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The Digital Debate: Should Schools Scrap Textbooks?

The Digital Debate: Should Schools Scrap Textbooks?

As digital resources become an increasingly relied upon fixture in the classroom, educators and policy makers are torn on the future of the traditional textbook.

"Richard Culatta, of the US Department for Education, said the many digital resources available will soon make textbooks obsolete. He said that while textbooks are outdated as soon as they are printed, apps and websites can be constantly updated," according to British news source, The Telegraph.

Culatta reportedly said that within the next five years, textbooks should be done away with completely.

On the other hand, some argue that traditional textbooks can be linked to higher achievement.

The Telegraph looks at textbook use in England compared to high-performing Asian countries. According to the article, English students use textbooks 10 percent of the time as compared to South Korea and Taiwan, where 99 percent of students are issued books.

"These Asian countries are among the highest performing in the world, according to the OECD’s latest PISA survey, which evaluates the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-olds. So why are English schools not using textbooks, when other education systems use them to great effect," the article asks.

Some say that textbooks are beneficial because they enable students who missed assignments to get caught up, for parents to refer to text to help their students at home. and for teachers to have a curriculum guide in one place.

"Textbooks of the past had a huge impact on education. They not only reflected exam board syllabuses, they influenced them. The best textbooks were the curriculum. They determined the level to which the better students worked," the article said.

Others say they are instantly outdated, too costly compared to a digital alternative and an archaic representation of a time where differentiated learning did not exist.

What do you think? Do textbooks have a place in the gone-digital classroom? Comment your thoughts and take our poll below. Read the full article here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/15/2015

Should classrooms continue to use traditional textbooks?

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