By Mercy Pilkington, CEO, AuthorOptions
With schools around the US starting to gather materials and stock their costly print textbooks back in the closet until the fall, it begs the question as to why more schools haven’t adopted digital textbooks, especially in light of Bring Your Own Device initiatives and the popularity that movement has experienced. With students in even the lower elementary grades around the country now authorized to carry and use their own personally-purchased mobile devices for school, textbooks should naturally have followed.
But that still hasn’t been the case, at least not in the widespread way that educators, parents, and stakeholders had hoped. Two years ago, industry watchers were already predicting a wholly digital learning landscape by this time, with even state governments mandating a shift to full digital by 2015. But the reality has been far slower to crawl in and it’s looking as though that timeline was a little too ambitious.
Part of the issue stems from the still-astronomical cost of digital textbooks, leading school systems to back away from the idea given that it isn’t a significant savings. More systems are still tied up in fears that they will not control the content of the digital editions, taking an approach of wariness as they question how this will open the doors for their teachers to deviate from the approved curriculum.
Through more in-depth understandings of the costs associated with digital textbooks, not just from a content and licensing standpoint but also from the technology needs, bandwidth requirements, and more, stakeholders can examine the concerns and the benefits to a digital learning scape in hopes of implementing greater adoption in the coming school year. Addressing both the financial and educational implications, the educational community as a whole needs to offer discussion opportunities that let concerned parties voice some of the lingering concerns over the issue.
View this webinar as we look at some of the tools that are readily available to the K12 classrooms, along with creative ideas to fund and use these tools.
Mercy Pilkington is the Chief Executive Officer of AuthorOptions.