Science textbooks may be a thing of the past in Williamson County Schools.
The Williamson County school board approved a proposal Monday night to use open source science resources instead of science textbooks.
The switch will require a team of nine teachers to spend a year developing an open source curriculum.
It’s a move that will save the district about $3 million on science textbooks in the 2017-18 school district budget.
An open source curriculum uses material that comes from a variety of reputable sources, said Tim Gaddis, WCS assistant superintendent of Teaching, Learning and Assessment.
Examples include resources from universities, government entities such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health and museums like the Smithsonian, Gaddis said.
“Our team will vet every resource completely,” Gaddis said. “Most of it will be online although there may be some print resources we decide to use.”
“We’ll be creating instructional units that will have all the background information, all the strategies, all the assessment tools – we’ll create all of those,” Gaddis said. “Teachers are going to have as many resources as they’ve had in the past.”
Gaddis said the open source curriculum will more closely align with state standards and county expectations. The curriculum will be easier to update, he said.
“Textbooks in areas like science – things can get stale pretty fast,” he said.
The open source science curriculum will impact all grade levels and science classes except for AP and IB classes. Those classes will still use science textbooks.
Teachers primarily use textbooks as resources, Gaddis said.
Elementary schools in the district have not had science textbooks for about 10 years, Gaddis said. Instead, they’ve used science kits.
“We’ll be one of the early adopters of open source,” Gaddis said.