The 21st Century Learning Conference is an annual event in Hong Kong where teachers, staff, and school leaders come together to learn, share and discuss current & emerging topics in education with thought leaders, technology, and learning experts, and their peers. With over 650 attendees from 33 countries, it is the event of choice for a diverse international audience. The event blends together inspirational keynotes, practitioner-led workshop sessions, and fun networking opportunities.
Saturday, March 9 • 10:05am - 11:05am
Textosaurus: In Our Digital World Is There A Future For The Traditional Textbook?

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This proposed workshop cuts across multiple disciplines and tackles the timely subject of the future of the textbook. An enduring staple of higher education, there is so much talk today about textbooks: the skyrocketing cost, the seemingly endless stream of new editions, the wide variety of formats and delivery options, expensive online enhancements, open source alternatives, and so on. Much of the dialogue is focused on the prohibitive expense faced by students, and rightly so. One study showed that textbook costs have risen over 800 percent since 1978, and another found that some seventy percent of students have not been buying all or even any of the required textbooks because they simply could not afford them. But there needs to be more than just cost involved in the discussion about textbooks. In a time when vast swaths of recorded human history and culture are being digitized and made available on demand, literally in the palm of one’s hand, is there really a need or a future for these bulky general topic surveys? Might there not be a better ways to condense a broad topic and more effectively present it? Or do we need to move away from general surveys entirely and focus instead on giving students the tools they need to sort out so much information that is now available at their fingertips? This presentation will explore the current state of the textbook and the future and touch on the provocative topic as to whether textbooks are really of value to a student or are they an expensive crutch that provides professors with a “course in a box” paid for by students.

Thomas Labe is the founder and CEO of Vertext Publishing, a company that will begin distribution of purely online teaching materials of the highest caliber on December 31, 2018. The format will be a unique one, allowing institutions to subscribe for a nominal annual fee and provide the resources absolutely free to all faculty and students. The materials will be continually updated, completely eliminating the need for new editions.

Full biography can be found at


A graphic for the presentation can be found at:


Thomas Labe

CEO, Vertext Publishing

Saturday March 9, 2019 10:05am - 11:05am
N104 Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Attendees (5)