Saturday, January 10, 2009

e-Textbooks vs. Traditional Textbooks

A selection of programming language textbooks ...Image via WikipediaAn article came out recently in the state of KY talking about a school district that is contemplating spending textbook dollars on e-textbooks versus the traditional books. Here is the link to that article.

That article started some excellent dialogue in my district between myself, our two instructional leaders and our superintendent. All four of us were on the same page that e-textbooks are the future. I feel blessed to work in a district where our leadership understands the role technology plays and will play in the education of our students.

Our conversation then progressed to how do we get devices in the hands of students (all students) should e-textbooks be the future? While I still feel the day is coming when all students will have a device that is their personal learning device, I still don't believe we have seen that device yet. The mini devices (as I have reviewed in other blog entries) are getting us a step closer, but devices such as the iTouch and iPod could also play a role.

I firmly believe e-textbooks will be the "norm" within 10 years (hopefully sooner). Educators are beginning to understand and embrace that technology is the vehicle to engage our students at the next level. The more our educational leaders understand how our students live their lives outside of school and these students read on their laptop, iTouch/iPhone/iPod, desktop or something like a Sony Reader...the quicker e-textbooks will be embraced. This change must fall squarely on the shoulders of educational technology leaders to be the champion of such initiatives and embrace, explain and implement the necessary tools for change.

What are your thoughts on e-textbooks and their role in education? Will they be as common as the traditional textbook within 10 years? If so, why? If not, what would be the barriers?

Here are a few related articles on e-textbooks:

E-Textbooks - for real this time?
Publishers loosen rules on e-textbooks.
The Bottom Line on E-Textbooks.

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Wayne Bogan said...

Good article. I'm working with my wife as well on similar topics. She is a teacher and has started creating lessons for students. This link is for a video she create for her school board on how to use Promethean boards and videos for students. We were working on a potential Google Site this morning for posting videos and links to for homework assignments.

John McMillen said...

As we have previously discussed, there needs to be thoughts of no textbooks at all... someday. The information is at the fingertips of students now and they will be well served when they can find it, judge its value and accuracy, compile, process and then add to that knowledge with their own thoughts and knowledge.

Like you said there may need to be a transition period but I do see as the ultimate environment that which has no textbooks or any other method of feeding students information and knowledge.

As I have also told you, here's to hoping that e-textbooks reflect the savings of delivery. There is no reason that e-textbooks should not involve less costs as printing and shipping are now transferred to the simple cost of servers and bandwidth for delivery. I would think over time the cost is lower.

Wayne Bogan said...

Forgot to include link to video: Discussed this further with my wife and she said "YES!!" The kids don't even bring their textbooks to her class anyone more."

JDS-CIO said...

That is great! We have two "paperless classrooms" in our district. Both 4th grade classrooms in the same school. The classes are about 75% paperless right now - as the students and teachers are transitioning.

Wayne Bogan said...

A video of student that created video to put on for other students that missed lesson.

Michael W. Wilson said...

I am in technology in the coporate environment. We are moving more and more to paperless. We are beginning to use tablets as well. That helps some get there. Is that a strategy for schools as well?

JDS-CIO said...

It is a strategy that is developing slowly. Unfortunately education usually is 2-3 years behind the corporate world. However, with growing number of K-12 leaders embracing technology and fully understanding its impact on student learning - I am confident we will see this shift to paperless/e-textbooks/online learning in the very near future.

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