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Educators Explore the Pros and Cons of Digital Textbooks

Do Digital Textbooks Help Or Hurt Students?

Digital textbooks have become a way for students to transition from a tedious task of reading to a new world of exploration, but schools who have adopted them say they are pros and cons.

“The potential benefits for schools transitioning to digital curriculum—specifically, replacing their print textbooks with digital ones—remain compelling,” explains Mary Axelson of ESchoolNews.

“As schools move to the Common Core, and Pluto shifts in and out of planetary status, information can be updated on the fly.”

Some of the pros quickly highlighted by Axelson include, “interactive quizzes, comments, and discussions live within the text itself, the addition of video, audio and interactivity.”

Even further, having digital textbooks increases the ability for a student to have a personalized, accessible and interactive learning experience. The lightweight feel of having a digital device or e-reader makes for lighter backpacks releasing the strain on students, not to mention the fact that it saves a great some of money in printing.

Fairfax County Public Schools, Islip High School and Rock Hill Schools were the three schools that shared their experiences after introducing the digital textbooks to supplement their curriculum

Craig Herring, the director of Prek-12 curriculum and instruction, traced Fairfax County Public Schools use of digital textbooks back to 2009 but said, as time grew further, there were a few problems.

“There were ‘hiccups,’ Herring says according to the article, but nothing like what happened when they abruptly shifted to the new math books, which relied on an internet connection to the district’s website, which ended up overloading their servers.”

“I don’t know that anybody anticipated how much traffic our division would bring to the site,” Rose Moore, mathematics coordinator for the district explained to Axelson. “Three years later, Fairfax now has sufficient infrastructure to support the load, as well as a help desk maintained by Pearson.”

What the Fairfax County Public Schools experience exposed is a problem that is easily remedied after time. Having one single platform that enables students to learn makes it much easier on educators, students and parents in the long run.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World contributor.

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