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.
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