Sunday, August 9, 2009

Digital Media Replace Standard Textbooks

Two months ago, on May 30, I posted a blog about California schools going green and phasing out textbooks. Now the trend has gone national, and it is not just a matter of textbooks losing their value, but the technology invigorating the curriculum in ways that textbooks simply cannot. In Vail, Arizona, at the Empire High School, students go online to access lessons, complete homework, and listen to teacher podcasts. In the same district, at Cinega High, students retrieve via the Web English, history, and science lessons.

Check out
Beyond Textbooks to learn how teachers share online lessons, post PowerPoints presentations and videos, and share links to Internet resources. With students wired 24/7, the push for online technologies in educational arena is natural. Students are regularly using social networking sites, iPods, blogs, wikis, and a host of other interactive tools. Rather than buck the trend, teachers need to embrace technology's promise. Although not all students have access to smartphones and iPods, grants and government sources will with time put mobile technologies into the hands of those who cannot purchase these soon-to-be basic instructional supplies.

In California, where adoption of a textbook is traditionally statewide affair, Pearson publishers has submitted four options for its flexbooks, online supplements to textbooks. In a August 8, 2009 New York Times article, reporter Tamar Levin wrote educators believe "it will not be long before [textbooks] are replaced by digital versions—or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from a wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos, and projects on the web.”

How soon do you believe textbooks will be antiquated? Are you ready for a shift to digital, interactive learning environments in lieu of flat-page textbooks? What advantages do you envision in interactive technologies supplanting standard textbooks?

Photo credit: Heidi Schumann for The New York Times with caption: "In California, high school interns try out digital "flexbooks" created by the CK-12 Foundation." Information in this post taken from Tamar Levin's article "As Classroom Go Digital, Textbooks May Become History." Second photo from the Beyond Textbooks site.


Gina said...

I live in an affluent community where teens are wired for constant contact and can multi-task, simultaneously texting and posting to Facebook, for example. This seems to be a way of life, more specifically, a way of life that is almost becoming necessary in order to thrive in our culture. This web site discusses the digital divide and how we need to close the gap (on a world wide basis) in order to truly attack the root causes of poverty and terrorism. This website changed how I view the use of technology by everyone not just the affluent. I bet textbooks in the US are antiquated (high school level) in ten years.

Judy A. said...

Hi Gina, I went to the Digital Divide site your recommended and passed along the link to a friend who writes on theory about that topic. Do you think people in our class, Computers in the Classroom, should check out the site? If so, send along some post that I can put on the blog. You can send the comments via Blacboard communication, selecting me as the recipient. In the meantime, let me know more about why you find the site helpful, and how it helped to change your mind about computer technology.