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Blueprint Solutions: Digital Content in K-12 Classrooms

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Blueprint Solutions: Digital Content in K-12 Classrooms

With a number of states now offering schools the option of purchasing digital content and equipment with funds previously earmarked for textbooks, some are predicting the demise of the print textbook as we know it today. How likely is this? And how desirable? Critics of textbooks point to the following drawbacks:

Cost: K-12 textbooks cost the state of California over $400 million/year according to the California Open Source Textbook Project, while the Texas Education Agency (TEA) reports that Texas schools spent $621 million in 2006-7 and, on average, about $500 million/year on textbooks. And costs are rising. Between 1986 and 2004 college textbook prices nearly tripled. While less precise numbers are available for K-12, the trend is alarmingly similar.

Size and weight: According to a 2001 study by the Simmons School of Health Sciences, “Many school children are carrying backpacks far too heavy for their developing bodies” — exceeding the 15 percent of body weight recommended by American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Tremendous amounts of time and energy are consumed loading and unloading palettes of new textbooks as they are delivered to districts and schools, distributing books to individual classrooms, and having students sign books in and out in order to track their location. Valuable warehouse space — complete with energy-consuming climate control equipment — is typically required to store thousands of textbooks during summer months and serve as an ongoing repository for unused and unwanted books.

Read the full Blueprint Solutions: Digital Content in K-12 Classrooms.