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Digital Textbooks

Central ScienceBlah, blah, blah (new beginning)…. blah, blah, blah (digital classroom)… blah, blah, blah (classroom of the future)… If you know me then you know that I have been stretching to incorporate technology into my classroom since I started this crazy career. That stated, this marks the first year that all information I provide for my students will be in digital form. Huzzah! I was talking with a friend earlier and I thought about how neglected the copy machine down the hall must have felt last year as I stopped visiting him each week. And the times I did visit I was most certainly annoyed that I had to make the 3-mile trek down the hall to the past. Paper still has a place in the classroom, without a doubt, but less so than ever.

This year my students will be required to use a digital versions of the textbook. Oh sure, they can buy a paper version but they must (yes, MUST!) have an e-copy at all times. Since the advent of the 1-to-1 iPad program at our school we have all strained to find how to leverage these devices without sacrificing techniques and approaches that do work. For all of my early-adopter qualities I have reluctant to add new approaches to the classroom unless I know they can improve on what is already done.

Using a digital textbook accomplishes a few things. First, this allows each student to have the textbook at all times, which is a huge improvement over the tired “I forgot my textbook” excuse for not working or wanting a reason to cheat off of a friend. Next, its reduced cost has to be considered in an environment where families buy all of the books. In addition, this is one less text to carry around in a backpack already laden with extra nonsense and paper. These reasons might be enough but I have an additional rationale.

For too long the growing tendency to think of Google as an encyclopedia has encroached on the classroom research process. It’s easy to do, provides quick answers, and most often gets me where I need to go. Yet the user needs to be able to make sense of search results, vetting sources and comparing different entries. The awesomeness of instant access creates a soft security of knowledge empowerment where the appearance of a result conveys validity. In a classroom where this approach can be encouraged alongside a vetted, edited and level-appropriate textbook then I say “we have liftoff.” If searching the digital text is as easy as searching Google then the two approaches are on equal footing. That is what I am hoping to accomplish and I am excited about the possibility.

Well THAT and the ability to assign problems from the end of a chapter as an emergency lesson plan…


Both textbooks I am requiring must be purchased in the Kindle (from Amazon) format. Downloading a Kindle Reader app for a laptop, a desktop, iPhone or an iPad allows each student to read the textbook wherever the app is found. So in order to purchase the textbook, download the Kindle app and then buy the book through the app.



This entry was posted on 2013-08-16 by in Education, Philosophy, Technology and tagged , , .


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