The Shift to Digital Classrooms Begins
And moving more quickly with each passing school year
There’s no doubt that the shift to digital is moving more quickly with each passing school year. In an effort to save money due to ever shrinking budgets, more states are changing their laws relative to purchasing “traditional” textbooks and curriculum. During the 2009-2010 school year, for example:
- Florida permitted postponing the purchase of the language arts curriculum materials if certain criteria were met.
- Oregon told districts that they could postpone textbook purchases for two years.
Idaho implemented an 82.4% reduction of funding for both print and non-print state approved instructional materials.
- California legislators approved a four-year suspension of textbook purchases.
- In addition, a number of states have actively moved to encourage the development of digital alternatives.
California launched the “Free Digital Textbook” Initiative. Organizations that were willing to provide free digital content in the areas of math and science were asked to submit their e-textbooks to the state-appointed California Learning Resource Network (CLRN), which reported on how well they met state standards.
Although cost cutting may have started the trend, there are other philosophical reasons as well, as education leaders focus on the importance of 21st century skills and keeping today’s students engaged in learning.
In the fall of 2008, Indiana was one of the first states to make a bold statement about the need to rethink the traditional textbook model. After reviewing social studies textbooks for a 2009 adoption, the State Board of Education refused all of them, noting that, “As a group they do not provide content that is interesting, engaging, and supportive of effective student learning.”
More recently, Texas made news with the passage of HB 4292, which changes state regulations so that, instead of providing every student with a textbook for each core subject, districts may now provide students with access to “textbooks, electronic textbooks, or instructional materials that cover all elements of the essential knowledge and skills for that subject and grade level.”
While the shift to “digital” in the classroom continues, the evidence of its value is overwhelming in terms of cost savings and improving student learning. Intel has the resources you’ll need to help make your 21st century transition seamless and effective.
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