the content of the one’s in TX, I think, is better than the one’s in India. I really like the way in which they introduce new concepts. I wish we had access to such beautifully illustrated pictures. Its the same with other subjects too. One beautifully illustrated picture of “blood circulation system” is worth more than a thousand words. The result I think is this huge size. Well as you said- its time to go to iPad and Kindles to achieve both – good content in a reasonable size.

    Suresh Kaja

    November 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    • Suresh

      I agree. Use of pictures is very important in books meant forkids. Can’t imagine easier way to get them to visualize blood circulation system for example without pictures. However, in a math book it can be moderated.

      Overall, I beleieve school text books should be smaller,lighter and succinct so they are easy to handle and carry. They should be pleasing to read not just on the first read of a chapter but on 2nd and subsequent times.

      perhpas combine simpler printed book with interactive version for kindle where the interactive version can expand to show pictures, additional examples etc. Printed books do have value. So both can be used for maxium benefit.


      November 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm

  2. See ‘Making Science Leap From the Page’ article in NY Times that perhaps borders on some of the next generation iBook experienced forecast below. The piece ties into ‘Life is a 3D Video book’ comments here.
    Steve Jobs, as described in his biography, seem to have offered to Obama and other Govt official help to improve teaching in schools. He particularly didn’t like the idea of teacher standing in front of a board. He is attributed to have preference towards making teaching and books more digitized and interactive which mirror some thoughts in this post.


    December 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm

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