Textbooks too ‘out-dated’ for todays learners?

June 14, 2009

With cyber robots from the future the governor of California announcing war on the physical form of textbooks that has held symbolism for learning for centuries, what is the intended replacement? Of course the T-800 is talking digital. With the current recession forcing sectors across the word to tighten their belts, it is turning many to technologies that they had never felt the need to investigate before and education is no exception. In my area of education e-curricula is no stranger, but for other areas, this is a whole new ballgame with a different set of rules.

The first thin that springs to mind is of course the $avings.

California is the first American state to embrace digital textbooks and the rise of the machines, which Mr Schwarzenegger says could save hundreds of millions of dollars. State officials say the average textbook costs $75 to $100 – far more than its digital equivalent.

This comes in the form of initial purchase and incremental updates. Once a book is published and shipped, it is very clear that this is then the final copy with no hope of modification until the next edition. With e materials, an update is just a click away with no re-publishing costs. Also, space. With a single purchase of a reading platform, say the kindle (pictured above) a student has the ability to access literally thousands of textbooks with the need to only carry one physical unit.

Intellectual property rights are one issue that has been bounced around with some fom surprising sectors resorting to only physical paper distribution of learning materials for this exact reason.

Education is a sector not renound of its uptake of new technologies, but with recent financial constraints forcing their hands, i think digital curricular materials are going to be a much more common place implementation in the coming years and i personally believe the pros outweigh the cons.